The McGowan Davis/Schabas Inquiry: The UN Legal Pogrom

The Facts from an Accountable Democratic Society:
International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT)

The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) issued
"Operation 'Protective Edge': A Detailed Summary of Events,"
December 7, 2014


On July 8, following relentless rocket fire that targeted Israeli civilians (according to the IDF, 450 rockets were fired at Israel since the beginning of 2014) and the discovery by Israel's security forces of Hamas' vast underground tunnel network leading out of Gaza, the IDF initiated Operation 'Protective Edge'. According to the IDF, terrorists in Gaza held approximately 10,000 rockets prior to Operation 'Protective Edge', one-third of which were fired at Israel during the operation, and an additional one-third of which were destroyed by IDF forces.[1] The military campaign, which lasted 50 days, had the dual aim of restoring security to Israeli civilians and dismantling the Hamas tunnel network used by Hamas militants to infiltrate Israel.[2] On July 18, the tenth day of the operation, and continued terrorist assaults on Israel from land, air and sea, the IDF commenced the ground phase of the operation with the aim of locating and destroying the underground tunnel network. IDF forces neutralized 32 terror tunnels during this phase of the operation. The IDF excavation of the tunnels, which took place during phase two of Operation 'Protective Edge', resulted in the seizure of tons of Hamas supplies as well as the discovery of plans for future attacks, including a massive plot to attack southern Israel on the Jewish New Year in September 2014.[3] The Israeli government said that Hamas planned to send terrorists through the more than 30 tunnels uncovered by Israeli troops and into six southern Israeli communities.[4] The plan was to kill and kidnap as many Israelis as possible.[5]

In the three weeks leading up to July 8, according the official IDF figures, militants fired 250 rockets capable of reaching Israel's largest cities and population centers and endangering 3.5 million Israeli lives.[6] The rockets fired were composed of M-302 (Range 160 km), M75 (Range 75 km), Grad (48 km) and Qassam (up to 17.7 km).[7] According to the IDF, over 4,382 rockets were fired at Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza. More than 70% of Israelis live within range of Hamas' rockets. During Operation 'Protective Edge', the IDF targeted more than 5,085 terror sites in the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, 3,659 rocket and mortar impact sites were discovered, including rockets that were fired on IDF soldiers in Gaza. Of those that struck inside Israel, 224 hit built-up areas. The Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted 735 rockets and mortars (86% of the rockets fired). Each rocket intercepted by the Iron Dome would have hit a populated area. The IDF also claimed that there were 197 "failed launchings", projectiles that never left the Gaza Strip or that did not launch at all.[8]

According to the IDF, 2,622 rockets and mortars were fired against Israel since the beginning of the operation until late July. The majority of them reached the area surrounding the Gaza Strip and reached a medium range of up to 50km. Less than 10% of all the launchings were long range: 181 rockets with a range of up to 80km reached the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, Jerusalem, the Negev, Hadera and northern Israel, and 32 rockets with a range of more than 80km. The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) also said that 24 rockets were launched from the Sinai against Israel. In addition to the rocket attacks, six attempted terrorists infiltrations into Israel were recorded in July, as well as one explosive tunnel attack, three suicide attacks, and dozens of sniper, AT, IED and hand grenade attacks.[9]

On the tenth day of the Operation 'Protective Edge', the IDF commenced the ground phase of the operation in response to continued terrorist assaults on Israel by Hamas militants from land (including up to 80 rockets fired per day on Israeli civilian cities);=, air (including attempts to launch an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from the Gaza Strip that was intercepted by the IAF as it penetrated Israeli airspace over the coast near Ashdod[10]), and sea (including the attempted infiltration by Hamas at Zikim Beach, just north of the Gaza Strip).[11] According to the IDF, Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel through tunnels four times during the operation, with the intention of carrying out attacks. The IDF destroyed 32 Hamas terror tunnels in Gaza, 14 of which had openings into Israeli territory.[12] During the campaign, rockets were discovered in three separate incidents in United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) schools.[13] According to an official IDF report, throughout Operation 'Protective Edge', Hamas used UN facilities, schools, graveyards, mosques and power plants, among other civilian areas, to launch over 1,600 rockets at Israel. Among these civilian sites was Wafa Hospital, which Hamas used as a command center and rocket-launching site (see July 21/23 below). The IDF said that Hamas repeatedly opened fire from hospital windows and used anti-tank missiles from the premises. In response to threat that this posed to IDF forces, the IDF repeatedly conveyed warnings to hospital staff, Palestinian officials and international aid organizations, including the World Health Organization, requesting that they act in order to stop the hospital from being used for military purposes, and warning that the IDF will be forced to act if these activities continue.

