Browsing Posts published in November, 2012

Iron Dome Missile Defense System

A short while ago, a ceasefire agreement regarding the fighting in the south, came into effect. Following eight days of operations, the IDF has accomplished its predetermined objectives for Operation Pillar of Defense, and has inflicted severe damage to Hamas and its military capabilities.

As a result of IDF operations, the command and control apparatus of Hamas was significantly struck, beginning with the targeting of the commander of the military wing of Hamas, Ahmed Jabari, continuing with the targeting of broad terrorist infrastructure, facilities and military bases, as well as the destruction of dozens of smuggling and explosive tunnels.

During the operation, the IDF damaged and destroyed significant elements of Hamas’ strategic capabilities, among them. Amongst those capabilities were long-range (over 40 km) and hundreds of short- and medium-range rocket launchers. These actions have severely impaired Hamas’ launching capabilities, resulting in a decreasing number of rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip. The ‘Iron Dome’ defense system has accomplished high rate of successful interceptions (84%) and Hamas’ accuracy with regards to hitting populated areas within Israel remained below 7%.

IDF soldiers, in regular and reserve military service, gathered in assembly areas and prepared for the ground operation. Their time was used for training and improving their operational capabilities.

These operational achievements provided the underlying framework for this evening’s ceasefire agreement.

At this time, Israeli residents are requested to continue to pay attention to Home Front Command’s instructions.

Over the course of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF targeted over 1,500 terror sites including 19 senior command centers, operational control centers and Hamas’ senior-rank headquarters, 30 senior operatives, damaging Hamas’ command and control, hundreds of underground rocket launchers, 140 smuggling tunnels, 66 terror tunnels, dozens of Hamas operation rooms and bases, 26 weapon manufacturing and storage facilities and dozens of long-range rocket launchers and launch sites.

Senior Operatives Targeted:

14.11 – Ahmed Sai’d Halil Jabri, head of Hamas’ military wing.

15.11 – Hab’s Hassan Us Msamch, senior operative in Hamas’ police.

16.11 – Ahmed Abu Jalal, Commander of the military wing in Al-Muazi

16.11 – Khaled Shayer, senior operative in the anti-tank operations.

17.11 – Osama Kadi, senior operative in the smuggling operations in the southern Gaza Strip.

17.11 – Muhammad Kalb, senior operative in the aerial defense operations.

19.11 – Ramz Harb, Islamic Jihad senior operative in propaganda in Gaza city.

Number of Rocket Launches Toward Israel During the Operation:

14.11 – 75

15.11 – 316

16.11 – 228

17.11 – 237

18.11 – 156

19.11 – 143

20.11 – 221

21.11 (Until 21:00) – 130

Rocket Launched Towards Israel:

Total number of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip – 1,506

Open areas – 875

Urban areas – 58

‘Iron Dome’ Interceptions – 421

Failed launching attempts – 152

Israeli Casualties:

Fatalities – 5 Injuries – 240

The legal justification for the operation

Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip have been waging an ongoing armed conflict against Israel, which has included incessant barrages of rockets and mortars towards the Israeli civilian population and other terror activities.

Israel has the right under international law, and a moral obligation, to act in self-defense, to defend its population and to protect its territory when under attack, as well as to take military action against the terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Violations of international law on the part of the Hamas and the other terror organizations

Hamas’ actions are in clear violation of the most fundamental principles of international law, including the principle of distinction, which requires Hamas and other terrorist organizations not only to refrain from directing its attacks at Israeli civilians, but also to clearly distinguish itself from its own civilian population.

These terrorist organizations consciously and deliberately violate these principles in a repeated manner, by deploying weapons and command centers in densely populated areas, operating from residential areas, and exploiting the civilian population by exposing them to serious harm. By doing so, Hamas and the terror organizations in the Gaza Strip are committing war crimes.
The commitment of the State of Israel and the IDF to international law

Israel and the IDF are fully committed to international law in general, and to the Laws of Armed Conflict in particular.

Israeli commanders and soldiers are guided by international law in their actions. The IDF strives to imbue the principles of international law in IDF training, the IDF Code of Ethics and rules of engagement.

The IDF receives ongoing legal advice on a wide range of operational issues at various levels of the command chain (for example, regarding targeting decisions, the use of weaponry and issues regarding humanitarian efforts towards the civilian population).
The legality of the IDF’s attacks

IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip are solely targeted against military targets and terrorist operatives. Civilian objects such as residential buildings may constitute legitimate targets if used by terrorist operatives for military purposes.

