The Paper, 160 pages long, describes in detail the context of the Gaza Operation.

 The Operation in Gaza-Legal and Factual Aspects: The definitive Israeli version


(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Today the Government of Israel released a detailed paper addressing a wide range of factual and international legal issues relating to the military operation undertaken by the Israel Defence Forces in Gaza in December 2008 – January 2009.

The Paper, 160 pages long, describes in detail the context of the Gaza Operation. It documents the Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians in the years prior to the Operation and the increasing range of Hamas rocket and mortar attacks, as well as Israel’s efforts to prevent the attacks and avoid the conflict.

The Paper contains an extensive legal analysis of the legal principles and of State practice regarding the use of force and examines in detail the application of the principles of necessity, distinction and proportionality. In particular, with photographic and video evidence, it documents the tactics adopted by Hamas in launching attacks from within civilian populations and describes the IDF precautions and efforts to limit civilian harm in such situations.

The Paper also gives a detailed account of Israel’s humanitarian efforts in the course of the operation, particularly in the face of Hamas attempts to launch attacks during humanitarian pauses to allow aid to reach civilians, hijack aid and assistance, and hide within and behind medical and international facilities. 

The Paper also gives previously unpublished details of the multiple IDF investigations into allegations made by various groups of violations of the law.  It reveals that IDF investigative teams are currently examining approximately 100 complaints, including 13 criminal investigations opened so far. The Paper describes the preliminary findings of some of the IDF field investigations, which can be released without comprising the integrity and independence of these investigations including some of the lessons learned. It notes that these investigations will be reviewed by the Military Advocate General and may be subject to further review by the Attorney General and the Supreme Court of Israel. 

The Paper, with a brief executive summary, has been posted on the homepage of the web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.