Throughout Operation 'Protective Edge', as in previous IDF campaigns, the IDF made great efforts to minimize harm to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip. The IDF warned civilians prior to IAF strikes. The largest effort took place on July 17, when approximately 100,000 leaflets containing a warning message were dropped over Gaza and hundreds of thousands of citizens receive messages telling them to vacate their villages.[14] During the operation, the IDF also facilitated the provision of medical services through the Civil Liaison Administration, as well as the transfer of medical supplies in the Gaza Strip through the land crossings. In some cases, the IDF even permitted people with medical emergencies to enter Israel in order to receive care.[15] On July 23, after Hamas continued firing rockets from inside a hospital, the IDF made an additional warning call; audio from the call confirms that the hospital was closed and that no medical staff or patients were in the building. After confirming that no civilians were present, the IDF attacked the compound and the terrorists within the hospital grounds in order to remove the threat posed to IDF forces.[16] The IDF official report regarding how Hamas exploits civilian infrastructure stated that: "Hamas' tactics deliberately violate international law and the most basic of moral precepts. Given these tactics, the ultimate responsibility for the damage done to civilians as well as the civilian infrastructure of Gaza lies with Hamas."[17]

During Operation 'Protective Edge', a total of 82,201 IDF reservists were called up throughout the campaign. According to the IDF, 64 soldiers were killed and 469 others were wounded. Four Israeli civilians were killed by rocket or mortar strikes, including a 4-year-old child, and 36 others were wounded by shrapnel.[18] Gaza health officials said more than 2,100 people were killed in the Gaza Strip in the fighting and many thousands more were wounded. More than 1,000 Hamas militants were killed. [19]

Throughout Operation 'Protective Edge' Hamas violated 11 ceasefire agreements by firing at Israeli civilians and forces during ceasefires and UN-declared humanitarian windows.



In conclusion, Operation 'Protective Edge' lasted 50 days, during which time the IDF carried out its duel aim to restore security to Israeli civilians and to dismantle the Hamas tunnel network used by Hamas militants to infiltrate Israel.

According to official IDF figures, IDF aerial, naval and ground forces struck 4,762 terror sites across the Gaza Strip throughout the operation, including:
  • 1,678 rocket launching facilities.
  • 977 command and control centers.
  • 237 military administration facilities.
  • 191 weapons storage and manufacturing facilities.
  • 144 training and military compounds.
  • 1,535 additional terror sites.
Throughout Operation 'Protective Edge', the IDF targeted terrorists in Gaza responsible for the planning and execution of attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians, including:
  • At least 253 Hamas terrorists.
  • At least 147 Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists.
  • At least 65 terrorists from various smaller organizations.
  • At least 603 terrorists of unknown affiliation.
In addition, 159 terrorist suspects were questioned by Israeli security forces.

Throughout the operation, 4,564 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The Iron Dome intercepted 86% of them.
  • The IDF said that it attacked 5,263 targets across the Gaza Strip, hitting rocket launching sites, arms and munitions factories and warehouses, as well as the homes and offices of Hamas and its local regime. Over 34 known tunnels were also destroyed.
  • In total, 64 IDF soldiers and six Israeli civilians, including a child, were killed, and over 2,000 Palestinians were killed. Israel said that Hamas bears responsibility for civilian casualties because it operates among civilians and uses schools and mosques to store weapons and as launch sites for rockets.[124]
Rocket Threat - According to IDF intelligence, Israel believed that terrorists in Gaza held approximately 10,000 rockets. One-third of these rockets were fired at Israel, and another third were destroyed by IDF forces. According to official IDF figures, throughout Operation Protective Edge militants in Gaza fired 3,360 rockets at Israel.
  • 2,303 rockets hit Israel.
  • 115 rockets hit populated areas in Israel.
  • 584 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
  • 119 rocket launches failed.
  • 475 rockets landed within the Gaza Strip.
Tunnel Threat:
  • IDF forces neutralized 32 terror tunnels.
  • IDF forces said that 14 of these tunnels crossed into Israel.
  • IDF said that two tunnels had access points located 300m-500m from Israel.
Throughout Operation 'Protective Edge', Hamas violated international law and launched rockets from civilian facilities in Gaza, schools and hospitals. According to IDF figures:
  • Militants fired 597 rockets from civilian facilities in Gaza.
  • Approximately 260 rockets were fired from schools.
  • Approximately 160 rockets were fired from religious sites, including mosques.
  • Approximately 127 rockets were fired from cemeteries.
  • Approximately 50 rockets were fired from hospitals.[125]
Hamas violations of ceasefires:
Since the beginning of Operation 'Protective Edge', Israel respected numerous ceasefires, most of them humanitarian lulls for the benefit of the residents of Gaza. Prior to the August 10-13 ceasefire, Hamas violated every other ceasefire. Hamas also violated the July 15 ceasefire initiated by Egypt and supported by most of the international community, including the Arab League, while Israel accepted the ceasefire. If Hamas would have accepted the ceasefire, Israel would not have had to start phase two of Operation 'Protective Edge' - the ground operation. This same ceasefire was later accepted by Hamas on August 5. On August 26, a ceasefire deal was finally met, brokered by the Egyptian government with the support of Qatar and the US, but without a fixed long-term agreement and without Hamas's ten original conditions being met.