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Operation Pillar of Cloud

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Operation Pillar of Cloud

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Template:infobox military conflict

Operation Pillar of Cloud[1] (Template:lang-he-n, Amúd Anán) or Operation Pillar of Defense is an Israel Defense Forces operation in the Gaza Strip, officially launched on 14 November 2012 with the killing of Ahmed Jabari, chief of the Gaza military wing of Hamas.[2][3][4] The stated aims of the operation, which began after Gaza militants fired over 100 rockets at Israeli cities and towns over the course of several days, are to halt the rocket attacks originating from the Gaza Strip[5] and to disrupt the capabilities of militant organizations.[6]

During the operation, the IDF has targeted more than 800 sites,[7] including dozens of rocket launching pads, weapons depots, and facilities of the Hamas authority in Gaza.[8][9] At least 48 Palestinians,[10] 22 of them militants and 26 of them civilians (including 10 children), have been killed by the strikes.[11] Additionally, one man was publicly executed by Hamas for alleged collaboration with Israel.[12] The Hamas Health Ministry estimates that more than 450 people have been wounded.[13]

During the operation, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad further intensified their rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns, in an offensive code named Operation Sajil Stones (Arabic: حجارة سجيل, Hijarat Sajil)[14] by Hamas and Operation Blue Sky (Arabic: السماء الزرقاء, As-samaa' Az-zarqa' )[15] by the PIJ. The militant groups fired over 740[16] Iranian Fajr-5, Russian Grad rockets, Qassams and mortars into Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon and other population centers. Three Israeli civilians were killed in a direct hit on a home in Kiryat Malachi,[2] and rockets hit Tel Aviv for the first time since the 1991 Gulf War.[17] By 15 November, 70 Israelis had been injured in rocket attacks.[18] Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted at least 243 rockets.[19]

The European Union, United States, United Kingdom, France and other Western countries condemned the Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel and/or expressed support for Israel's right to defend its citizens.[20][21] Iran, Egypt, Turkey and several other Arab and Muslim countries condemned the Israeli operation.[22][23][24][25] Russia, China[26] expressed neutralTemplate:cn positions. The United Nations Security Council held an emergency session on the situation but did not reach a decision.[27]

There have been ongoing negotiations between Hamas and Israel toward a ceasefire brokered by Egypt.[28]


Template:Further Israel and the Hamas are in an ongoing dispute, following the Israeli disengagement plan and the Hamas armed coup in Gaza Strip. Hamas has demanded that Israel end the naval blockade of Gaza's coastline as one of the conditions for a truce with Israel.[29] The United States, United Nations and Arab League consider Israel to be an occupying power in Gaza, until a broader Israeli-Palestinian Agreement is reached.[30] While United States, the European Union, Canada and Japan consider Hamas a terrorist organization,[31] Norway,[32] Russia[33] and Turkey[34] do not.

In late 2008 and early 2009 a three-week armed conflict (the "Gaza War") took place, with Israel's stated aim to stop rocket fire into Israel, after 2378[35][36][37] rockets and mortars were launched from Gaza into Israel over an eleven month period. In the aftermath of Israel's operation, rocket attacks in 2009 plummeted to 190[38] in all. Tensions between Israel and the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip continued, as the two sides experienced periodic fighting, and rocket fire has been on a steady rise: 375[39][40] rocket attacks in 2011 and 797[41] attacks in 2012 (up to November 13).

Israel will hold elections for the Knesset on 22 January 2013, and some sources (including Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan[42]) suggest the operation was timed to improve the current government's electoral prospects.[43][44][45][46] Israel denies that the operation is related to the elections.[47]

Pre-operation events[edit]

According to the Israel Security Agency, rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel continually throughout 2012. The agency recorded 116 rockets and 55 mortar shells fired against Israel in October.[48] In a major escalation on 24 October, Gazans fired 80 rockets at Israel in a 24-hour period. Israel returned fire at launching sites. 2 Israelis were wounded in rocket fire and 3 Palestinians were killed by airstrikes.[49][50][51][52] There were no more casualties on either side until 2 November.

