On Saturday, 27 December 2008, Israel launched an attack against the Hamas terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. On 17 January 2009, Israel announced that it would hold its fire.

 Operation Cast Lead: Israel strikes back against Hamas terror in Gaza


Hamas base and training camp in central Gaza (IDF Spokesperson)

On Wednesday morning (21 Jan 2009), the last IDF soldiers left the Gaza Strip and returned to Israel and are now redeployed outside the Gaza Strip.

During Operation Cast Lead (27 Dec 2008 – 18 Jan 2009), 571 rockets and 205 mortar shells landed in Israeli territory. Magen David Adom personnel treated and evacuated a total of 770 casualties: 4 fatalities, 4 severely wounded, 11 moderately and 167 lightly wounded. An additional 584 persons suffered from shock and anxiety syndrome.

Selected communiques, statements and interviews
Israel’s operation against Hamas: Defeating Terror, Promoting PeaceMFA presentation
 Legal Aspects of the Gaza Operation – Powerpoint presentation
Hamas exploitation of civilians – Selected videos
Humanitarian aid to Gaza
IDF updates: Operation Cast Lead
• Ceasefire violations

Selected videos:

• From Disengagement to Operation Cast Lead
• Hamas Use of Civilians as Human Shields
• Humanitarian aid delivered to Gaza
• Citizens of Ashkelon under missile attack
• FM Livni briefs diplomatic corps in Sderot

• BBC News: Military analysis – Jan 9, 2009
Former British Army Colonel Richard Kemp (fought in Afghanistan with British Forces in 2003): "There has never been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and death, than the IDF is doing today in Gaza."

• MFA Spokesman on fighting in Gaza
– Why did the IDF embark on the military operation in Gaza?
– What does Israel want to achieve?
– The harming of innocent civilians
– When will Israel conclude the operation?
– What will follow it?

Behind the Headlines

• Behind the Headlines: The truth about Hamas crimes in Gaza  (29 Jan 2009)
• Behind the Headlines: Israel holds its fire (18 Jan 2009)
• Behind the Headlines: The tragedy at the school in Jebaliya (6 Jan 2009)
• Behind the Headlines: Israel expands Operation Cast Lead (4 Jan 2009)
• Behind the Headlines: Hamas increases range of rocket fire (31 Dec 2008)
• Behind the Headlines: Rockets rain down on southern Israel (25 Dec 2008

Israeli communities within range of rocket fire from Gaza
Almost one million Israelis are under immediate threat of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

 Operation Cast Lead: Israel strikes back against Hamas terror in Gaza

The "Color Red" system provides warning to civilians from the launch to the rocket strike:
Up to 10 km.  – 15 seconds
10-20 km. – 30 seconds
20-30 km.  – 45 seconds
30-40 km. – 1 minute

Video: Citizens of Ashkelon under missile attack

 Operation Cast Lead: Israel strikes back against Hamas terror in Gaza

Sderot child displays drawing of Kassam rocket with the caption "color red" – the words of the rocket warning siren. He is in a security room converted into a temporary school  on Monday, January 5, after schools were closed in all communities within 40 km of the Gaza Strip until further notice. (Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye)


Using the Civilian Population in the Gaza Strip as Human Shields:
Aerial photographs show locations of terrorist bases and weapons in the heart of civilian neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip
(IICC report, January 2009)

 Operation Cast Lead: Israel strikes back against Hamas terror in Gaza

The densely-populated Tel al-Zaatar neighborhood is located in the northern Gaza Strip. It is home to a number of schools and mosques, a medical center and several UN facilities. The aerial photograph shows that Hamas situated its military bases and training camps near schools and the Al-Fakhura medical center. It also shows that some parts of the neighborhood were mined and that tunnels were dug nearby. In addition, it is marked with the launching sites set up inside the neighborhood from which rockets were fired into Israel.

Jan 6: IDF Spokesperson: Initial inquiry into school incident in Jabalya
– Behind the Headlines: The tragedy at the school in Jebaliya
– Archive footage of Hamas mortar fire from UN School in Beit Hanoun (Oct 2007)
– TV footage of Hamas 120mm mortar crew operating within Jebaliya (6 Jan 2009)
– Hamas exploitation of civilians – Selected videos
– IDF issues warnings to the civilians of Gaza

To Rafah Residents,
The IDF is operating against the organizations and individuals that participate in terrorist activity targeting the State of Israel.
The IDF will strike and destroy every site or building in which weapons or smuggling tunnels are found.
Following this announcement, anyone located in a build containing weapons, or where there are smuggling tunnels, is there at his/her own risk and it is his/her responsibility to exit and evacuate his/her family!
You have been warned!
IDF Command

