Israel at War: Primary Sources


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Perspectives on Israel at war – from the War of Independence to the Gaza War
of 2012 – from those writing at the time, the primary sources of history.

See also: Israel’s Critical Security Requirements for Defensible Borders

War of Independence – 1948-1949

“The Jewish People Will Not Surrender!”

Major Knesset Debates, May 4, 1948

President of the Jewish Agency Executive David Ben-Gurion told the first session of the People’s Council, the forerunner of the provisional government of Israel: “Our experience of the past five months should greatly encourage us. Despite our small numbers and lack of preparedness, we have not yet lost a single settlement….the first stage, when our defense forces prevailed against local Arab gangs on highways and in towns, ended in total victory.” Read More »

Jerusalem Under Siege

Major Knesset Debates, May 5, 1948

President of the Jewish Agency Executive David Ben-Gurion: “The fighting continues. Unfortunately, the members from Jerusalem who were unable to get here yesterday cannot be here today either. At present, the only way to leave Jerusalem is by air. Due to the situation at the Etzion Bloc, where there are many casualties, the planes were needed there to transport medical supplies and evacuate the wounded.” Read More »

Israel in a State of Emergency

Major Knesset Debates, May 19, 1948

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion: “At present, our enemies have control of the skies. What this means with regard to Tel Aviv is common knowledge to everyone here….Superiority in the air gives the enemy a great advantage….Our enemies are seeking to destroy us, and we must act.”  Read More »

Prime Minister’s Report on the Military Front

Major Knesset Debates, June 3, 1948

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion: “The invasion of the country began before the termination of the Mandate….The invading forces – this is no secret – received many of their weapons from the British Government….There was an open invasion by the regular armies of the five neighboring countries – Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, Iraq and Egypt – whose populations are almost forty times that of the Jewish population of this country.”  Read More »

Robert Kennedy’s Reports from Palestine

Lenny Ben-David, June 3-6, 1948

In April 1948, one month before Israel declared independence, Robert Kennedy, then 22, traveled to Palestine to report on the conflict for the Boston Post. “The Jews…believe that in a few more years, if a Jewish state is formed, it will be the only stabilizing factor remaining in the Near and Middle East. The Arab world is made up of many disgruntled factions that would have been at each other’s throats long ago if it had not been for the common war against Zionism.”  Read More »

President Truman’s Decision to Recognize Israel

Amb. Richard Holbrooke, May 1, 2008

In his memoirs, Counsel to the President, Clark Clifford wrote: “The charge that domestic politics determined our policy on Palestine angered President Truman for the rest of his life. In fact, the President’s policy rested on the realities of the situation in the region, on America’s moral, ethical, and humanitarian values, on the costs and risks inherent in any other course, and on America’s national interests.”  Read More »

A Four-Week Truce

Major Knesset Debates, June 17, 1948

A four-week truce decreed by the Security Council on May 29, 1948, came into effect on June 11. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion: “The Holy City [of Jerusalem] was bombarded for four weeks by Moslem forces, with the help of British artillery and commanders, in a savage, barbaric and cynical way, desecrating the sanctity of the city and destroying synagogues, while the Christian world looked on in silence.”  Read More »

Renewed Fighting in the Negev

Major Knesset Debates, October 28, 1948

Egypt’s refusal to permit regular convoys to Jewish settlements in the Negev led to Israel’s Operation “Ten Plagues” on October 15, 1948. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion reported: “Hardly a day passed without the truce being broken b the enemy forces: in the south, in the center, in the north and in Jerusalem….The enemy’s attacks, snipings and bombardments are almost incessant…..The army completely fulfilled its mission of liberating the way to the Negev.”  Read More »

Armistice Agreements with Egypt, Lebanon and Transjordan

Major Knesset Debates, April 4, 1949

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion: “The agreement determines…nothing in political or territorial terms, being solely military…and replacing the ceasefire agreement with one of greater validity.”  Read More »

Israel No Longer Bound by UN Resolution Concerning Jerusalem

Major Knesset Debates, December 5, 1949

When the U.N. General Assembly debated the issue of the internationalization of Jerusalem in 1949, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion said: “We do not judge the U.N., which did nothing when nations which were members of the U.N. declared war on its resolution of 29 November 1947, trying to prevent the establishment of Israel by force, to annihilate the Jewish population in the Holy Land and destroy Jerusalem, the holy city of the Jewish people….Thus we are no longer bound by the U.N. resolution of November 29, since the U.N. was unable to implement it.”  Read More »

