IDF activity in the Gaza Strip continues (IDF Spokesman, August 2, 2014)
IDF activity in the Gaza Strip continues (IDF Spokesman, August 2, 2014)
The Islamic University administration building attacked by IAF aircraft (Alresala.net, August 2, 2014).
Israel Police Force demolitions experts deal with the rocket fragments (Israel Police Force, August 2, 2014).
Shejaiya families return to their houses to remove possessions (Wafa.ps, August 1, 2014).
Violent confrontations between Palestinians and the Israeli security forces (Wafa.ps, August 1, 2014).
A child holds a plastic gun and a Hamas-affiliated flag.
Left: Donations collected in Hebron for the Gaza Strip (Wafa.ps, August 3, 2014). Right: Donations collected at a school (PNN TV, August 2, 2014).
Overview of the Situation
1. On August 1, 2014, at 0800 hours a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire went into effect. Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire in response to an appeal from American Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon. At the same time an Israeli delegation and a Palestinian delegation (composed of representatives from the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and other terrorist organizations) were supposed to go to Cairo to negotiate a long-term, Egyptian-mediated ceasefire.
2. Hamas violated the humanitarian ceasefire on August 1, 2014, at 0930 hours, an hour and a half after it had started. A Hamas terrorist squad attacked an IDF force that was neutralizing tunnels on the outskirts of Rafah, killed two soldiers and abducted IDF Lieutenant Hadar Goldin. (Note: On the night of August 2 the IDF's chief rabbi declared Lieutenant Goldin dead, based on findings from the scene of the abduction.) American President Barack Obama and UN envoy Robert Serry strongly condemned Hamas' violation of the humanitarian ceasefire.
3. In view of the gross violation of the ceasefire, the sixth one violated by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge, Israel decided not to send the delegation to the negotiations in Cairo. Some of Israel's forces in the Gaza Strip began unilaterally withdrawing from urban Gazan areas and were redeployed near the Gaza Strip border. IDF forces remaining in the Gaza Strip continue destroying the terrorist tunnels, and are close to finishing the task. Hamas continues firing rockets into Israeli territory, although it launches fewer rockets and focuses on short-range attacks, primarily against IDF forces and western Negev villages. A Palestinian delegation is expected to arrive in Cairo led by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and with the participation of Hamas and other terrorist organizations, to conduct negotiations based on the Egyptian initiative.
4. In view of the complex situation, Operation Protective Edge has entered a new stage. The ground operation, which was limited by Israel to neutralizing the tunnels, is about to be completed. How Israel will continue the operation does not depend on the negotiations in Cairo, but rather on the IDF's deterrent capabilities and on Israel's political and military considerations. It seems that Israel's stance poses a dilemma for Hamas as to how the organization will continue, and whether it can extract significant political achievements once the operation is over.
The Ground Operation
5. On July 31 – August 2, 2014, the IDF ground activity in the Gaza Strip continued, focusing on exposing and destroying the terrorist targets. At the same time ground, air and sea forces continued attacking Hamas' terrorist infrastructure. During the past few days there have been fewer clashes between IDF forces and terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip.
Humanitarian Ceasefire Declared
6. On the night of July 31, 2014, American Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon announced that an agreement had been reached for a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire that would go into effect on August 1 at 0800 hours. Israel announced that the Cabinet had authorized the prime minister and the minister of defense to accept the proposal. Israel also announced that the ceasefire would include continued IDF activities to destroy the tunnels. Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip agreed to the ceasefire conditions. The original intention was to have Israel and Palestinian delegations arrive in Cairo while it was in effect. However, despite Hamas' agreement to the ceasefire, sirens continued to sound in the western Negev and coastal plain. The ceasefire collapsed completely after two Israeli soldiers had been killed and one had been abducted near Rafah and IDF forces initiated extensive searches to find the abducted soldier.
7. It was not the first time Hamas had violated a ceasefire. Throughout Operation Protective Edge Hamas consistently and methodically violated every ceasefire it agreed to, including the humanitarian ceasefire it had requested itself.
Abduction of an IDF Officer
8. On the morning of August 1, 2014, approximately one hour after the ceasefire had begun, an IDF force was attacked by terrorists. They emerged from a tunnel shaft and opened fire on the IDF soldiers. According to reports in the Israeli media, a suicide bomber blew himself up next to the soldiers. An IDF officer and soldier were killed and another officer was abducted. Immediately after the attack the force realized that one of their soldiers was missing and instituted a search. It was suspected that he had been abducted and taken into the tunnel. IDF forces heavily bombarded buildings in the area and attacked cars driving near the site of the attack. Tunnel shafts were destroyed, as were houses in which additional tunnels might be located (IDF Spokesman, August 1, 2014).