On 2 November a 22-year-old Palestinian was seriously wounded by Israeli tank fire on the central Gaza Strip. [53] On 5 November, Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed 20-year-old Palestinian who approached a fence near Gaza's side of the border with Israel, reportedly ignoring warning shots and instructions to leave the area. He reportedly suffered from learning difficulties.[54][55][56][57] On 5 November a Palestinian road side bomb exploded and Israeli soldiers were injured. On 8 November, the IDF made a short-range incursion into Gaza after finding more bombs along the border, leading to a gunfight with the Popular Resistance Committees.[58] During the clash, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was killed according to Palestinians "by machine-gun fire, either from IDF helicopters or tanks that took part in the incident."[59][60] Later that day, Palestinian militants detonated an explosives-packed tunnel they had dug on the border, wounding four Israeli soldiers.[61][62][60] Hamas' military wing claimed responsibility for the blast, stating that it was in response to the killing of the boy.[63]

Gaza militants then fired at least 30 rockets and several mortar shells into southern Israel, causing the Color Red siren to sound in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gan Yavne and surrounding areas causing Israelis within seven kilometers of the Gaza Strip to remain near protected areas. The Gan Yavne regional council canceled school because of the rocket barrage.[58][64] According to Arutz Sheva, 2 Qassam rockets were fired into Israel on 9 November, exploding in open ground.[65]

File:Gaza rocket November 2012.PNG
A rocket fired from the Gaza strip in mid-November 2012

On 10 November, militants fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF Jeep on routine patrol near Israel's side of the border, wounding four soldiers, one of whom is in critical condition.[66][62][67][68][69] The IDF shelled the source of the fire and pre-chosen targets in the Sa'ajiya area. Hamas spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said that four teenagers were killed.[70][68] Militants then fired at least 30 rockets and several mortars into Israel, prompting Israelis in the area to seek shelter.[58][71]

The sides continued to exchange fire for several days after the incident. Palestinian militants fired more than 100 rockets, striking homes in Israeli cities, one landing near a school. Several Israelis were wounded by shrapnel in a barrage designed to coincide with the morning commute to work. Two people were injured when their car sustained a direct hit.[67][72] Schools across southern Israel were closed. The mayor of Beersheba, Ruvik Danilovich, explained, "we have experienced hits on our education institutions in the past ... 40,000 children will remain at home today because of the attack that hit us out of the blue."[73] Israel carried out further airstrikes in Gaza. Six Palestinian militants were killed, including one militant belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.[68]

In the days before the operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that "Israel's reaction will come at the appropriate time." However, following a cabinet meeting in the morning before the operation, Minister Benny Begin said that "the current exchange of hostilities seems to be over". According to one Israeli analyst, these mixed messages, the expected diplomatic repercussions from Egypt and the risks of a war on the eve of the Israeli elections are three factors designed to foster a laissez-faire atmosphere for Gaza's Palestinian leaders.Template:vague[74]

On 12 November, Hamas and PIJ officials indicated a willingness to discuss a ceasefire. A PIJ spokesman said, "The ball is in Israel's court. The resistance factions will observe Israel's behavior on the ground and will act accordingly." However, the Israeli military claims Palestinians fired 12 rockets on 12 November.[75] A factory and a house was hit, and three civilians were wounded.[76] Israel asked the UN Security Council to condemn the rocket attacks, with Barak saying that Israel "would not accept the harm to daily life of our civilians".[75][77]

An Israeli peace activist, Gershon Baskin, who was a mediator between Israel and Hamas in the negotiations that resulted in the release of Gilad Shalit, reported that hours before the strike that killed Ahmed Jabari, he received a draft of a permanent truce agreement between Israel and Hamas.[78][79][80]

The operation[edit]

14 November[edit]

Israeli apartment building in Kiryat Malakhi hit by rockets
File:Burning car in Gaza after Israeli strike 2012.PNG
A burning car in Gaza after Israeli airstrikes

The operation began about 16h (Israel time) with an airstrike targeting Ahmed Jabari, chief of Hamas's military wing.[81] Osama Hamdan, a Hamas representative in Lebanon, said the airstrike also killed Jabari's son. The IDF released a video of this airstrike.[82] On the same day, an Israeli round hit the home of Jihad Mishrawi, a BBC Arabic video editor residing in Gaza. The airstrike killed his 11-month old son Omar, and his sister in law. Mishrawi told the BBC Middle East bureau chief that there had been no fighting in his residential neighbourhood at the time of the attack.[83]