Sinai Campaign – 1956

Egypt Seizes the Suez, Israel Braces for War

Major Knesset Debates, October 15, 1956

As President Nasser of Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, a far-reaching rapprochement took place between France and Israel, leading to secret shipments of French arms to Israel. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion told the Knesset: “As well as the constant threat of a war of annihilation, we are also confronted with incessant guerrilla warfare-mainly from Egypt and Jordan, by armed gangs, or fedayeen, who cross our borders and kill any human being they encounter….In 1954 and 1955 Egypt caused us 242 dead and wounded.”  Read More »

IDF Success in the Sinai Campaign

Major Knesset Debates, November 7, 1956

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion: “After a lightning strike lasting less than seven days…our army completed clearing the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip of enemy forces….A tripartite military pact was made between Egypt, Jordan and Syria, the armies of those three countries being placed under Egypt’s command….We had to take effective defensive measures urgently.”  Read More »

Knesset Debate after the Sinai Campaign

Major Knesset Debates, November 7, 1956

Opposition leader Menachem Begin: “Our army did not strike the enemy so that there would be perpetual war between us and Egypt. The objective is a true peace….We must mete out humane treatment to all Arabs currently under Israel’s rule – whether refugees or fugitives. The enemy should be vanquished, but once he has surrendered he must not be hurt; we must show compassion towards him, extend him our hand, help him rebuild his house.”  Read More »

Israel Submits to International Pressure, Withdraws from Sinai

Major Knesset Debates, November 14, 1956

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion: “The letter President Eisenhower sent to me…reads as follows: ‘I trust that top priority will be given to the restoration of peace and the withdrawal of foreign forces, apart from those of the U.N., from Egypt….It would be highly regrettable to all my compatriots if…the State of Israel were in any way to injure the friendly cooperation between our two countries.”  Read More »

Israeli Forces Remain in Gaza

Major Knesset Debates, January 23, 1957

While Israel withdrew from Sinai, it did not immediately withdraw from Gaza. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion: “As for the Gaza Strip, this was never Egyptian. Egypt held on to it for eight years as a prize for its invasion of Israel, and all that time did nothing to aid its development….The situation of the Gaza Strip is unique, and no U.N. force can prevent fedayeen forces being organized there by the Egyptian rulers and sent to attack Israel.”  Read More »

Six-Day War – 1967

Read the original newspaper coverage of the Six-Day War from the Washington Post – June 6-11, 1967

Egyptian Troops Mass along Israel’s Southern Border

Major Knesset Debates, May 22, 1967

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol: “The Egyptian troop movements into the Sinai were intensified during the second half of last week and today they are virtually in battle position in the eastern Sinai….Today…they have almost four divisions there, as well as a great deal of artillery and increased Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip….The total number of Egyptian forces there is now estimated as being in the region of 80,000.”  Read More »

Nasser Closes the Straits of Tiran, Signs Defense Pact with Jordan

Major Knesset Debates, May 23, 1967

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol: “This morning the President of Egypt issued a statement regarding his intention of closing the international waterway through the Straits of Tiran which links the Gulf of Eilat with the Red Sea to ships bearing the Israeli flag as well as to other ships carrying cargo of a strategic nature….Any obstruction of freedom of navigation in the Gulf and the Straits is a grave violation of international freedom and the sovereign rights of other nations and an act of aggression against Israel.”  Read More »

The Six-Day War Begins

Major Knesset Debates, June 5, 1967

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol: “Fierce battles began this morning between the Air Forces of Egypt and Israel, during the course of which the Egyptian Air Force suffered heavy losses. During the course of the day the Air Forces of Syria and Jordan attacked us too, and were also defeated by our Air Force….In my radio broadcast this morning I stressed that Israel would not attack any country which has not waged war on us.”  Read More »

Israel Wins the Six-Day War

Major Knesset Debates, June 12, 1967

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol: “A week ago the fateful campaign began. The existence of the State of Israel, the hope of generations and the vision which had been fulfilled in our time, was in the balance. Now, a week after the Knesset’s last sitting, which was held in the midst of the bombardment, we are gathered to hear that victory is ours….Jerusalem is united. For the first time since the establishment of the state Jews can pray at the Western Wall, the relic of our Temple and our historic past, and at Rachel’s Tomb. For the first time in our generation Jews can pray at the Cave of Machpela in Hebron, the city of the Patriarchs.”  Read More »

The Beginning of Israeli Rule in Judea and Samaria

Major General Rephael Vardi, April 16, 1989

Both the Arab population of the area as well as ourselves were surprised by the fact that in 48 hours we had occupied the West Bank of Jordan. Such was their surprise that the Israeli forces that entered Nablus were welcomed by the population with flowers and with flags because they believed that these were Iraqi forces that had come to support the Jordanians. R Read More »