Hamas' Reactions and Reactions in the International Arena
9. Hamas has been deliberately vague regarding the abduction. Initially Musa Abu Marzouq, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, claimed that the officer was being held by Hamas. Later, a senior Hamas source explained that Musa Abu Marzouq had only been quoting an Israeli report. Hamas claimed to have no information about the officer and that they were not holding him. Hamas' military-terrorist wing claimed in an announcement that they had lost contact with the squad that had participated in the ambush, and that they thought the squad had been killed in the Israeli attacks. A short time after the original announcement in Arabic, the military-terrorist wing issued a similar announcement in English. That exception announcement had apparently been issued in response to the wave of condemnations against the violation of the ceasefire (Qassam.ps, August 2, 2014).
The announcement issued by Hamas' military-terrorist wing (Qassam.ps, August 2, 2014).
10. American President Obamacalled for the immediate, unconditional release of the abducted soldier and strongly condemned Hamas and the other organizations in the Gaza Strip for violating the ceasefire. UN envoy Robert Serry said that the event was a grave violation of the ceasefire and called on the Palestinians to renew their commitment to implement it.
11. Hamas' propaganda tried to minimize damages by accusing Israel of violating the ceasefire, falsely claiming the Israeli forces had advanced deeply into Rafah at 0700 hours and joined battle, fighting until the time when the ceasefire was supposed to go into effect (Hamas' information office, August 1, 2014). Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri claimed on his Facebook page that the authorization given by the UN secretary general to Israel's fairy tale regarding the abducted soldier had provided legitimization for a slaughter in Rafah (Facebook page of Sami Abu Zuhri, August 2, 2014).
12. On August 2, 2014, after the meeting of a court convened for the specific purpose, the IDF's chief rabbi said that in view of the evidence found at the site, and taking into consideration medical, religious and other relevant considerations, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin had died in battle and his family had been notified (IDF Spokesman, August 2, 2014).
Announcement of Redeployment
13. On the evening of August 2, 2014, IDF sources announced that most of the terrorist tunnels had been destroyed and that the ground forces were beginning to withdraw and would be redeployed outside the Gaza Strip to continue the operation. A high-ranking officer said that the operation had not yet ended and that the IDF would continue operating on the ground even after the last tunnel had been destroyed. He said if the attacks on Israel or the rocket fire continued, the IDF would respond accordingly and without limitations (Walla.co.il, August 3, 2014).
14. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalontold a press conference that the operation would continue and that the IDF would continue exerting all its force to achieve its objective: restoring long-term peace and quiet to the citizens of Israel by delivering a significant blow to the terrorist infrastructure (Website of the Israeli prime minister, August 2, 2014). The prime minister's statements and the redeployment of the IDF soldiers provoked reactions from Hamas:
1) Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhriclaimed that if Israel decided on a unilateral withdrawal, it was Hamas that would decide how to respond on the ground. He claimed that in any case Israel would pay the price whether it remained in the Gaza Strip or left it or negotiated (Maannews.net, August 2, 2014).
2) Osama Hamdan, responsible for Hamas' international relations, claimed that the withdrawal of the soldiers indicated that the ground operation had failed since Israel had achieved nothing but the killing of women and children and the loss of soldiers' lives. He further claimed that it was true that Hamas operatives had died and that "a tunnel here and there" had been destroyed (an attempt to minimize the damage done to Hamas' tunnel system). He claimed the unilateral withdrawal would not end the battle because it had "given the resistance space to complete its activities" (Al-Jazeera, August 2, 2014).
3) Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, claimed on his Facebook page that Israeli prime minister's speech signified failure, defeat and confusion.
4) Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoumclaimed that the prime minister's speech was confused and indicated a genuine crisis, and that the prime minister wanted to create a fictitious victory. He claimed Hamas would continue the "resistance" until it achieved its goals. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri made similar statements (AFP.com, and Alresala.net, August 2, 2014)
A Paratroopers Brigade force exposes a tunnel (August 1, 2014).
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAZ9j1lpYGU for the video.
Air Attacks on Terrorist Targets Continue
15. In addition to the ground operation, the IDF continued attacking terrorist targets from the air. So far, more than 4,574 terrorist targets have been attacked in the Gaza Strip.
16. On August 2, 2014, Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft attacked 200 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, among them the following:
1) Sites for the manufacture and storage of weapons.
2) A rocket launcher from which rockets were fired at the center of Israel on the morning of August 2, 2014.
3) Terrorist tunnels.
4) Terrorist facilities and headquarters located in the houses of terrorist operatives.
5) Stockpiles of rockets and weapons concentrated in mosques.