The IDF also struck against 20 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, including underground rocket launchers and an ammunition warehouse stocking Iranian-made, long-range Fajr-5 missiles.[84] The IDF said that many of the targeted weapon stashes were in residential areas and evidenced "the pattern of Hamas to use the population in Gaza as human shields." Israel claims to have destroyed most of this long-range capability.[85] An IDF spokesman said that the goal of the operation is to "bring back quiet to southern Israel, and... to strike at terror organizations."[85] At the same time, Israeli spokespersons said that it would try "to avoid civilian casualties."[86]

Gazan militants continued to fire rockets towards the Israeli cities of Beersheba, Ashdod, Ofakim and the Shaar Hanegev and Eshkol Regional Council. The Iron Dome missile defense system made 130 interceptions.[87] About 55 rockets were launched on the evening of 14 November, including a Grad rocket fired in the direction of the Negev Nuclear Research Center near Dimona.[88] On the night of 14 November, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Israeli cabinet had authorized a partial call-up of reservists in case they were needed for a large ground-based operation.[89]

15 November[edit]

Rising smoke in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi after it was hit by rockets from Gaza militants

On 15 November, Thirteen Israelis were treated for injuries suffered during the morning. Three Israelis, a man and two women, were killed when a rocket struck a four-storey building in Kiryat Malachi.[90]Magen David Adom paramedics treated five wounded people at the scene, including a 11-month-old child who was critically injured. A further five missiles were fired at the town as emergency services attempted to rescue those trapped inside the debris. A residence in Ashdod and a school in Ofakim were struck by rockets.[91]

Israel put all of its communities with less than 15sec of warning from mortar/rocket attack in lockdown and closed all schools in less than 60sec warning radius.[92] The Israeli air force distributed leaflets over Gaza telling residents to keep a distance from away from Hamas facilities and their forces.[93]

Two Fajr rockets landed in the suburbs of Tel Aviv metropolis. No injuries were reported. This was the first time that Gush Dan has been targeted by missiles since the Persian Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein launched a number of Scud missiles at Israel.[94] On the night of 15 November, the Israeli Air Force launched a series of 70 bombing runs to destroy what it said were underground medium-range rocket launchers.[95] Palestinian sources said that 15 people were killed in Gaza as a result of the IAF strikes, including five militants and two children during the airstrikes.[96][97][98]

16 November[edit]

A rocket struck a home in Ashdod wounding five Israeli civilians.[99] The prime minister of Egypt, Hisham Qandil, paid a visit to the Gaza Strip on 16 November. His official purpose of the visit was to "show solidarity with the Palestinian people." He arranged for a 3-hour ceasefire to accommodate his visit.[100] About 50 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip during this window hitting sites in southern Israel. Hamas argued that the IDF bombed a Hamas commander's house in Gaza during the ceasefire,[101] something the IDF strongly denied, and accused Hamas of violating the cease fire.[102][103]

Through the evening of 16 November, around 500 rockets were fired from Gaza. Iron Dome intercepted 184 of these. Israel at this point had bombed about 500 targets in Gaza.[9] Palestinan militants fired a rocket aimed at Jerusalem setting off air raid sirens in the city.[104] Hamas claimed that its militants have downed an Israeli F-16 fighter.[105]

Also that evening, the Israeli cabinet approved expanding the cap on reservist call-ups from 30,000 to 75,000.[106] Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the government was not considering an overthrow of the Hamas-led government in Gaza.[106]

17 November[edit]

Iron Dome intercepting a rocket above populated Israeli area during the fourth day of the operation

The IDF broadened its targets in the offensive from military targets to include civilian political infrastructure,[107] with an Israeli air strike destroying the office building of the Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza. 30 people were rescued from the rubble of the building.[108] Tunisian foreign minister Rafik Abdessalem visited Gaza, and called on the world to stop Israel's "blatant aggression", saying it was "no longer acceptable or legal by any standards".[109]

The World Health Organization reported that "Gaza hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties from Israel's bombings and face critical shortages of drugs and medical supplies." According to the Health Ministry officials in Gaza "382 people have been injured - 245 adults and 137 children."[110] Israel's Defense Ministry announced it will open the Kerem Shalom border crossing to allow civilian supplies to reach Gaza.[111] According to Magen David Adom, Palestinian rocket attacks injured sixteen Israelis and twenty Israelis have been treated for shock.[112]

According to CNN, the Israeli government is moving tanks and soldiers in preparation for what could be a ground invasion of Gaza. [113] In the West Bank, several demonstrations in support of Gaza led to dozens of protesters injured and several arrested by Israeli forces.[114]