Yom Kippur War – 1973

The Yom Kippur War

Major Knesset Debates, October 16, 1973

Prime Minister Golda Meir: “Showing both ignorance and viciousness, the enemy chose to launch his attack on the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year for Jews, knowing that many of our people were engaged in prayer in synagogues then….We will not forget the wonderful and stirring sight of thousands of young men leaving the synagogues quietly, still wrapped in their prayer-shawls, and soon afterwards setting off with their military packs on their backs.”  Read More »

Israel Agrees to a Ceasefire

Major Knesset Debates, October 23, 1973

Prime Minister Golda Meir: “On October 22 the Government of Israel decided unanimously to respond to the appeal issued by the U.S. Government and President Nixon, and declared its readiness to agree to a ceasefire in accordance with the U.N. resolution.”  Read More »

Ceasefire Agreement with Syria

Major Knesset Debates, May 30, 1974

Prime Minister Golda Meir: “The Syrian attack of October 1973 forced us to fight back, advance into Syria and reach the outskirts of Damascus. Israel has made it clear that it has no desire to remain permanently in its military positions in the enclave, which we are now relinquishing in accordance with the Agreement.”  Read More »

Camp David Accords

Major Knesset Debates, September 25, 1978

Prime Minister Menachem Begin: “I bring before the Knesset, and thereby before the entire nation, the tidings of the establishment of peace between Israel and the largest Arab country, and in the course of time, inevitably, with all our neighbors.”  Read More »

First Lebanon War – 1982-2000

Israel’s “Peace for the Galilee” Operation in Lebanon – Some Initial Perspectives

Daniel J. Elazar, July 1, 1982

After the first cease-fire, eyewitnesses reported unceasing lines of automobiles loaded with family possessions heading southward past Israeli checkpoints, voting with their feet as to which part of Lebanon was the most desirable.  Read More »

Reflections of a Lebanon Relief Officer

Samuel Halperin, December 26, 1982

The Palestinians of South Lebanon clearly wish the Israelis to provide a shield against their many hostile neighbors. The PLO is gone. Some Palestinians say “good riddance.”  Read More »

First Intifada – 1987-1991

Judea and Samaria: Behind the Uprising

Hillel Frisch, May 15, 1988

In the 1970s there was tremendous economic advancement for blue-collar Palestinians employed in Israel. But when the Israeli economy began to stagnate in 1985-86, for the first time in two decades Arabs working in Israel were earning salaries lower than Arabs working in the territories. This began to result in a coalition of social groups against the occupation.  Read More »

Has the Intifada Really Weakened American Jewish Support for Israel

Eytan Gilboa, April 1, 1990

A detailed analysis of the public opinion data clearly shows that the overwhelming majority of American Jews continues their strong support of Israel.  Read More »

The Intifada in Judea and Samaria: A View from the Field

Miro Cohen, August 1, 1990

Contrary to the common belief, most of the Arab population does not in fact participate in the uprising. Most of the adult population does not participate, as well as a very large part of the youth. Age 17 is more or less the upper limit because after 17 they are more interested in going out to work.  Read More »

Palestinians Challenge the Intifada

David Clayman and Sylvia Horwitz, June 16, 1991,

The Palestinians are in despair as a result of the defeat of their would-be champion Saddam Hussein. There is extreme bitterness which goes beyond their traditional hatred of Israel. It is directed against those forces of evil that vanquished their would-be savior, namely the United States and Egypt.  Read More »

Hamas: The Islamic Resistance Movement in the Territories

Boaz Ganor, February 2, 1992

The Muslim Brotherhood in the territories was formed during the years 1967-1977, when Islamic-religious forces joined ranks, under the aegis of similar groups in Arab countries (mainly Jordan and Egypt), to form a single movement. The Hamas movement founded after the outbreak of the intifada as the military arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the territories.  Read More »

How Fares the Intifada? Assessing the New Mood

Amikam Nachmani, November 15, 1992

At the start of the intifada the Palestinians were ready to sacrifice everything for the cause – no elaborate wedding feasts, no soccer games, no coffee houses. After five years, all of these are again permitted. The Gulf War pushed the Palestinian problem from the world agenda, and after the war the political process attracted all the attention.  Read More »

The Islamic Jihad: The Imperative of Holy War

Boaz Ganor, February 15, 1993

According to the Islamic Jihad, the only way to resolve the conflict with the Jews in Palestine is by direct violent confrontation. It was the Islamic revolution in Iran that triggered the growth of Islamic Jihad groups in the Arab countries. R Read More »

Gulf War – 1991

Israeli Perspectives on the Gulf Crisis

Efraim Inbar, November 15, 1990

The Middle East is an area where military force is still used in order to achieve political goals. The weapons technology available to Iraq had made an attack on Israel’s population centers with unconventional warheads a plausible contingency even before the crisis.  Read More »