The IDF makes great efforts to minimize the incidental harm that may be caused to civilians or civilian objects as a result of an attack on a military target. For example:

  • Munitions to be used in an attack are carefully chosen, often using precision guided missiles in pinpoint surgical strikes to minimize the risk of incidental civilian harm.
  • The IDF uses advanced and precise intelligence regarding target identification and employs various means for monitoring the presence of civilians in areas of operation as well as for aborting attacks if it appears that civilians are at risk.
  • Where circumstances permit, effective advance warning is given prior to attacks which may place the civilian population at risk.

A short while ago, on Monday afternoon, the Israeli Air Force targeted a media building in Gaza that housed a serious of terrorist leaders from Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The senior PIJ cadre was operating in a media building. They weren’t there to be interviewed. They were using reporters as human shields. However, Israel targeted only the 2nd floor, which is where the senior terrorists were. The rest of the building was unharmed.

We know that Hamas and other terror groups target Israeli civilians, using Palestinians as human shields. So who was Israel targeting when it decided to strike this building?

Baha Abu al-Ata, commander of PIJ Gaza City Brigade, who is involved in planning attacks against Israel,  arms manufacturing, and the types of long-range rockets that are terrorizing millions of Israeli citizens.

Also targeted while hiding in the media building was Tyseer Abu AlAta a senior Islamic Jihad member in charge of the operations against Israel.

Islamic Jihad is claiming  that Ramez Harb, responsible for propaganda for head Islamic Jihad’s their armed wing Saraya al Quds was killed in the operation, a clear admission of terrorists attempting to use journalists as human shields. However, the IDF is focusing on pinpoint, surgical strikes to eliminate terrorists and avoid civilian casualties

A fourth PIJ senior operative, Halil Batini, a key figure in org’s long-range rocket launching operations, responsible for internal security, was also believed to be in the building.A direct hit was identified on the target. Four senior members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad were known to have been in the media building.

(Communicated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Hamas is not allowing at least 22 foreign nationals who wish to exit the Gaza Strip for Israel to do so. Among the members of the foreign press being detained are nine Italian citizens, six citizens of Japan, one Canadian, one South Korean and a French national. In addition, two Turkish Red Crescent members have been refused exit.

This violation of the human rights of neutral foreigners is yet another example of Hamas’ attempts to manipulate and pressure the press.

For its part, Israel is keeping the Erez crossing into Gaza open, allowing passage to the foreign press, diplomats and humanitarian workers.

Washington, D.C. - As terrorist rockets continue to fall on Israel, the United States Senate tonight unanimously approved a bipartisan resolution introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and sponsored by 62 others, which strongly supports Israel’s inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.

The resolution, S. Res. 599, was cosponsored by over half the Senate in a demonstration of widespread support for Israel as she defends herself from the constant barrage of hundreds of Gaza-based terrorist missiles targeting Israeli civilians. Nearly 1,000 terrorist missiles have been fired into Israel this year.

“We strongly reiterate our support for Israel’s right to self-defense as a barrage of missiles from Gaza are attacking the people of Israel and endangering innocent lives,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The passage of this Senate resolution clearly expresses the United States’ unwavering commitment to the security of our nation’s close and historic ally in the Middle East. We firmly stand united with Israel against terrorism.”

“The passage of this resolution sends a strong and clear message that the United States stands in solidarity with the State of Israel,” Senator Kirk said. “Israel is a fellow democracy and has an inherent right to defend its citizens from terrorist missiles.”

The resolution urges the President to work with the international community to prevent Hamas and other terrorist organizations within Gaza from retaining the ability to launch rockets against Israel, and calls on the United Nations Security Council to condemn Gaza-based attacks against Israel.

Other senators cosponsoring the resolution include: Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), John Kyl (R-Ariz.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.),  John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (D-Pa.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), David Vitter (R-La.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

 

Sincerely,

Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senator

Earlier today, rocket fire continued from Gaza, even as Egypt’s Prime Minister was visiting the area.  With alarms going off again in Tel Aviv, and for the first time, Jerusalem, Operation Pillar of Defense  is still needed to protect Israel’s civilians. Overnight, the IDF targeted approximately 150 medium range rocket launching sites as well as ammunition storage facilities across the Gaza Strip, causing severe damage to terror infrastructures.

Since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, the Israeli Air Force has targeted over 450 terror activity sites in the Gaza Strip. In addition, IAF aircraft targeted a central terror activity site in the southern Gaza strip in order to harm the command and control posts of the Hamas terror organization.

The Iron Dome Active Missile Defense System has successfully intercepted over 130 rockets that launched from Gaza, aimed at Israel.

Over the past few days, over 300 rockets were fired at Israeli communities — contrary to an earlier erroneous update which misstated this fact

In this video, the IDF targets underground rocket launchers in Gaza. The secondary explosions show that hidden explosives were hit.

http://www.idf.il/Sip_Storage/FILES/4/size220X0/8884.jpg

Like in all operations, the IDF has taken the utmost care to protect uninvolved civilians during Operation Pillar of Defense, even while rockets have continued to fall on Israel. In addition to the large number of flyers the IDF has dropped prior to striking an area, air strikes are often aborted when civilians are found in the area.

