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

Addressing an audience in New York on November 6, 2014, the highest ranking officer in the U.S. military, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties and collateral damage during its Operation Protective Edge in July-August 2014. He also related that the Pentagon had sent a team to see what lessons could be learned from the operation.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised Israel for its efforts to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza.

This chapter contains 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 borne in mind that during this time the rulers of Gaza were engaged in a parallel effort to maximize the exposure of their own civilians to the dangers of the conflict (as described elsewhere in this study).

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