Israel Under Attack

Daniel J. Elazar, February 1, 1991

2:20 a.m.: We are awakened by the air raid alarm, turn on the radio, and are told to take shelter in our sealed rooms an dput on our gas masks, that a missile attack on Israel is in progress. We carry out our instructions and, with the gas masks, look like a family from the planet of the apes. After about an hour, the all-clear is sounded.  Read More »

Saddam Could Try Again

Raphael Israeli, March 15, 1991

On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein struck Kuwait militarily in a blitzkrieg which baffled his foes and friends alike. The West, fearful of the consequences of leaving in the dictator’s hands an aggregate (Iraq and Kuwait) 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves, decided to move with much hesitation.  Read More »

The U.S.-Israel Relationship: Mounting Misperceptions in Washington

Dore Gold, April 15, 1992

Ultimately, Israel finds itself required to create a security structure where it alone is ultimately responsible for deterring external threats. It is this Israeli deterrent that must protect the country and not any external structures. R Read More »

Second Intifada – 2000-2005

Untenable Linkages: Tying a Cessation of Palestinian Violence to an Israeli Settlement Freeze

Dore Gold, May 15, 2001

The negotiators of the Oslo Agreements did not curtail Israel’s legal rights to defend Israeli citizens from acts of violence and terrorism that might continue to transpire in the West Bank and Gaza. The Oslo Agreements did not even rule out Israeli military activities in Area A, the areas of full Palestinian security jurisdiction.  Read More »

Anti-Semitism Revived: The Impact of the Intifada on Muslim Immigrant Groups in Western Democracies

Raphael Israeli, June 1, 2001

Since the Intifada erupted in late September 2000, an almost simultaneous wave of violent anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment has accompanied it in the Western democracies, initiated and executed mainly by locally nationalized Arab or Muslim immigrants.  Read More »

One Year of Yasser Arafat’s Intifada: How It Started and How It Might End

Dore Gold, October 1, 2001

“Whoever thinks the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong….This Intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat’s return from the Camp David Negotiations,” admitted Palestinian Communications Minister ‘Imad Al-Faluji.  Read More »

How Arafat’s Palestinian Authority Became an “Entity Supporting Terrorism”

Dore Gold, December 9, 2001

Given the escalating bombing attacks against Israeli cities emanating from the vast terrorist infrastructure that has grown in the areas under Palestinian jurisdiction, Israel has no choice but to strike directly at the network of terrorism operating within the Palestinian Authority – including forces loyal to Yasser Arafat.  Read More »

The PLO Weapons Ship from Iran

Dore Gold, January 7, 2002

The seizure by Israeli naval commandos in the Red Sea of the Palestinian ship Karine-A, with its cargo of over 50 tons of Iranian weapons and explosives, reveals an entirely new network of cooperation in Middle Eastern terrorism.  Read More »

Marwan Barghouti, Fatah-Tanzim, and the Escalation of the Intifada

Dore Gold, January 24, 2002

West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post on January 16, 2002, presenting himself as a moderate Palestinian leader with limited political aims, who also renounces terrorism. Yet one day after Barghouti’s piece appeared, a member of Fatah’s Tanzim militia attacked the bat mitzvah celebration in Hadera, killing six civilians and wounding over thirty. Israeli security sources have firmly established that Barghouti knew of the Hadera bat mitzvah attack in advance, and gave it his blessing.  Read More »

The Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation: Toward a Divorce

Ehud Yaari, June 30, 2002

Arafat exercised a willing suspension of control at the start of the intifada, allowing irregular forces to attack while formal security forces remained on the sidelines. Arafat was not interested in a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders at peace with Israel.  Read More »

Who Killed Muhammad Al-Dura? Blood Libel – Model 2000

Amnon Lord, July 15, 2002

Muhammad Al-Dura, the poster child of the Palestinian uprising, was not killed by IDF gunfire. The Palestinians, in cooperation with foreign journalists and the UN, arranged a well-staged production.  Read More »

The Recruitment of Children in Current Palestinian Strategy

Justus Reid Weiner, October 1, 2002

Knowing that Israeli soldiers are ordered not to shoot live ammunition at children, and face disciplinary procedures or court martial for breaches, Palestinian snipers hide among youngsters or use them as human shields.  Read More »

The Influence of Palestinian Organizations on Foreign News Reporting

Dan Diker, March 27, 2003

Since the outbreak of Palestinian violence in September 2000, Palestinian leaders have succeeded in using the international news media to mobilize world opinion in favor of the Palestinian narrative.  Read More »

