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Operation Cast Lead:
Examples of IDF Warnings to Gaza Civilians


Operation Cast Lead: Table of Contents | Background & Overview | Goldstone Report


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On the basis of the principle that the IDF has no quarrel with Gaza’s civilian population who are being used as a human shield by the Hamas terrorists, the IDF has been transmitting announcements and warnings to the residents of the Gaza Strip. These announcements are aimed at reducing the risk of injury to uninvolved civilians by prior announcement of the IDF's intent to attack, instructing residents to evacuate the areas where terrorists or terror infrastructure are to be found.

To make sure these warnings reach the residents, the IDF has used different measures: dropping leaflets, making phone calls, and commandeering local radio and TV stations.

The main messages include:

  • Calls to evacuate buildings where weapons are stored and/or where tunnels have been dug (since December 27)
  • Instructions to move to the center of towns (as of January 3)
  • Instructions to residents to listen to IDF advisories and avoid interaction with terrorist elements

These messages were conveyed by several means:

1. Dropping leaflets:

  • On December 28, 300,000 leaflets were dropped throughout the entire Gaza Strip
  • On December 29, 80,000 leaflets were dropped in Rafah
  • On January 3, 300,000 leaflets were dropped in the entire Gaza Strip, especially in the northern and eastern parts
  • On January 5, 300,000 leaflets were droopped in Gaza City, Khan Yunis and Rafah.

Leaflet (December 28, 2008):

الى سكان قطاع غزة

جيش الدفاع الاسرائيلي يعمل ضد الحركات والعناصر الذين يقومون باعمال ارهابية ضد مواطني دولة اسرائيل.
جيش الدفاع الاسرائيلي سيضرب ويدمر كل مبنى وموقع يوجد فيه ذخيرة وعتاد عسكري.
ابتداء من نشر هذا البيان, كل من توجد ذخيرة وعتاد عسكري في بيته فهو معرض للخطر وعليه مغادرة المكان كي يحافظ على حياته وحياة اسرته.
وقد اعذر من انذر.
قيادة جيش الدفاع الإسرائيلي

Translation:

To the residents of the Gaza Strip
The IDF will act against any movements and elements conducting terrorist activities against the residents of the State of Israel.
The IDF will hit and destroy any building or site containing ammunition and weapons.
As of the publication of this announcement, anyone having ammunition and/or weapons in his home is risking his life and must leave the place for the safety of his own life and that of his family.
You have been warned.

IDF Command

2. Phone calls

  • On December 27, around 20,000 phone calls were made throuthout the entire Gaza Strip
  • On December 29, around 10,000 phone calls were made to the residents of Rafah

Phone Message (December 27, 2008)

The IDF will hit and destroy any site or building containing ammunition or weapons.
As of the publication of this announcement, the life of anyone in whose home ammunition and weapons are to be found is in danger, and he must leave the place for the sake of his own safety and that of his family.

IDF Command

3. Breaking into local radio transmissions

(Radio Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Radio and Radio PFLP)

a. Specific local announcements

Radio Announcement (December 29, 2008)

To the residents of Rafah:
A military announcement -
The IDF will act against any organizations and elements carrying out terrorist activities against the residents of the State of Israel.
The IDF will hit and destroy any building or site containing ammunition, weapons or tunnels.
As of the issuing of this announcement, anyone having ammunition and/or weapons or a tunnel in his home is risking his life and must leave the place for his own safety and that of his family.
You have been warned.

IDF Command

Radio Announcement (January 3, 2009)

Military announcement
To all residents of the area
For your own safety, you are required to leave your homes immediately and move to the city centers.
 
IDF Command

Israeli TV also reported that minutes before the targeted killing of a Hamas terrorist in his apartment or home, all the neighbors get a phone call warning them to get out of the area. Some of the defiant ones go to the roof hoping to dissuade the IDF from firing at which point a small, harmless missile is fired to a corner of the roof. This convinces the defiant to get away. Then and only then is the hit performed.


Sources: Embassy of Israel

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