18 November[edit]

Israel continued to bombard the Gaza Strip, and, for the first time, Israeli ships fired shells too. A media tower was hit, with reports of 3 or 6 injured Palestinian journalists. The tower contained the offices of Al-Quds TV, Sky News, Press TV[115], ARD, Kuwait TV, RAI and ITN, and had previously also been used by BBC.[116][117] Another air strike killed two infants from the same family, according to local medics.[116]

Rockets were launched from Gaza towards Tel-Aviv, which was intercepted by Tel Aviv's iron dome.[118] According to Hamas television, the rockets were launched by the Qassam Brigades.

A rocket also struck a house in Ashkelon.[119]


According to Palestinian officials, 48 Palestinians have been killed to date,[10] 22 of them militants and 25 civilians, among them a pregnant woman and 10 children.[120][121][10] The most notable Palestinian casualty has been Ahmed Jabari, a commander in Hamas.

According to Israeli authorities, three Israeli civilians, two men and one pregnant woman, have also been killed.[122][123]

Social media and Internet[edit]

The IDF made widespread use of Twitter and a liveblog to give an up-to-date account of its operations. The military wing of Hamas also made use of Twitter, publicising its rocket and mortar attacks and tweeting when Israeli casualties were reported.[124][125] Foreign Policy magazine labeled this effort a "milestone in military communications."[126][125] Twitter had previously been used to present information regarding military engagements by both the Kenya Defence Forces and Al Shabaab during the KDF's operation against Al Shabaab in Somalia in 2011.[127][128][129] The IDF's Twitter account gained more than 50,000 new followers in 24 hours.[130]

Anonymous attacked many Israeli websites in response to the IDF offensive in Gaza and claims to have taken down at least 50 sites.[131] Many of the websites were replaced with messages condemning the Israeli campaign and expressing support for the citizens of Gaza.[132] Hackers from Kuwait disrupted the website of Likud MK Danny Danon, who had posted an online petition urging the government of Israel to cease providing the Gaza Strip with electricity.[133]

Allegations of Hamas disinformation[edit]

Hamas were accused of fabricating achievements and using pictures of children that have been injured or killed in Syria and presenting them in the social media as Palestinian dead. One of its tweets about the Israeli strikes contained a picture of a dead girl that previously been posted on the Syrians & Friends Facebook page in October.[134][135][136][137] Another photo of explosions that was uploaded to the Facebook page affiliated with Hamas appeared to be digitally altered.[124] There were suggestions that a Gazan man had feigned injury, being seen carried by Palestinians in apparent discomfort, and yet moments later walking on his own.[138][139][140][141][142]

Hamas warned Gazans civilians from spreading information without a source, claiming that such behavior harmed national security and aided Israel's "psychological war". The Interior Ministry said that it would convey any “needed information” in order to “safeguard the truth. This came after a Gaza resident was publicly shot multiple times in the head for collaborating with Israeli authorities.[143]



Template:country data Israel On the first day of the operation, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu said "Today we sent a clear message to Hamas and other terrorist organisations, and if it becomes necessary we are prepared to expand the operation."[144] According to Haaretz, President Shimon Peres updated US President Barack Obama by phone and told him "Israel does not want an escalation but for the last five days we were under nonstop bombardment, mothers and children cannot sleep in peace at night. There is a limit to what Israel can withstand. Ahmed Jabari was behind many terror activities."[145]

Most Israeli political leaders, including Tzipi Livni, Shelly Yachimovich, Shaul Mofaz, and Naftali Bennett applauded the operation. However, leaders of the left-wing Meretz party voiced opposition on the radio and online.[146] The Israeli Foreign Ministry went into semi-emergency mode, canceling all vacations for its Jerusalem staffers.[145]

