Why Is the Number of Israeli Casualties So Low?

Tags: Emergency Situation Instructor, Home Front COmmand, Iron Dome, Pillar of Defense, Rockets, Terror
Categories : Gaza, IDF Units, Inside the IDF, Operation Room, Security Issues, Technology

In response to incessant rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, the IDF has launched a widespread campaign against terror targets in Gaza. The operation, called Pillar of Defense, has two main goals: to protect Israeli civilians and to cripple the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

One of the most popular yet misleading arguments made is that Israel is not actually under attack, as proven by the low number of Israeli casualties (http://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/269693678216429568) .

“If Gaza was truly a threat,” goes the reasoning, “there would be more Israeli casualties. Just like there are in Gaza.”

The truth of the matter is that since the start of the operation, more than 650 rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel (

) .

Since November 14 and the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, Hamas and other terrorists organisations in the Gaza Strip have targeted Israel’s largest population. Using the Iranian long-range rocket, Fajr-5 (

) , terrorists fired rockets at Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem (http://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/269457694774132736) . These attacks mean that 3.5 million Israelis are under the threat of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

So, if such a large number of rockets hit a limited area which houses over 3.5 million residents, how come the number of Israeli civilian casualties is so low?

Preventative strikes on terrorists and weapon manufacturing sites in Gaza:
A well-known tactic of the Israeli Air Force (http://www.idfblog.com/category/press-releases/airforce/) is to thwart terror attacks by striking preemptively at a site where terrorists are in the act of launching rockets. This is important, because if there is no absolute certainty that these are terrorists actively harming Israel, the strike is aborted even at the last minute. Just like in this video:

Since the start from the operation, the IDF has targeted more than 1,300 terror sites in the Gaza Strip, thwarting tens of rocket-launching attempts and targeting countless rocket launching sites. These strikes caused severe damage to terror groups’ arsenal and drastically reduced the threat posed to Israeli civilians, by simple elimination.

Read more: Israeli Air Force: Bombing Gaza or Pinpoint Strikes? (http://www.idfblog.com/2012/03/11/bombing-gaza-or-pinpoint-strikes/) The Iron Dome System: groundbreaking active defense.
A crucial defense since its deployment, the Iron Dome system (http://www.idfblog.com/2012/03/06/joint-us-israel/) is proving invaluable when countering the rocket threat. Its goal: to shoot down rockets about to hit major population centers. Some rockets land in open areas and pose little threat, but many others hit cities and towns. It’s these rockets the Iron Dome system intercepts these rockets, calculating their trajectory and neutralizing them before they cause damage.

Since the beginning of the operation, the Iron Dome System has intercepted over 340 rockets aimed directly at Israeli civilians, including rockets towards the Tel-Aviv area. That’s more than an 80% success rate. That’s active defense.


The readiness of the Israeli Home Front:
This isn’t Israel’s first time dealing with aggression from Gaza. In fact, over the last 12 years, more than 12,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza (

) to run to the nearest bomb shelter every time a rocket falls.

Many technologies have already been developed to help Israelis deal with the threat, such as installing a bomb-proof room in every house (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkhav_Mugan) , or the implementation of the Red Color alarm system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Color) .

To help civilians be as safe as possible, in the past few days dozens of Home Front Command instructors visit shopping centers, schools and nursing homes throughout the country, explaining what to do in case of a rocket attack (

) .


All together, the low number of injured Israelis in the recent escalation wasn’t due to any humane gestures made by the terror organizations (http://www.idfblog.com/hamas/) , or because they’re not really a threat–it was because the IDF makes a point of differentiating between civilians and soldiers, and keeping the civilians safe.


7 thoughts on “Why Is the Number of Israeli Casualties So Low?

  1. There’s also the fact that Hamas has a hard time getting munitions for their rockets. The last time there was a Gaza offensive, Israel had lost zero civilians, and responded to the attacks by killing several thousand Gaza residents.


    1. Sorry for the late reply william, I’ve been having computer issues, Can you please provide specific links to that information, because to my knowledge and documented, their have been over 1800 rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, and Israel has sent less the 700 back. But I will be more than happy to take a look at your data, and perhaps the source πŸ™‚ Gotta make sure we get it right, that’s first and formost *the truth* πŸ™‚


      1. Actually, I seem to have it wrong. Three Israeli civilians were killed, but I can’t determine if those deaths happened before or during the IDF offensive. The report I remember hearing at the time said no Israeli civilians had died as a result of rocket fire from the Gaza strip prior to the IDF’s offensive. However, that is not confirmed here. What is confirmed is the immense disparity between civilian casualties, and the fact that the IDF had a hard distinguishing between combatants and civilians on the Gazan side.

        Here is the source on total casualties, as complied by the UN, IDF and the NGO B’Tselem,


        1. Actually they don’t have a hard time distinguishing at all. That’s why they send out millions of leaflets stating “we’re going to bomb now, if you’re a civilian you should probably get out of the area” Because the Hamas ( who also manipulates the press incredibly ) does things like store munitions in the basement of an Apartment Building. They use Civilians as Human Shields. This has been going on for years and years.