Yesterday saw one such occurrence- an air strike on an underground launch site was aborted due to the discovery of civilians in the area.

Since Wednesday (November 14th) afternoon, the IAF has struck ammunition warehouses and rocket launch sites used by terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, all in response to the incessant rocket fire directed at Israel. Yesterday, in the early hours of the morning, a squadron of intelligence collecting aircraft took the sky. Through sophisticated observation equipment and cameras the pilots were able to identify a rocket launch, and Air Force aircraft were sent to strike the area. But things didn’t go as planned. “We saw that innocent civilians were approaching the area of the underground launch site,” said Lt. Omer, a source within the intelligence squadron who took part in the operation. “We immediately contacted the forces and instructed them to abort the strike.”

The strike was aborted immediately, thanks to the experience of IDF forces. This is one of many similar stories from Operation Pillar of Defense. It has long been one of the IDF’s top priorities to minimize civilian casualties during IDF operations.

The task is not an easy one, as Hamas has intentionally used the civilian areas of Gaza as staging grounds for their attacks on Israel. Knowing that the IDF wishes to avoid civilian casualties, Hamas places its own civilians in the line of fire in order to hide and protect its own operations. Women and children, victims of the Hamas human shield tactics, usually ignore warning signals to evacuate buildings prior to an IDF strike. The victims remain in the house with Hamas members, knowing ahead of time that the IDF will not target civilians. Many innocent bystanders are killed as a result of Hamas’ abuse of its own civilians. Instead of keeping its citizens out of harm’s way, Hamas encourages and even forces its population to join the violent resistance against Israel

During Operation Cast Lead, which took place four years ago, a great emphasis was placed on limiting damage to civilian areas, despite the fact that Hamas officials chose to launch rockets from densely populated areas. After Operation Cast Lead, Col. (res.) Udi, a crew member who took part in the operation, said that “avoiding harm to innocents was a top priority for all those who participated in the operation. You can hear it in the conversations between the pilots and headquarters, and in general. The IAF is trying to do as much as possible so as not to hurt those who are uninvolved.

Source: http://www.idf.il/1283-17615-en/Dover.aspx

Has the High Commissioner for Human Rights Gone Mute?

(Communicated by the Permanent Mission of Israel to UN Geneva)

Since the beginning of 2012, more than 800 rockets were launched from Hamas-controlled Gaza into Israeli cities, over 200 of them just this the past week.

The lives of one million Israelis are threatened, and daily life in southern Israel has been severely disrupted. Children do not attend school; civilians sleep in shelters. Only this morning, three Israeli civilians were killed in their home in the town of Kiryat Malachi, when a Hamas rocket hit their building. Others, including  a 4-year-old boy, where injured.  This has been the bitter reality of one-seventh of Israel’s population for the past few years.

This terrorist activity is carried out by Hamas and other terrorist organizations that operate under Hamas protection.

And yet the High Commissioner has gone mute. Not a word of sympathy, not a word of concern for the violation of the human rights of Israeli citizens. Just a ringing silence.

Israelis do have human rights. The High Commissioner simply does not care about them.

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Since yesterday, 245 rockets have been launched on Israeli cities. While Iron Dome has succeeded in intercepting 80 rockets so far, it can never be enough. In the town of Kiryat Malachi, three people were killed when a rocket hit an apartment building on Thursday morning. Two people were seriously injured, including a four year old boy and two infants. The apartment, on the top floor of the building, suffered a direct hit, with shrapnel throughout the rooms. Rockets also struck a residence in Ashdod and a school in Ofakim.

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The goal of Operation Pillar of Defense is to remove this strategic threat to Israeli citizens. Hamas is one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world, backed financially and militarily by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Despite Israel’s desire to stop Hamas from killing Israeli civilians, the IDF is going out of their way to avoid injuring innocent Palestinians. Fourteen Palestinians have received treatment…in Israeli hospitals!

The following leaflets are being dropped in Gaza by the thousands by Israeli planes, warning them to stay out of certain areas where Hamas operatives are launching rockets and other terror attacks.

http://www.mfa.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/98EFAF35-E9A9-40B0-867C-F4A425D36A1C/0/idfwarningleaflet.jpg

It reads: “Important announcement for the residents of the Gaza Strip:For your own safety, take responsibility for yourselves and avoid being present in the vicinity of Hamas operatives and facilities and those of other terror organizations that pose a risk to your safety.Hamas is once again dragging the region to violence and bloodshed. The IDF is determined to defend the residents of the State of Israel. This announcement is valid until quiet is restored to the region. Israel Defense Forces Command.”