Jan 3: Operation Cast Lead expanded
IDF Spokesman Brigadier-General Avi Benayahu: "The objective of this phase of the operation is to intensify the heavy blow already dealt to Hamas and to take control of area from where most of the rocket attacks against Israel originate, in order to reduce those rocket attacks."
– Security Cabinet decision on continuation of IDF operation in Gaza
– Behind the Headlines: Israel expands Operation Cast Lead


Selected communiques, statements, interviews:

Cabinet communique
(26 Jan 2009)
PM Olmert: "Israel embarked on Operation Cast Lead not as a first option but as a last resort, after we tried all other ways and options to bring quiet to the communities in the south… For eight years, hundreds of thousands of residents of the State of Israel, who live in the south, were the unceasing targets of brutal, deliberate and planned rocket fire that was intentionally designed to hit civilians, including children and their parents, not soldiers and military installations."
Statement In support of the IDF in the wake of Operation Cast Lead: "On behalf of the State of Israel and its residents, the Government expresses its appreciation and gratitude to the IDF for Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip…"

Israel holds its fire: Statement by PM Ehud Olmert
(17 Jan 2009)
Beginning at 2:00 a.m. (Jan 18), Israel will cease its actions against the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip and will remain deployed in the Gaza Strip and its environs.

Israel and US sign Memorandum of Understanding regarding prevention of the supply of arms and related materiel to terrorist groups
(16 Jan 2009)

Remarks by Secretary Rice and FM Livni after signing of MOU
(16 Jan 2009)
I said from the outset that ending the fighting in Gaza will not be achieved by agreements with terror, but with effective arrangements against it. This is what we are doing today.

Statement by Amb Shalev to the UN General Assembly
(15 Jan 2009)
This meeting is being watched by  millions of victims who see that their suffering will never reach the international stage because the General Assembly gathers today in a cynical, hateful and politicized fashion to delegitimize Israel’s fundamental right to defend its citizens.

Press Conference with FM Livni and UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-Moon
(15 Jan 2009)
Hamas is not a member of the United Nations; Hamas is not thinking about accepting the international community’s rules.

Statement by Amb Shalev to the UN Security Council
(14 Jan 2009)
Terrorism poses enormous harm to civilians in armed conflict. Terrorism turns civilians into targets, shields and weapons.

FM Livni briefs Israeli ambassadors
(14 Jan 2009)
Israel has succeeded in maintaining the illegitimacy of Hamas since its rise to power, and the current operation will not end with an arrangement that will grant it legitimacy.

FM Livni meets with Spanish FM Moratinos
(13 Jan 2009)
The world understands that an effective deterrent to the smuggling operations that arm the Hamas must be put in place.

Statement by Amb Leshno-Yaar to UN Human Rights Council
(12 Jan 2009)
This resolution, which the Council is about to adopt with the support of your automatic majority, is not balanced, does not reflect the realities of the Gaza Strip, and does no service to the cause of peace or to the human suffering of Palestinians in Gaza.

FM Livni at joint press conference with German FM Steinmeier
(11 Jan 2009)
A military operation ends when deterrence has been achieved. The war on terror is a long war

PM Olmert’s remarks to the Cabinet (11 Jan 2009)

Washington Post interview with FM Livni
(10 Jan 2009)
In six months, Hamas has changed the range of the missiles from 20 kilometers to 50 kilometers. This now threatens 1 million Israelis.

Statement by Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs
(9 Jan 2009)

PM Olmert’s reaction to diplomatic developments & UNSC Resolution 1860
(9 Jan 2009)

Statement by Amb Leshno-Yaar to UN Human Rights Council
(9 Jan 2009)
I am addressing the Council today as the voice of one million Israeli citizens living within range of daily Hamas missile attacks. Their suffering has long been overlooked by this body and by the Office of the High Commissioner.

Statement by Amb Shalev to the UN Security Council
(8 Jan 2009)
The international community must focus its attention on the cessation of Hamas’ terrorist activity and make clear that a terrorist organization can never be a legitimate leadership.

Briefing by FM Livni to the Diplomatic Corps
(8 Jan 2009)
"We are familiar with the need to be in touch, to share information to open humanitarian corridors and to do whatever it takes in order to make the distinction between the organization which governs the Gaza Strip and the population."

Statement by Amb Shalev to the UN Security Council
(6 Jan 2009)
We have to defend ourselves – not from the Palestinian people, but from the terrorists who have taken them hostage. Not to gain territory or power, but to demonstrate that our restraint was not weakness and to give our citizens the basic right of a normal life.

President Peres meets with European Union Troika
(6 Jan 2009)

Joint press conference with FM Livni and EU representatives
(5 Jan 2009) 
There is a fight against terrorism, and it is not going to be settled in an agreement with terror.

President Peres meets with French President Sarkozy
(5 Jan 2009)

PM Olmert meets with American Jewish leaders
(5 Jan 2009)

CNN interview with FM Livni
(4 Jan 2009) 
Q: How long can this go on? FM Livni: Until we have made Hamas weaker, until we know that they understand that Israel is not willing to live in a reality in which our citizens are being targeted.