Lessons from the Or Commission: Rethinking the Ideological and Religious Dimensions of the Israeli Arab Riots of October 2000

Dan Diker, February 1, 2004

According to the Or Commission Report, during the Arab riots of October 2000, “thousands of demonstrators paralyzed the country, destroying Jewish property and attacking Jewish citizens on Israel’s main roads. In a number of instances Jewish citizens were just inches from death at the hands of an unrestrained mob.”  Read More »

Israel’s Security Doctrine and the Trap of “Limited Conflict”

Colonel (Res.) Yehuda Wegman, March 19, 2004

The halt in attacks by Hamas from September 2003 to January 2004 was the direct result of the threat to the lives of the group’s leadership after an unceasing series of air attacks. This proved once again the validity of Israel’s traditional security doctrine, that requires those in charge to apply force – the IDF – to provide defense together with achieving a decision as rapidly as possible against any type of war that may be waged against the State of Israel.  Read More »

Winning Counterinsurgency War: The Israeli Experience

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, 2008

The situation that prevailed in the West Bank after Operation “Defensive Shield” (April 2002) is an excellent example of how terror can be vanquished with military force – to destroy the enemy’s capabilities through a continuous effort, though without solving the conflict.  Read More »

Predicting the Rise of Hamas: The Democracy of the Rifles

Brig. Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari, December 28, 2005

Who is stronger in Gaza: Hamas or Fatah? Some Israeli intelligence officials say the ratio of armed forces is 22,000 for the PA and 6,000 for Hamas – a four-to-one ratio – which is enough for the PA to overcome Hamas. But every Hamas and Jihad member is worth four or five or six Fatah members because he’s much more committed and fanatical and has more self-discipline. R Read More »

Second Lebanon War – 2006

A Strategic Assessment of the Hizballah War: Defeating the Iranian-Syrian Axis in Lebanon

Dan Diker, July 19, 2006

According to Israeli intelligence assessments, Hizballah, Syria, and Iran were taken by surprise by the sheer magnitude and intensity of Israel’s response to the missile attacks and kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers on July 12. Nasrallah failed to understand that Israel has gone to war because Hizballah has launched a strategic attack against it, and that Israel views the kidnappings as part of a much greater threat.  Read More »

An International Force in Lebanon: Advantages and Disadvantages

Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, July 25, 2006

The only logical basis for an international presence is the creation of a force whose primary mission will be assisting the Lebanese Armed Forces in disarming Hizballah (as stated in UN Security Council Resolution 1559). Such a force should be deployed close to Beirut, at the border passages with Syria, and deep in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley.  Read More »

Countdown to Conflict: Hizballah’s Military Buildup and the Need for Effective Disarmament

Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, August 20, 2006

Nasrallah was surprised by the Israeli response to the kidnapping of its soldiers and so were his Iranian patrons. From Iran’s standpoint, the region had been ignited too early, before its nuclear program was ready. Any end to the war that does not involve Hizballah’s disarmament will enable the jihadist movement to rise again like a phoenix, rehabilitate itself, and continue its jihad against Israel.  Read More »

The Critical Importance of Israeli Public Diplomacy in the War Against the Iran-Hizballah Axis of Terror

Dr. Raanan Gissin, August 23, 2006

Instead of the war being about Israel’s right of self-defense, Hizballah was able to turn it around so that the issue on the international agenda became Israel’s destruction of Lebanon. Israel should have been seen as the victim. We were being attacked. We were true to the international border, we restrained ourselves, we held back. Why should it be that once we start attacking, we immediately start to lose in the diplomatic arena?  Read More »

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Hizballah’s Rocket Campaign Against Northern Israel:

A Preliminary Report (with pictures and map)

Dr. Uzi Rubin, August 31, 2006

From July 13 to August 13, 2006, the Israel Police reported 4,228 rocket impacts inside Israel from rockets fired by Hizballah. No geographical area in the world has sustained such a large quantity of rocket strikes since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 1980s. On most occasions, the rocket warhead contained anti-personnel munitions, a mixture of explosives and steel balls or fragments that were lethal to all those caught outside. Read More »

Hizballah in Lebanon: The War Was Not Supposed to End This Way

Chuck Freilich, September 1, 2006

Israel is not better off strategically than it was at the beginning of the war. Lebanese and international forces will do little to ensure security and will end up as a cover for ongoing Hizballah operations, hampering Israel’s freedom of movement. Hizballah will neither disarm nor redeploy from the south.  Read More »

The Rising Popularity and Current Status of Hizballah Leader Nasrallah After the Lebanon War: Does it Matter?

