Updates Operation 'Pillar of Defense'

Updates Operation "Pillar of Defense"

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    Mark Ashkelon Mark Ashkelon
    Operation "Pillar of Defense" has come to an end with the ceasefire agreement which entered into force on November 21st at 20:00 Dutch time.

    The ceasefire agreement

    Understanding Regarding Ceasefire in Gaza Strip

     1. a. Israel shall stop all hostilities on the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.

    b. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks, and attacks along the border

    c. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods, and refraining from restricting residents free movement, and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

    d. Other matters as maybe requested shall be addressed.


    2. Implementation Mechanism: 

    a. Setting up of the zero hour for the Ceasefire Understanding to enter into effect. 

    b. Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commit to what was agreed upon.

    c. Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt – as the sponsor of this understanding – shall be informed to follow up.​



    ·         For years, Israel was faced with waves of rockets fired at its citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel nevertheless demonstrated great restraint.


    ·         Israel invoked its right of self-defense and launched Operation Pillar of Defense after Hamas and other terrorist organizations launched more than 1,300 rockets at Israel (from the end of January 2009). Israel recently turned twice to the UN Security Council, yet the attacks continued.


    ·         The aims of Israel's campaign were to act against the terrorist infrastructures operating from the Gaza Strip and to stop the firing of rockets at Israel in order to bring about an improvement in the security reality and allow a normal life for the residents of the State of Israel. These goals have been achieved.


    ·         A ceasefire was reached (Nov. 21). The understandings led to the cease-fire. Afterwards, it will be possible to discuss – not directly – other issues raised by the sides.


    ·         Egypt shepherded the understandings not just with Hamas, but will all Palestinian factions that fired rockets.


    ·         Israel dealt Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a series of blows that have greatly weakened them. Senior terrorists were targeted, thousands of rockets - including long-range projectiles - were eliminated and the terrorist infrastructure was greatly degraded.


    ·         Israel has reinforced and strengthened its deterrence capabilities. Israel will respect the cease-fire, but reserves the right to react in self-defense to its violation by the terrorist organizations.


    ·         The changes that have taken place in the region over the last two years did not affect Israel's ability to act militarily and to defend its citizens.


    ·         Iran supplied, funded and trained Gaza's military machine, as was admitted by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Iranian sources. Without strong international pressure, Iran will continue to play a destabilizing role in the area. Action must be taken to prevent the smuggling of weapons, primarily Iranian arms, to Gaza.


    ·         Israel succeeded in consolidating a large and varied international coalition in support of Israel and against the terror groups operating out of Gaza.


    ·         There was wide international support and understanding for the necessary use of force by Israel in order to stop the rockets. This international legitimacy is important if the need arises in the future for Israel once again to defend itself militarily.


    ·         Israel is grateful to the world leaders, in particular US President Obama, who supported Israel's right to act in self-defense. An international coalition opposed Hamas and its aggression against the people of Israel.


    ·         Egypt and US Secretary of State Clinton guided the international efforts that led to the understandings. Other leaders supported these efforts, including UN Secretary-General, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, as well as the Foreign Ministers of Germany and France.


    ·         There is great importance to the cooperation with Egypt in the new regional reality.


    ·         Israel will not tolerate rocket attacks on its citizens. No country should be expected to endure terrorist activity against its civilian population. The international community must support Israel in its attempts to contain the terrorist threat emanating from Gaza and not wait for an Israeli reaction to act.


    ·         The people of Israel remained strong in the face of constant bombardment. Their discipline in following safety instructions and the effectiveness of the Iron Dome missile defense system meant that there were few Israeli casualties.


    ·         Israel did its upmost to avoid, as far as possible, injury to civilians. Israel regrets the loss of life of all civilians, Israeli and Palestinian, but places responsibility squarely on Hamas, which used the residents of Gaza as human shields. The world witnessed Hamas' unprovoked and relentless attacks on Israel, and the double war crime it committed time and again: targeting Israeli civilians while firing from among its own civilians.


    ·         The crisis was managed in a responsible and clear-headed manner, despite the complicated reality and instability in the region. Israel successfully combined diplomacy and limited military action to achieve its goals.​