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United Nations: Most Gaza Casualties Were Warned by IDF to Leave Targeted Buildings in Advance

July 10, 2014 6:39 pm 27 comments
Israel Air Force planes. Photo: Israel Defense Forces.

Israel Air Force planes. Photo: Israel Defense Forces.

A new United Nations document says that in most cases where Palestinians have been killed or injured during Israel’s ongoing Gaza campaign, the Israeli army alerted civilians ahead of time who were occupying buildings, that they planned to bomb in Gaza, to leave the premises.

“At least 35 residential buildings were reportedly targeted and destroyed, resulting in the majority of the civilian casualties recorded so far, including an attack on 8 July in Khan Younis that killed seven civilians, including three children, and injured another 25,” according to the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Hostilities in Gaza and Israel Situation Report. “In most cases, prior to the attacks, residents have been warned to leave, either via phone calls by the Israel military or by the firing of warning missiles.”

The document was released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at 15:00 on July, 9, 2014.

Hamas, however, has officially urged residents to ignore the Israeli warnings to evacuate prior to Air Force air strikes, and, instead, called on them to serve as human shields.

The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Interior and National Security said in a statement released on Wednesday, that “(sic) the ministry calling all our people not to deal or pay attention to the psychological warfare carried out by the occupation through rumors that broadcast across his media and delivering publications and communications on the phones of citizens, and the lack of response for each of these means, which aims to weaken the domestic front in light of great steadfastness of our people to face the aggression.”

In an interview on July 8, Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri justified using residents as human shields. Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a statement released at the conclusion of a crucial security cabinet meeting Thursday evening on the third day of Operation Protective Edge, emphasized that the IDF was “making every effort to avoid hitting civilians and innocents.”

The PM noted that the casualties so far were because Hamas officials were “maliciously hiding behind Palestinian civilians.”

Israeli Air Force (IAF) GOC Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel said at the same meeting that Israel dropped “hundreds of tons of ordnance and bombs on terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, in a very complicated environment in which civilians are being used as human shields and we are trying to avoid hitting civilians as much as possible.”

Palestinians report that close to 90 Gazans have been killed and some 630 wounded in IAF strikes across the 40-kilometer-long coastal enclave since the start of Operation Protective Edge.

Israel contends that many of the casualties are members of Hamas and other terror groups. “When houses are used for military purposes, they may become legitimate military targets under international law,” the army additionally said in a statement released Thursday.

However, “Even when a house is considered a lawful military target, the IDF makes great efforts to minimize potential harm to the surrounding civilian population,” the army said.

“The IDF may use real-time visual coverage in order to assess the civilian presence at a target,” the statement said. “The IDF also carefully chooses weaponry and ammunition that will help to minimize any harm to civilians. In certain instances, the IDF also provides advance warning before striking a target,” according to the statement.

“Many of the IDF’s efforts in this regard go beyond its legal obligations and the accepted practice of other militaries operating in urban areas,” the statement read.


  • As for 100dreds of years Jews and Palestinians – Christians ,Muslims, Druzes etc have lived together and more or less tolerated each other, notwithstanding often conflicting styles of life, but as, after the Ottoman rule was broken, Western powers took over to befriend corrupt and tyrannical local rulers as to gain their own influence in the Orient and the Jew, talking about freedom and equality for man (one of the idealistic ideas of the French revolution which was done away with at the Congress of Vienna) and so a problem to the Western rulers, it didn’t take long ere the ignorant Arabic population was brainwashed to become a Jew hater. And where the Jew in the West managed to introduce Socialism and the Jew in the East managed to dry the swamps and made desserts bloom, the world-powers lost more and more ground of purpose in life and the sense of moral behaviour and now desperately is trying to regain its former colonial power by trying to lure the innocent world-burgher into believing that salvation comes with the destruction of the Jews and Israel. I got news for you greedy Jew-haters; it’s too late already as China and India are already taking over the influence in your former colonies, and as tablets and smart-phones make the former primitive and ignorant rest of your stool-pigeons aware of your lies and selfish intentions.

    • Hartley Macklin

      No the Jews did not live safely during the Ottoman period. There were multiple attacks against them, by muslims. Muslims kept viewing Jews as dhimmi’s. The 1517 Hebron pogrom, 1517 Safed pogrom, 1660 destruction of Tiberias, 1660 destruction of Safed, 1834 Safed pogrom, 1838 Druze massacre of Safed, Aleppo Massacre (1850),Nebi Musa riots, Battle of Tel Hai.

  • Israel should call attention to the fact that using civilians as human shields is a war crime and give attention to cases in which Hamas’ calls to civilians to “protect” its facilities has resulted in civilian casualties. Any deaths in these circumstances should be attributed to Hamas.

    Israel should also announce that if, or more likely when, it enters Gaza on the ground, the policy will be to detonate rockets and missiles where they are found. The damage to hospitals, schools, mosques, and homes that will result should be laid at Hamas’ door.

  • It’s impressive that the UN is noticing the warning by the IDF and that Hamas is using human shields.

    • did you actually read the document?

      The document states that ” concern that no effective prior warning was provided to the affected families” and doesn’t mention shields or people being urged to stay (unless it is termed differently in the document).

      • Did YOU read it?

        “In most cases, prior to the attacks, residents have been warned to leave, either via phone calls by the Israel military or by the firing of warning missiles.”

  • Daniel Sussman

    This article is heavily misleading. While it is true that the UN report states “In most cases, prior to the attacks, residents have been warned to
    leave, either via phone calls by the Israel military or by the firing of warning missiles.” The report goes on to say “At least 35 homes were reportedly targeted and destroyed, causing the majority of civilian
    casualties. Initial information on some of these cases raises the concern that no effective
    prior warning was provided to the affected families.” A fact blatantly omitted by the journalist.