Channel 2 TV interview with FM Livni
(3 Jan 2009) 
We are defending ourselves, acting against Hamas, and mistakes can happen. But Hamas targets women and children, schools and kindergartens.

Statement by DM Ehud Barak
(3 Jan 2009)

Security Cabinet decision on continuation of IDF operation in Gaza
(2 Jan 2009)

PM Ehud Olmert in Beersheba
(1 Jan 2009)
"It was clear that we could not live in the reality which had been created. We could not countenance a situation in which hundreds of thousands of people were going to sleep and waking up in the morning in fear, distress and uncertainty. We will act so that there will be quiet in the southern communities. I very much hope that we will succeed in reaching our goals as quickly as possible. What we want is for our children to grow up in safety and that the children of Sderot, Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon will not have to flee from the shriek of missiles. We have not declared war on the residents of Gaza. I reiterate that we will treat the population with silk gloves but will apply an iron fist to Hamas."

President Peres visits Ashkelon
(31 Dec 2008)

Statement by Amb Shalev to UN Security Council
(31 Dec 2008)
The international community must reject the agenda of the extremists and support that of the moderates calling for coexistence and the realization of two states living side by side in peace and security.

FM Livni press conference on IDF operation in Gaza
(31 Dec 2008) 
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni addressed foreign journalists in Sderot after visiting a kindergarten and a school in Beersheba that were hit directly by Grad missiles from Gaza

PBS interview with Gen Michael Herzog, chief of staff to DM Barak
(31 Dec 2008)

Address to Knesset by FM Livni on Gaza operation
(29 Dec 2008) 
Israel has been under attack from Gaza for the past eight years. We did everything we could to prevent a deterioration of the situation.

Letter from Israel Amb Leshno-Yaar to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
( 28 Dec 2009)
I am both surprised and disappointed that you did not find it appropriate to issue any public statement when Israeli civilians in towns and cities across southern Israel were targeted by Hamas  with rockets and mortars in an unrelenting and indiscriminate fashion.

FM Livni briefing in Sderot – Opening remarks
(28 Dec 2008) 
We need you to make the distinction between Hamas and between Israel – a terrorist organization which controls the Gaza Strip, and a member state of the United Nations.

IDF operation in Gaza: Briefing after Cabinet meeting
(28 Dec 2008)

Statement by President Shimon Peres on IDF operation in Gaza
(28 Dec 2008) 
Israel doesn’t have any ambition in Gaza. But we cannot permit that Gaza will become a permanent base of threatening and even killing children and innocent people.

PM Olmert press briefing on IDF operation in the Gaza Strip
(27 Dec 2008) 
The operation in the Gaza Strip is designed, first and foremost, to bring about an improvement in the security reality for the residents of the south of the country.


 Operation Cast Lead: Israel strikes back against Hamas terror in Gaza

Saturday, 27 December 2008
IDF Spokesperson: IDF launches Operation Cast Lead against terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip

Since this morning, the IDF attacked dozens of targets affiliated with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. The targets included command centers, training camps, various Hamas installations, rocket manufacturing facilities and storage warehouses. The vast majority of the casualties are terror operatives, most of whom were wearing uniform and working on behalf of terror organizations.
IDF updates: Operation Cast Lead

* * *

Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened a press conference on Saturday afternoon (27 December) to formally announce the beginning of the IDF’s operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip launched at 11:30. DM Barak laid out the three objectives of the offensive: dealing Hamas a forceful blow, fundamentally changing the situation in Gaza, and bringing to the cessation of rocket attacks against Israeli citizens.

"The time has come to act. We do not go to this clash gladly, but neither are we afraid of it. We will not let terrorists hurt our citizens or soldiers. We will do what is necessary. For weeks Hamas and its affiliates lobbed Kassams and Grads and mortar shells on the towns and communities of the South. We have no intention of allowing this situation to continue. In the afternoon IAF aircraft attacked Hamas and terror targets in the Gaza Strip. In this strike the IAF hit more than 190 Hamas operatives, including senior police officials, and destroyed infrastructure used by the terror groups."

* * *

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit harshly censured Hamas (27 Dec), placing responsibility for the current situation on Hamas. At a noon press conference broadcast on Egyptian television, he said that Egypt had repeatedly cautioned against continuing the situation and that whoever did not listen (Hamas) should assume responsibility and not blame others. He added that Israel had publicly warned that continued rocket fire would lead to military action. Prime Minister Olmert said just two days ago in an Al Arabiya TV interview that if Hamas did not stop the rocket fire, Israel would respond militarily. The Egyptian foreign minister added angrily that right before Foreign Minister Livni’s arrival in Egypt on Thursday, 60 rockets were fired, meant to foil Egypt’s efforts to achieve quiet.