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Israel's Operation in Gaza: An ADL Backgrounder RULE Hamas Campaign of Terror

Posted: January 22, 2009

Israel's Unilateral Cease Fire
Israel's Goal: To Defend its Citizens
Israel's operation targeted Hamas' infrastructure
Israeli precautions to avoid harming civilians in Gaza
Hamas Campaign of Terror
The Humanitarian Situation
Hamas' Ultimate Goal
Israel's Commitment to Peace

Hamas uses the Gaza strip as a launching ground for a campaign to terrorize Israeli civilians. These rockets purposefully target vulnerable southern Israeli cities such as Sderot and now, to more densely populated areas of Israel further north, in Ashkelon, Netivot, Ashdod, Kiryat Melachi and even Beersheba and Gadera, landing in or near private homes, schools, colleges, hospitals and daycare and recreation centers.

Over the past seven years, Israel has shown utmost restraint in dealing with Hamas' blatant hostility and tried to stop the attacks through a variety of measures, including agreeing to an Egyptian-negotiated, six month "period of calm," appealing to the international community for support in opposing Hamas terrorism and legitimate military measures designed to comply with the norms of international humanitarian law.

Hamas used the six month period of the so called "period of calm" to build up supplies and improve the intensity and effectiveness of these attacks. Hamas pledged that its artillery will soon be able to reach Israel's heartland, threatening millions of Israeli civilians. With the end of the "period of calm," Hamas leadership called for the resumption of suicide bombing attacks within Israeli cities and the assassination of Israeli leadership.

The psychological damage of Hamas rocket attacks cannot be minimized. When the alarm is sounded, no matter where they are or what they are doing – taking a shower, shopping for food, in the classroom, going to work – residents have 15 seconds to reach shelter or risk being killed or injured. In the city of Sderot, for example, where the majority of rockets have fallen over the past eight years, mental health professionals have documented the trauma experienced by children and adults alike, many of whom endure nightmares, panic attacks, and are afraid of going about their daily lives for fear of being caught unprotected during a missile strike. For the children in Sderot, the trauma is most intense. They are more accustomed to daily siren alarms and the regular rush to a bomb shelter than to an innocent play date with friends.

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More: Israel Strikes Back: Resources and Information from ADL

Frequently Asked Questions About Israel's Actions in Gaza

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