Lee Smith, September 19, 2006

Hizballah’s war with Israel has won it the admiration of the Arab masses, but eventually, ordinary Sunnis will recognize that their sectarian interests are represented not by a Persian Shia theocracy, but by the Sunni Arab establishment.  Read More »

How Should Israel Respond to War Crimes Accusations from the War in Lebanon?

Abraham Bell, November 9, 2006

Discussing how Israel should respond to war crimes accusations diverts the agenda away from Hizballah – a terrorist group that committed war crimes in the recent war that far exceed in gravity and quantity all those Israel is accused of.  Read More »

A Disproportionate Response? The Case of Israel and Hizballah

Joshua L. Gleis, December 1, 2006

In responding forcefully to Hizballah’s provocation in the summer of 2006, Israel not only restored much of its deterrent capability, but did so against a weapon of the Iranian and Syrian militaries.  Read More »

Misreading the Second Lebanon War

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, January 16, 2007

What is the real mood of the Israeli people after the war? It is that we are not suckers and we are not going to make the same mistake again. We are not going to put ourselves in danger if it is not necessary. We unilaterally retreated from Lebanon and didn’t retaliate for six years, and in the end we found Hizbullah in a stronger position to fight against us. When Israel retreated from Gaza what was the result? More Kassam rockets on Sderot and Ashkelon.  Read More »

Israel’s Deterrence after the Second Lebanon War

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, February 13, 2007

The Islamic fundamentalist war against Israeli and Jewish existence in the Middle East – which is being waged by both Hizbullah and Hamas – did not begin in 1967, and it is not going to end even if Israel redeploys along the 1967 lines. Hardly anybody in Israel thinks that if we give territories now, we will get peace in return.  Read More »

Strategic Lessons of the Winograd Commission Report on the Second Lebanon War

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, May 7, 2007

Israel completed its unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon on May 24, 2000. It was hoped that the withdrawal would erode the legitimacy of any continuing military activity by Hizbullah, especially in Lebanon’s internal politics. Israel did not prepare for war with an enemy that was far more powerful than what it was familiar with in the past. R Read More »

Gaza War – 2009

What’s Behind Western Condemnation of Israel’s War Against Hamas?

Prof. Efraim Karsh, January 11, 2009

Why do citizens in democracies enthusiastically embrace a radical Islamist group that not only seeks the destruction of a fellow democracy but is overtly committed to the substitution of a world-wide Islamic caliphate for the existing international order?  Read More »

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Hamas’ War Crimes

Abraham Bell, January 29, 2009

I have yet to see any of the major NGO’s or other players in the international law field turn any serious attention to Hamas war crimes and other violations of international law committed during the current fighting in Gaza.
To fill in the gap, I will, as I get to it, list reports of Hamas war crimes, primarily as reported by media outlets outside of Israel. Read More »

On War Crimes in Gaza

Abraham Bell, February 15, 2009

While the human rights organizations are pointing an accusing finger at Israel due to the operation in Gaza, according to international law it is precisely Hamas that committed war crimes. The widespread accusation regarding disproportional use of force does not meet the test of international law that places the emphasis on intention rather than results.  Read More »

The Dangerous Bias of the United Nations Goldstone Report

Dore Gold, June 18, 2009

The Goldstone Report alleged that Israeli troops had committed “war crimes” by attacking purely civilian targets in the Gaza War and failed to link Hamas to any violations of the laws of war, even though its continuing rocket attacks caused the Gaza War to begin with.  Read More »

Accountability of Hamas under International Humanitarian Law

Sigall Horovitz, June 18, 2009

Hamas can be held responsible for violations of international humanitarian law. Individuals can be charged with criminal responsibility for serious IHL violations, referred to as war crimes.  Read More »

International Law and Military Operations in Practice

Col. Richard Kemp, June 18, 2009

Islamist fighting groups not only do not adhere to the laws of war, they employ a deliberate policy of operating consistently outside international law.  Read More »

Self-Defense and the Dignity of States

Prof. George P. Fletcher, June 18, 2009

Everybody in the international arena agrees that no country should have to tolerate attacks against its territory and that it is entitled to use defensive forces to repel aggression. Article 51 of the UN Charter enshrines the principle of self-defense. If we tolerate missile attacks upon our territory, then we surrender our dignity as an independent entity in the international arena.  Read More »

Asymmetric Conflicts and the Rules of War

Col. (ret.) Pnina Sharvit-Baruc, June 18, 2009

The existing body of laws of armed conflict is suitable in dealing with counterterrorism operations and may be adapted to such situations.  Read More »

Soldiers’ Testimonies to “Breaking the Silence”: Was It Really Like This?