22px Hamas Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, called the assassination of Ahmed Jabari an act of war.[147] On 14 November 2012, a statement from the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said "The occupation has opened the gates of hell on itself" and vowed that its militants would "continue the path of resistance".[148] Similarly Abu Ahmed, a spokesman for the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, called the assassination a "declaration of war" pledging a response within hours.[147]
Template:country data Palestinian National Authority Palestinian officials have asked the U.N. Security Council to act to halt Israel's military operation in Gaza.[149] President Mahmoud Abbas cut short a tour of Europe to return to the West Bank.[150]
Template:country data United Nations The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation during the night of 14–15 November and came to no decision. President Pro Tempore of the Council Hardeep Singh Puri subsequently told reporters: “In short, the message that must resonate from this meeting is ‘the violence has to stop’”.[151]
Template:country data European Union EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: "The rocket attacks by Hamas and other factions in Gaza, which began this current crisis are totally unacceptable for any government and must stop. Israel has the right to protect its population from these kind of attacks. I urge Israel to ensure that its response is proportionate."[152]
Template:country data Afghanistan Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned Israel's airstrikes on Gaza and called for an "immediate stop" to violence against civilians.[153]
Template:country data Algeria Algeria strongly condemned, through Ministry of Foreign Affairs' spokesman Amar Belani the "Israeli aggression against Gaza strip" and urged the United Nations Security Council and the international community to assume their responsibilities and "put an end to this dangerous escalation"[154]
Template:country data Australia The Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, stated that "The government condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip and calls on Hamas to cease these immediately. Australia supports Israel's right to defend itself against these indiscriminate attacks. Such attacks on Israel's civilian population are utterly unacceptable."[155]
Template:country data Bahrain Bahrain reiterated its strong condemnation of the "brutal Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip." The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ghanim bin Fadl Al Buainain urged the international community to step up efforts to halt the "repeated and unjustified Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip."[156]
Template:country data Belgium Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders stressed "Israel’s legitimate right to defend its population against these attacks" and called for a "measured response".[157]
Template:country data Bulgaria Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov defended "the right of Israeli citizens to live peacefully" and condemned the rocket attacks by "Hamas and other militant groups". At the same time he urged Israel to take "strict measures to avoid civilian casualties among the Palestinian population" and expressed condolences to the families of victims among the civilian population on both sides.[158]
Template:country data Canada Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, issued a statement stating, “We fundamentally believe that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens from terrorist threats. Far too often, the Jewish people find themselves on the front lines in the struggle against terrorism, the great struggle of our generation. Just last weekend, more than 100 rockets rained down on civilians in southern Israel from positions in the Gaza Strip. Canada condemns the terrorist group Hamas and stands with Israel as it deals with regional threats to peace and security.”[159]
Template:country data China A spokesperson from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China told reporters in a news conference that China expressed "concern" to the clashes and urge all sides, particularly Israel, to display "restraint" and avoid civilian casualties.[160]
Template:country data Czech Republic The Czech Foreign Ministry released a statement saying: "The Czech Republic deeply regrets the loss of civilian lives in Israel and Gaza as well as the current escalation of the situation. The Czech Republic fully recognizes Israel’s right to self defense against rocket barrage carried out by the militant organizations in the Gaza Strip while underlining importance of avoiding civilian casualties. The Czech Republic calls on both sides to refrain from all forms of violence and provocative actions and to bring quiet to the civilian population of both sides.[161]
Template:country data Egypt Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi sated that "The Israelis must realise that this aggression is unacceptable and would only lead to instability in the region" and expressed solidarity with the people of Gaza.[162] The Foreign Ministry of Egypt berated the operation and called on Israel to halt its attacks. According to The Guardian, the chairman of the Freedom and Justice party, Saad El-Katatni, said: "The Egyptian people revolted against injustice and will not accept an attack on Gaza. The brutal aggression on Gaza proves that Israel has not yet learned that Egypt has changed".[163] The recently appointed Egyptian ambassador to Israel, Yasser Reda, has been summoned back to his capital, for briefing, in reaction to the strikes.[164] An Egyptian official reported that Egyptian hospitals are ready to receive wounded Palestinians and that the Rafah Crossing will remain open.[165] Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil visited Gaza on Friday, 16 November.[166]
Template:country data France French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius acknowledged Israel's right to defend itself, but called for restraint.[167] He said:"It would be a catastrophe if there is an escalation in the region. Israel has the right to security, but it won't achieve it through violence".[168] The French Foreign Ministry released a statement saying: "France is exceedingly worried about the deteriorating situation in Gaza and the South of Israel. It is calling on the parties to refrain from any escalation of violence since the Israeli and the Palestinian civilian population would inevitably pay the price." French ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot visited Kiryat Malachi, where three Israeli civilians were killed, and expressed his solidarity with Israeli victims of rocket attacks.[169]
Template:country data Germany German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: "It is obvious that Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself and protect its own citizens against rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip... Now it is necessary that everyone contributes to deescalating the situation. Everybody needs to understand that we need to prevent worse things from happening. We call upon all parties to act wisely and in a deescalating manner."[169] A spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "Hamas in Gaza is responsible for the outbreak of violence. There is no justification for the shooting of rockets at Israel, which has led to massive suffering of the civilian population. The Chancellor urges those responsible in the Gaza Strip to immediately stop firing on Israel. At the same time she calls on the Egyptian government to use its influence on Hamas to limit the violence and bring it to an end."[152]