    • No, the journalist ignored the blatant *bias* of that statement. Why is it assumed that people didn’t leave because “they got no warning”? There is more proof that they stayed at the point of a Hamas gun. You can go to YouTube & look up a number of videos of terrorist leaders bragging about how they will win the war through the use of human shields!

      Your post is proof positive that the IDF truly is the most moral army in the world: no other army in the world does what Israel does to minimize civilian casualties, no other is as successful as the IDF is, and so people decide that for the IDF – & the IDF alone! – the standards will be raised, & the IDF take the blame if things even appear to fall short of them! The proof? Can you imagine us having a conversation about how the US failed to contact its targets before it shot at them…?

  • I suspect that Hamas is upset that the casualties haven’t been higher, as “disproportionality” is their favorite propaganda gambit.

    Also, how many of the deaths in Gaza were due to “militant” rockets misfiring / exploding inside Gaza? Estimates of “own goals” I have seen range from 15% to 30%.

  • The IDF is controlled by corrupt leftist traitors, who value money & power more than millions of Jewish lives.

    • Regardless of that emotional statements truth or not . IDF is the only thing standing between the Jewish people and the extermination and bloodbath that many Arab groups are openly calling for

    • Aaaaaaaaaaaaaamen.

    • What about the lives of those innocent kids in Palestine!! what about the life of that mother who had to watch his small kid being ruptured into pieces? You have an answer to that, or you are too powerful to forget humanity

      • There is no Palestine – which some of you seem to forget. But if you mean Gaza,ask Hamas; they’re the ones responsible for them. Ask them where their humanity is, and why they keep up their heinous activities.

    • The IDF is controlled by no such thing. Their only interest is to defend their people from malicious and unprovoked terrorist attacks. It has nothing at all to do with with traitors (to who?) or power or money and everything to do with saving innocent lives.

  • Media Bias – promoting terrorism – Lives are at stake
    It is interesting to note that all the major TV and media show the damage in Gaza and interview Arab-Palestinians who are part of Hamas a terrorist organization affiliated with those terrorists that hijacked 4 Airliners that blew up the Twin Towers World Trade Center in 9.11 2001 and killed 3000 Americans. One Airliner Crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia and one Airliner was forced to crash in Pennsylvania by the passengers, avoiding a crash on the White House in Washington D.C. How many more American lives and other innocents must be sacrificed before you wake up to the increasing danger to world peace.
    They are not telling that it is Hamas-Gaza a terrorist organization that is bombarding Israel with 100’s of missiles daily
    It is only Israel responding and defending itself and protecting its population from the bullies Hamas in Gaza.
    The atrocities committed by Hamas and other terrorist organization must not be condoned or placated by anybody.
    If the Media is looking for sensationalism let them look elsewhere – their favorable reports on the terrorists only breeds more terror and endanger the whole world. This is exactly what the terrorists want is your coverage, they lie, they cheat, they display to the world false pictures from other conflicts in order to buy the worlds sympathy.
    I assure you it will not work. There are powers in the world who fight terrorism with every breath and resource that is available to them. – NEVER AGAIN – Americans and the world must not tolerate terrorism at all costs or we are doomed. I would like to see if the reporter and his family were being attacked daily by missiles, how would they react. I can assure you, they would yell and scream, how come our government is not protecting us.
    This is a very irresponsible Media which must be strongly reprimanded if not fired and sanctioned.
    I think the advertisers should be notified and advised to cut off advertising and revenues to such Media.
    I urge you to start practicing responsible accurate and unbiased-balanced Journalism. Lives are at stake.
    YJ Draiman

  • Lauren Goldman

    If civilians choose to ‘martyr’ themselves to protect military liabilities, that is their choice. The IDF goes far beyond the norm to prevent civilian casualties. I would hope that the U.N. document will educate those who wring their hands about the IDF’s ‘indiscriminate’ bombing of innocent civilians. It will be interesting to see how the New York Times spins this in favor of the ‘palestinians’.

  • Winning a war with terorists is possible only by terorizing the terorists and its supporters.

  • Naturally ‘leadership’ calls on its citizens to be human shields. They are WAY too cowardly to set the example, no, dying is for the ‘little people,’ including children. It is easy to do this when you have fled to safety.

  • Jeff Blankfort

    Under the circumstances, it is hoped that Israelis receive the same humane warnings before their homes are blown to bits.

  • Thank you for sharing this article with your readers.

  • Israel should immediately publicly introduce and broadcast a new and more accurate accounting vocabulary when dealing with reported Palestinian causalities:

    NOT militants….BUT Hamas Terrorists

    NOT civilians …..BUT Terror Support Volunteers ( those that volunteer as human shields: those that disregard alerts to evacuate, etc,)

    BUT Involuntary Human shields ( those under 12 who were not evacuated after an alert: those that are present at an Hamas launch,storage or operations site; etc)

    “Civilians “should be used only for those who happen to be innocently close by.

    Media should be bombarded with corrections if they do not include this accounting in their reports.

  • No other military on earth calls ahead to warn its enemies when bombing will occur. The Palestinian never warn the Israelis when they are sending missiles, kidnappers or suicide bombers.

    With all these precautions, the Israelis are still vilified around the world. Proves that hypocrisy and Anti-Semitism is alive and well in this sorry world.

  • Israel’s desire to minimize civilian Arab casualties is proof that Israel is a just and moral country. Conversely, Hamas-occupied Gaza is an evil entity that will need to be liberated by invasion.

  • How much longer do you think you can get away with your whitewash and lies? People are not entirely stupid.

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