6) A building in the Islamic University complex which was part of Hamas' military-terrorist infrastructure.
7) A Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist operative who headed the organization's internal security and the house of Khaled Manaa'me commander of the Hamas force in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City (IDF Spokesman, August 2, 2014).
17. On July 31 2014, 110 terrorist targets were attacked, among them houses of senior terrorist operatives which served as command and control facilities for the terrorist organizations (IDF Spokesman, July 31, 2014).
IDF and Civilian Losses
18. Sixty-four IDF soldiers and three civilians have been killed in Operation Protective Edge. The soldiers killed between July 31 and August 2, 2014, were the following (IDF Spokesman, August 3, 2014):
1) Captain Omri Tal,22, from Yehud. Soldier in the Armored Corps. Killed while operating on the border of the Gaza Strip.
2) Captain Liran Adir (Edri),31, from Ezuz. Soldier in the Armored Corps. Killed while operating on the border of the Gaza Strip.
3) Sergeant First Class Daniel Marash, 22, from Rishon Letzion. Soldier in the Armored Corps. Killed while operating on the border of the Gaza Strip.
4) Staff Sergeant Shai Kushnir, 20, from Kiryat Motzkin. Soldier in the Armored Corps. Killed while operating on the border of the Gaza Strip.
5) Staff Sergeant Noam Rosenthal, 20, from Meitar. Soldier in the Armored Corps. Killed while operating on the border of the Gaza Strip.
6) Sergeant Benaya Sarel, 26, from Kiryat Arba. Soldier in the Givati Brigade. Killed during operational activity in the Rafah region.
7) Staff Sergeant Liel Gidoni, 22, from Jerusalem. Soldier in the Givati Brigade. Killed during operational activity in the Rafah region.
8) Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, 23, from Kfar Saba. Soldier in the Givati Brigade. Abducted during an operational activity in Rafah. The IDF's chief rabbi determined that in view of evidence found at the site of the abduction he was killed in battle.
Rocket Fire into Israeli Territory
19. Since the beginning of the operation approximately 2,555 rockets have hit Israeli territory, 1,370 since the beginning of the ground operation. During the past few days rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel has continued, but the scope of rocket fire, especially long and medium range rockets, has decreased somewhat:
1) On August 2, 2014, 60 rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory. Most of the rockets fell in the western Negev. In the early morning hours rockets were fired targeting the center of Israel. One man in the western Negev was seriously wounded by a mortar shell.
2) On August 1, 2014, 35 rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory, most of them in the western Negev. The Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted a rocket in the skies over the central Israeli city of Ramla.
3) On July 31, 2014, 75 rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory. One man in Kiryat Gat was seriously wounded by shrapnel.
Daily Distribution of Rocket Hits in Israeli Territory during Operation Protective Edge
20. The military-terrorist wings of Hamas and the PIJ continue claiming responsibility for most of the rockets and mortar shells fired into Israeli territory and at the IDF forces operating in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas Trained Terrorist Operatives to Attack with Hang Gliders
21. On the night of July 20 an IDF force in the area of Qarara (Khan Yunis) detained the Hamas terrorist squad commander in the Khan Yunis battalion. During interrogation he said he had been trained to operate a hang glider to infiltrate Israel for an attack.
22. The operative said he had been recruited to the Hamas military-terrorist wing in 2007, and three years later was moved to a special force and sent to Malaysia for training in operating a hang glider. He said about ten other operatives from various battalions were sent with him. They spent a week training in Malaysia, and when they returned to the Gaza Strip they were called for additional training. All the operatives were warned to preserve secrecy. In 2014 he was summoned for further training (Shabak.gov.il, July 31, 2014).
23. Malaysiahas denied training Hamas terrorist operatives. The Malaysian deputy minister of the interior claimed that Malaysia had never organized secret military training for Hamas operatives or any other foreign group except for countries with which it had formal agreements (Bernama.com, July 31, 2014).
24. Hamaspublicized the denial. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades issued a press release claiming that the accusations were false and meant to sabotage international support for the Palestinians and influence Malaysia's position on the Palestinians (Alresala.net, August 1, 2014).
The Gazan Population
25. According to ITIC information,1,438 Gazans have been killed since the beginning of the operation (as of noon, August 3).