Template:country data Hungary The Hungarian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that it was "following developments in the Middle East with deep concern, in particular the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israel and the ensuing military response in protection of the population. We regard it as a necessity that the sides exercise self-restraint and desist from the use of violence. We support all efforts which facilitate the termination of fighting."[170]
Template:country data Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast berated the Israeli strikes, saying that they were a "sign of the regime's brutal nature".[171]
Template:country data Iraq Iraq's envoy to the Arab League called on the Arab countries to "use the weapon of oil, with the aim of asserting real pressure on the United States and whoever stands with Israel".[172]
Template:country data Ireland Irish Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore said that "This latest round of violence, which was triggered by sustained rocket attacks on towns in Israel and has escalated with the targeted killing of a senior Hamas leader, could lead to the further death and suffering of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians. The risks from an escalation of violence on either side are all too apparent. I urge both sides to immediately cease these attacks and remove the threat they pose to the lives and safety of innocent people."[173]
Template:country data Italy Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said that Hamas missile attacks posed "serious risks for the population" of Israel and invoked them as justification of Israel's response.[174]
Template:country data Jordan Jordanian Information Minister Sameeh Maaytah said: "Israel's aggressive policy placed the area again in a cycle of violence and instability. This additional hostility... closes all doors on negotiations and the achievement of political arrangements. Israel deprives the Palestinian people of their political and national right to create an independent state... Israel’s aggression needs to be stopped and the Palestinian people need to be protected."[169]
Template:country data Kuwait Foreign minister of Kuwait expressed sorrow for the "bloody developements in Gaza which was in violation of all international laws and agreements".[175]
Template:country data Mauritania The Mauritanian government denounced and condemned the "wicked Israeli attack on the Gaza strip". A communique issued by the Mauritanian Foreign Ministry extended condolences to the families of those killed in the Gaza strip. Nouakchott also urged the UN Security Council "to take up their responsibilities and take the needed measures to protect the Palestinian people against such attacks which jeopardizes security and stability in the region".[176]
Template:country data Netherlands Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said Hamas is guilty for the escalation: "Hamas has attacked Israel by firing rockets over and over again. Doing this makes Hamas the main actor that is guilty for the Israeli reaction". He also said: "Let it be clear that the current created and unbelievable sorrow of the people in the Gaza strip is in first place the result of Hamas' actions". Beside that he stated: "Israel has the full right to defend itself as long as its does this in a proportional way".
Non-Aligned Movement A statement released by Iran, which holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, condemned the Israeli air strikes.[177]
Template:country data Norway Norwegian Foreign Minister said he is worried about the escalation of violence between the Palestinians and Israelis of which leader of the Hamas military Ahmed Jabar was killed. He said the rocket attacks on Israel are "clearly unacceptable" and that Israel has a right to defend itself. He added that reactions must be proportional and must distinguish between combatants and non-combatants.[178], refusing and postponing to say whether the Israeli response indeed was "within acceptable limits".[179]
Template:country data Qatar After a meeting in the Saudi capital between Gulf Cooperation Council Foreign Ministers and their Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss Syrian Civil War, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani told journalists "I condemn in the name of Qatar... This filthy crime must not pass without a punishment. The UN Security Council must shoulder its responsibilities in preserving peace and security in the world."[180]
Template:country data Romania Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlăţean issued a press release stating: "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs... hopes that Hamas will stop its military aggression and that both parties will refrain from escalating the conflict and will show restraint. It is extremely important to avoid escalation of violence, and this can be exploited on multiple fronts by regional groups with different agendas, which don't promote stability and security in the region."[181]
Template:country data Russia Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for end to the violence after a meeting held with Gulf Arab foreign ministers in Riyadh.[182] Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said: "The attacks on southern Israel, as well as Israel’s disproportionate shelling, are entirely unacceptable. We urge all sides to end the military confrontation immediately and to prevent a new round of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip."[169]
Template:country data Syria The Syrian Government called Israel's actions "barbaric, reprehensible crimes" and called on the international community to pressure Israel into halting its strikes.[183]
Template:country data Tunisia Tunisian foreign minister Rafik Abdessalem visited Gaza on 17 November, calling on the world to stop Israel's "blatant aggression" in Gaza, saying it was "no longer acceptable or legal by any standards".[109]
Template:country data Turkey Foreign Ministry of Turkey condemned the Israeli strikes with a written statement. "We strongly condemn this Israeli attack and immediately demand that it be stopped," the statement said, adding that no country, Israel included, is above international law.[184] Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Cairo University on November 17, 2012, "Everyone must know that sooner or later there will be a holding to account for the massacre of these innocent children killed inhumanely in Gaza,"[185] Erdogan also praised Egypt for recalling their ambassador to Israel.[186]
Template:country data United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates strongly condemned the "Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip" and urged the international community to "shoulder its responsibility towards the Palestinian people and to put an end to Israel’s messing up with regional and international peace and stability".[187]
Template:country data United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis. I utterly condemn rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas and other armed groups. This creates an intolerable situation for Israeli civilians in southern Israel, who have the right to live without fear of attack from Gaza." He also called on all those involved "to avoid any action which risks civilian casualties or escalates the crisis."[188]
Template:country data United States The U.S. Department of State issued a press release stating, "We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence." The statement offered support for Israel's right to self-defense and urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties in its military operations.[189]