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, July 26, 2009

On July 14, 2009, Breaking the Silence published testimonies by 30 anonymous soldiers describing events as they experienced them during Operation Cast Lead (December 27th, 2008 – January 18th, 2009). An analysis of the different parties’ claims, as quoted in the media, shows that in fact few of those involved have read all of the soldiers’ statements in detail.  Read More »

Palestinian “Policemen” Killed in Gaza Operation Were Trained Terrorists

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, September 13, 2009

A decisive majority of the Palestinian “policemen” killed in the 2009 Gaza Operation were members of the military wings of the Palestinian terror organizations and fighters who had undergone military training. Human rights organizations had artificially inflated the numbers of Palestinian “civilian” casualties by including these men.  Read More »

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Blocking the Truth of the Gaza War: How the Goldstone Commission Understated the Hamas Threat to Palestinian Civilians

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, September 18, 2009

Statements of Palestinians recorded by the commission and posted on the UN website provide authentic evidence of the commission’s methodology and raise serious questions about its intentions to discover the truth.  Read More »

A Moral Evaluation of the Gaza War – Operation Cast Lead

Asa Kasher, February 4, 2010

There is no army in the world that will endanger its soldiers in order to avoid hitting the warned neighbors of an enemy or terrorist. Israel should favor the lives of its own soldiers over the lives of the well-warned neighbors of a terrorist when it is operating in a territory that it does not effectively control, because in such territories it does not bear the moral responsibility for properly separating between dangerous individuals and harmless ones.  Read More »

New Revelations About the UN Goldstone Report that Seriously Undermine its Credibility

Dore Gold, February 11, 2010

Col. (ret.) Desmond Travers was one of the four members of the UN Fact Finding Mission that produced what is widely called the Goldstone Report. On February 2, 2010, he asserted that in the past Israeli soldiers had “taken out and deliberately shot” Irish peacekeeping forces in Southern Lebanon. Travers also stated: “We found no evidence that mosques were used to store munitions” – though Israel produced photographic proof that large amounts of weapons were stored in mosques.  Read More »

eBook: Israel’s Right to Self-Defense: International Law and Gaza – by 12 Experts

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2012

Existing international law permits a nation to act in self-defense, and that Israel gives more thought to upholding the laws of war during its military operations than any other nation in history. R Read More »

Gaza War – 2012

International Background to Hamas’ Escalation Against Israel

Dore Gold, November 18, 2012

During Nov. 10-14, 2012, there were 217 rocket attacks from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip against Israel. Hamas, with massive aid from Iran, has acquired the Iranian Fajr-5 rocket with a range of 46.6 miles, putting Tel Aviv, Rishon LeZion, and Rehovot in striking distance. The Iranian weapons flowed through the tunnels into Gaza beneath the Egyptian border. Some of this weaponry originated in Sudan, where Iran has had a naval presence for many years.  Read More »

The Long-Term Implications of the Israel-Hamas Clash

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, November 21, 2012

Hamas views each round of armed conflict with Israel as a stage in a long-term war of attrition. Hamas leaders hope the increasingly severe and violent outbreaks will eventually erode Israel’s resilience, while goading the masses toward the emergence of a united military front for the liberation of Palestine.  Read More »

The Iranian Role in the 2012 Gaza Conflict

Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, December 2, 2012

During the fighting in Gaza in November 2012, Iran took pains to highlight its supply of weapons and means of manufacturing them to the Palestinian. Tehran in particular flaunted its role in the supply of rockets, especially the Fajr-5 that was fired at Tel Aviv.  Read More »

Operation Pillar of Defense (Gaza – November 2012): Objectives and Implications

Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Herzog, January 21, 2013

Both in the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead and in the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel’s government focused its objective on enhancing deterrence – opting for hitting the terrorists hard enough to give them an interest in a ceasefire for as long as possible – rather than dismantling Gaza’s terror infrastructure or toppling the Hamas government. R Read More »

Gaza War – 2014

Executive Summary

February 26, 2015

This is a researched and documented narrative that relates the truth as it happened. Despite the appearance of massive damage to Gaza, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, stated that Israel had gone to “extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and prevent civilian casualties in the Gaza conflict.” A discerning look at the facts leads to the conclusion that Hamas, not Israel, must be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Preface

Hirsh Goodman and Amb. Dore Gold, February 26, 2015

While written from an Israeli perspective, this report not a document intended to negate criticism of Israel’s actions during the war or improve Israel’s image in the eyes of the world. It has but one goal: to relate a truth obfuscated by the fog of war and lost in the immediacy of reportage from the battlefield.

Israel’s Narrative – An Overview

Hirsh Goodman, February 26, 2015

Despite Hamas’ cynical invocation of the victimhood in order to achieve its strategic objectives, Israel successfully focused on eliminating terror threat emanating from the strip while trying to avoid a “potential massacre.” This was a war Israel preferred to avoid and supported all efforts to end, even at the expense of sparing Hamas’ military infrastructure.