26. The distribution (not final, as of noon, August 3, 2014) of the 1,438 Palestinians killed is as follows:
1) 407 terrorist operatives:
A. 222 Hamas operatives
B. 123PIJ operatives
C. 62 operativesfrom other terrorist organizations
2) 452 non-involved Palestinians
3) 589 Palestinianswhose identity is not yet known
Residents Begin Returning to Their Houses
27. In the early afternoon on August 2, 2014, the IDF permitted residents of Beit Lahia and Al-Atatra in the northern Gaza Strip to return to their houses, after they had been required to leave them at the beginning of the ground operation. Major General Poli Mordechai, the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, warned them they might find explosives left by Hamas around their houses. He said that in their absence Hamas had taken over residential buildings and kept explosives in them, planning to detonate them to attack IDF soldiers. He also made it clear that Hamas was exclusively responsible for the destruction and killing (IDF Spokesman, August 2, 2014).
The Humanitarian Situation in the Gaza Strip
28. According to reports from the Gaza Strip, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. In addition to difficulties in supplying water and electricity and the hundreds of thousands of internal refugees, there is a danger of disease due to crowding and the lack of sanitation facilities. According to a UNOCHA report, as of July 31, 2014, an estimated 450,000 Gazans left their houses and 236,375 of them are currently in official UNRWA installations. Others are staying with relatives and approximately 20,800 are housed in government schools or public buildings.
Rocket Fire from UNRWA Schools
29. John Ging, head of OCHA, told Canadian Broadcasting that “The armed groups [i.e. Hamas, the PIJ and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip] are firing their rockets into Israel from the vicinity of U.N. facilities and residential areas, absolutely." Ging served as UNRWA director in Gaza from 2006 to 2011. Note: During Operation Protective Edge UNRWA made three reports stating that weapons had been found in its schools.
Rocket Fire from the Al-Shifa'a Hospital
30. On August 2, 2014, a Finnish correspondent told Finnish HUMAN SHIELD-TV that rockets were being fired from the parking lot behind the Al-Shifa'a Hospital in Gaza City (YouTube, August 2, 2014).
The Finnish correspondent reporting from Al-Shifa'a Hospital on rocket fire from the hospital's parking lot (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu-e5qWXx-k)
The Crossings – Update
The Rafah Crossing
31. An Egyptian security source reported that on August 1 and 2, 2014, the Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing after, they claimed, Israeli shells had fallen near the crossing on the Palestinian side. The source said that the authorities thought it better to close the crossing until the situation stabilized to protect the lives of the people working there and those using the crossing (DPA.de, August 1, 2014). The Hamas ministry of the interior later reported that the Rafah crossing had opened for holders of foreign passports. The crossings authority announced that the crossing was open but workers could not reach it because of the tension in the region (Website of the Hamas ministry of the interior, August 2, 2014).
Judea and Samaria
Hamas Tries to Provoke the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria
32. In Judea and Samaria many riots and marches were held in support of the Gaza Strip, leading to violent confrontations with the Israeli security forces. A Palestinian in Tulkarm was killed. Marches and various events were held in the large cities, including Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem and Ramallah.
33. A campaign was held in Judea and Samaria to collect donations for the Gazans (PNN TV, August 2-3; Wafa.ps, August 3, 2014).
Contacts for a Ceasefire
33. Accordingto the Turkish news agency Anadolu, on August 2, 2014, the PA delegation arrived in Cairo to begin indirect Egyptian-mediated negotiations with Israel. Members of the delegation included Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, Majed Faraj, head of Palestinian general intelligence, and others. Reportedly, other members include representatives of Hamas and the PIJ who are expected to arrive in the coming days (Aa.com.tr, August 2, 2014). Israel announced it would not send a delegation.
34. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisisaid that the Egyptian initiative was still valid and was a "genuine opportunity" for resolving the crisis in the Gaza Strip. He said it was based on a lull in the fighting, the provision of aid to the Gaza Strip and starting negotiations. He called on all the sides to invest effort in the matter immediately. He said that the Egyptian initiative could seriously resolve the problem and called on the parties involved not to pose conditions that would make the lull fail and keep aid from entering the Gaza Strip (Egyptian TV, August 2, 2014).
The Propaganda and Legal Campaign
Activity to Bring Israel to Trial
35. Mahmoud Abbasasked all the Palestinian organizations, including Hamas and the PIJ, for written agreement to formulate a lawsuit against Israel in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He asked for agreement in writing because it is likely that if Hamas and the PIJ bring suit against Israel, they will expose themselves to the same action. According to reports, so far Hamas and the PIJ have not given their agreement (AP.org, July 31, 2014).
During Operation Cast Lead the Israeli Air Force attacked a Hamas center for research and development situated in the Islamic University in Gaza City. The Islamic University is not only an ordinary academic institution, but also a Hamas political stronghold. It is used by Hamas' military-terrorist wing for many military purposes.
The graph indicates rocket hits in Israeli territory and does to include the massive mortar shell fire into the western Negev or rocket launches that failed.