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said "We ask Egypt to use its influence in the region to help de-escalate the situation," adding that Hamas must stop its rocket attacks on Israel. "This is a situation that they've created by firing rockets on innocent Israeli civilians. You know, we obviously mourn civilian deaths on both sides. But the onus is on Hamas to stop its rocket attacks," [190]

Template:country data Yemen According to a statement released to the Saba News Agency from a government source, "Yemen has announced its strong condemnation and denunciation of the "brutal Zionist aggression on the Gaza Strip, and standing of the Yemeni people with their brothers in Palestine at all times".[191] The unnamed spoken also said that "The Yemeni government calls for the international community to bare their responsibilities towards the Zionist offensive and take swift action to stop this brutal aggression".[192] The Yemeni parliament has denounced the israeli operation, considering it an "aggression against all Arab and Muslim countries" and calling for using oil as a weapon to end the Israeli operation. It called on the Arab parliaments and shoura councils to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the "Israeli aggression against Gaza", calling for visiting Gaza in sympathy with its people.[193]

Non-governmental organizations[edit]

  • Amnesty International said that both sides should stop the violence, and Ann Harrison, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, said "The Israeli military must not carry out further indiscriminate attacks, or attacks in densely populated residential areas that will inevitably harm civilians." and "Palestinian armed groups in Gaza meanwhile must not fire indiscriminate rockets into Israel. The international community must put pressure on both sides to fully respect the laws of war and protect civilian lives and property."[194]
  • Human Rights Watch said that “Israeli and Palestinian forces alike need to make all feasible efforts to avoid harming civilians,” and “there is no justification for Palestinian armed groups unlawfully launching rockets at Israeli population centers.”[195]
  • The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem warned both sides about causing civilian deaths and stated: "Protection of civilians stands at the heart of international humanitarian law. They must never be targeted; all measures must be taken to protect them. B'Tselem demands that the Israeli government respect these principles at all times and under all circumstances."[196]
  • The J Street organization said it "stands with Israel and its right to defend itself from all threats to its people and territory. Our sympathies go out to the Israeli victims and families caught in the violence. We reiterate our call on Hamas to immediately cease rocket attacks on Israel and to ensure that other groups in Gaza desist as well." It also urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties and hoped for President Obama to "mobilize international partners to broker a ceasefire quickly."[197]

See also[edit]



  1. "Chief of Staff Declares 'Operation Pillar of Cloud'". Arutz Sheva. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012. </li>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Day 2: 300+ Rockets Fired at Israel Since Start of Operation Pillar of Defense". Algemeiner. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. </li>
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  15. في إطار توسيع نطاق الرد.. سرايا القدس تطلق عملية "السماء الزرقاء".. Ùˆ"تل ابيب" هي البداية !!
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External links[edit]

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