Telling the Truth about the 2014 Gaza War

Amb. Dore Gold, February 26, 2015

The 2014 Gaza war began with an outright act of aggression by Hamas: the escalation of rocket attacks on Israel’s towns and cities. But over time, a complete fabrication of the events emerged, as Hamas tried to downplay the threat to Israel, argue that Hamas had become moderate, and portray Israel as a nation dedicated to starving the Palestinian population.

Israel, Gaza and Humanitarian Law: Efforts to Limit Civilian Casualties

Lt. Col. (res.) David Benjamin, February 26, 2015

This is a brief outline of the measures adopted by Israel’s military to minimize the impact on civilians of its campaign to neutralize the rockets and terror tunnels of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. It should be noted that during this time, the rulers of Gaza cynically engaged in a parallel effort to maximize the exposure of their own civilians to the dangers of the conflict.

The Legal War: Hamas’ Crimes against Humanity and Israel’s Right to Self-Defense

Amb. Alan Baker, February 26, 2015

Hamas’ actions, like the indiscriminate targeting of civilian population centers and deliberate exposure and use of its own civilians as human shields, are violations of international law. International law recognizes Israel’s right to self-defense, both via the UN Charter’s conventional international right of self-defense or by the international customary right to self-defense.

The Limits of the Diplomatic Arena

Amb. Dore Gold, February 26, 2015

The 2014 Gaza war was unique in comparison to past Arab-Israeli fronts. In this conflict, Israel was engaged almost only with Hamas, a terror group that rules Gaza – not a state government. While non-state actors have recently come under the restrictions of international humanitarian law, Hamas did not see itself bound by international conventions or UN resolutions.

Hamas’ Strategy Revealed

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, February 26, 2015

The 2014 Gaza war was viewed by Hamas as a critical link in the chain of jihad and armed struggle, whose eventual goal is the Palestine’s liberation and Israel’s destruction. Destroying Israel remains Hamas’ goal and signs exist that it has adopted genocidal doctrines toward the Jewish people as a whole, beyond its militancy toward Israel.

Hamas’ Order of Battle: Weapons, Training, and Targets

Lenny Ben-David, February 26, 2015

Throughout their 50-day war against Israel, Hamas and its terrorist allies fired more than 4,500 projectiles at Israel. Hamas’ weapons would have caused hundreds, perhaps thousands, of civilian casualties if not for Israel’s active and passive defenses. This, coupled with other dubious methods, leaves Hamas culpable for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Hamas’ Tunnel Network: A Massacre in the Making

Daniel Rubenstein, February 26, 2015

In the past decade, Hamas methodically built a sophisticated network of tunnels that would enable its fighters to infiltrate Israel and carry out terrorist attacks and abductions on an unprecedented scale. Operation Protective Edge targeted this tunnel network, eliminating one of Hamas’ strategic assets and preventing a surprise attack behind Israel’s front lines.

Hamas’ Silent Partners

Lenny Ben-David, February 26, 2015

Today, dozens of Palestinian, Israeli, international, and Christian organizations are engaged in the Palestinians’ campaign against Israel and are supported financially by major foundations, private donations, and even European governments. These organizations were critical to Hamas’ diplomatic front against Israel during the 2014 Gaza war.

Gazan Casualties: How Many and Who They Were

Lenny Ben-David, February 26, 2015

Following the 2014 Gaza war, UN and Palestinian sources claimed that some 2,100 Palestinians in Gaza were killed, of whom 72 to 84 percent were civilians. There are strong reasons to contest these figures and argue that the percentage of Gazan civilian casualties was fewer than 50 percent.

Key Moments in a 50-Day War: A Timeline

Daniel Rubenstein, February 26, 2015

This timeline seeks to concisely summarize the critical events of the 2014 Gaza war on the military, diplomatic, and media fronts.

Israel’s Critical Security Requirements for Defensible Borders

Israel’s Critical Security Requirements for Defensible Borders

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2011

This study by leading Israeli security experts presents a comprehensive assessment of Israel’s critical security requirements, particularly the need for defensible borders that was enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 242 and endorsed by past U.S. administrations. Authors include Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel.  Read More »

Defensible Borders on the Golan Heights

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, 2009

Israeli-Syrian negotiations in 1999-2000 discussed security arrangements to compensate Israel for the loss of the Golan Heights. This analysis demonstrates that Israel does not possess a plausible solution to its security needs without the Golan Heights. Not only was the “solution” proposed in the year 2000 implausible at the time, but changing circumstances have rendered Israel’s forfeiture of the Golan today an even more reckless act.  Read More »