          Your first document from the UN Humanitarian Coordinator is dated 3-5 February 2009 at 1700 hours. I posted a few days ago the actual deposition of the British Commander, and his UN Watch Statement delivered to the UN that day: There is a Difference between Palestine and the Hamas, unfortunately that difference is very hard to distinguish at times.

          from your second link:
          “It must be stressed that the fighting took place in a complex battlefield, defined by the Hamas terror organization itself. The Hamas terror organization placed the primary fighting scene at the heart of civilian neighborhoods as it booby-trapped homes, fired from schools, and used civilians as human shields,” the statement continued.

          The IDF said it took “extensive measures” to avoid striking noncombatants. The steps included issuing warnings via leaflets, broadcast warnings in Palestinian media outlets, and phone calls to homes in the conflict zone.

          “The procedure of making use of warning shots and the briefing of commanders to take extra precautions in populated areas were also among the measures taken by the IDF,” the army said.

          For further statement please watch the video where the British Commander in your first referenced document gives his report to the United Nations:

          There’s some more information I want to give to you, but I have to get to work again, but I will give you more data. And please keep only this in mind. “If someone was bombing your town, your country, would you bother with telling them when and where you were going to bomb them? would you just turn the other cheek and when you did deliver these leaflets and flyers and make these phone calls letting the people ‘civilians’ know they were going to be bombing in that region on that day, why did the Palestinian government not evacuate their people, they had sometimes DAYS before the actual bombing. Would either of our governments have let us get bombed or would they have evacuated the area?

          The United Nations is a governing body and is not perfect and they have a very very long history of persecuting Israel. I see this morning, they even got Stevie Wonder to cancel his performance for the IDF, that’s low. That’s really low. I’ll be back with more data πŸ™‚


          1. That’s precisely what I was saying, and what the report I sent you said, that the distinction is difficult to make. Especially when the ground forces are moving in and bombings are taking place in heavily populated areas. Simply dropping leaflets doesn’t show an ability to make a distinction, if anything it shows that the IDF places responsibility to limit civilian casualties on the Gaza people themselves.

            Second, do you not find the “human shield” argument just a bit transparent? Armies have been using that excuse since the beginning of time to justify high civilian death tolls, saying “we can’t help it if the troops choose to embed in civilian areas”. It’s precisely what the Germans did in WWI when invading Belgium and they needed to expedite things, they opened fire on civilians and claimed they had no choice since Belgian troops were firing from civilian areas. That remains a contested claim to this day.

            And what if the people you are fighting are not armies, just desperate people with guns? And is it not a coincidence that in every single campaign, into the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Lebanon, that Israel keeps saying that every incident involving the deaths of civilians was due to the enemy using them as shields or “boobytrapping” buildings? Has their been any third party confirmation of this at all or is this just a myth the IDF has spawned that we keep believing? And how is it even a justification when it doesn’t stop the IDF in the first place?

            Lastly, you say the UN “persecutes” Israel. How? By insisting it show restraint or by taking a neutral stance? That’s not persecution, that’s failure to side with any one party and that’s not the same. If anything, its indicative of the hardline stance Israel has always taken in these matters, which is part of why the conflict is ongoing.

            Sorry, I got a little soap-boxy there, but I can tell you’re siding with Israel on this matter. I don’t support Hamas or Hezbollah but I do question what I see as the one-sided appraisal we tend to take over here in the west. It seems to me that part of why there is no solution for peace is the existence of intractable positions. I’m sure you’ll have some reading material for me soon πŸ˜‰


            1. William, I am so very glad you chose to speak up, you make me smile. Your comments show both your intelligence with history and your critical thinking skills. It probably does sound like I am siding with Israel.
              Before I forget as a side note yes, I’ll have reading material but not today as it’s late and I am still working on the political issues, would you like to chime in on that one, I could use someone to knock some ideas around with πŸ˜‰ And soap-boxy is good, shows passion and commitment to reaching the truth, that’s what it’s all about πŸ™‚

              I think my leaning toward Israel is two-fold. 1. When the UN refused the UN-Watch Committee’s statement, refused to acknowledge it, and therefore having it struck from the official record. Since it was not in the record, there was no opposition statement. I agree he was a little more than heavy-handed with his statements but he was talking about the Abuse of Women and Children, of the Leader of Iran at the time murdering a 7 year old child as the child sat in a car. He just walked up and shot the boy.

              I am very surprised with the UN’s approval, after just weeks ago reading how appalled the Human Rights Commission was in their findings. The Abuse of women, Human Slavery (Human Trafficking ) and most especially the use of Terrorism and perhaps non-sanctioned but non-opposed Hamas and Hezbollah ( recognized terrorist organizations ) being a part of Gaza alone is well, almost absurd to me.

              But, just wanted to write a quick reply so you know I’d seen this and will reply in kind soon πŸ™‚
              Thank you again!!


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