One Month On: Learning Lessons from Pillar of Defense

A month after Gaza terrorists fired more than 1,700 rockets in a week towards Israeli homes, Israel has made its initial assessments of the operation it launched to stop the projectiles.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) also published statistics on its activities during Operation Pillar of defense. Water and electricity supply to Gaza carried on as normal, with faults to the 10 power lines into Gaza being repaired during the fighting. Hundreds of trucks carrying goods entered Gaza from Israel during the eight-day conflict. This despite rocket fire aimed at the Erez border Crossing on Nov. 20.

“While Hamas actively exploits and endangers their civilians, COGAT's activities are yet another example of the measures that Israel takes to minimize casualties and harm amongst that very same population,” the COGAT report stated.

Terrorists fired a rocket toward Israel on Dec. 23 for the first time since fighting ended a month ago. The rocket fell short and landed inside Gaza. Israeli security officers arrested two Palestinians on Sunday after they had illegally crossed the border fence and entered Israel.

The rights group Human Rights Watch condemned Palestinian terrorist groups it said fired rockets at Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense. HRW said such blatant attacks against civilians amounted to war crimes, and Iran’s admission that it supplied weapons know-how to terrorist groups in Gaza “constitutes the aiding and abetting of war crimes.”

HRW also documented that terrorists in Gaza carried out rocket launches from densely-populated areas inside Gaza, and said “statements by leaders of Palestinian armed groups that population centers were being targeted, indicate that the armed groups deliberately attacked Israeli civilians and civilian objects.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted on Sunday various civil defense agencies to review aspects of the operation and learn lessons.

“Home front agencies performed very successfully during the operation, saved the lives of many citizens, and allowed daily life and vital services to be maintained in a situation of prolonged rocket fire,” he said.

“Our intention is to continue to improve. The home front is one of the main fronts in any security scenario; therefore, the Government will continue to invest in it.”

Over the next few weeks, the agencies will report back to the premier with recommendations should similar conflicts occur.

The cabinet approved on Sunday a plan to bolster support for residents of southern Israel, particularly for older people and immigrants.

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