For 51 days between July 7 and August 26, 2014, Israel carried out its third major military assault (2008-09; 2012; 2014) on Gaza in the past six years. This last one, code named Operation Protective Edge by the Israeli army, was the most vicious, killing 2,251 Palestinians, of whom 1,462 were civilians and included 299 women and 551 children, as well as injuring 11,231, a number that includes 3,436 children, 10 percent of whom have permanent disabilities, and another 1,500 have been orphaned. Israel also suffered casualties: 73 killed of whom 67 were military personnel, and 1,600 injured.
Additional to the human casualties, 18,000 Palestinian housing units were destroyed, along with substantial damage to Gaza’s electricity and sanitation systems, 500,000 Palestinians (almost 1/3 of Gaza’s population) were forcibly displaced during the military operations and 100,000 remain so a year later, while 73 medical facilities and ambulances were destroyed or damaged. Due to the Israeli blockade, the aftermath of this onslaught has prevented a normal recovery, extending the period of suffering endured by the entire Gazan population.The magnitude of the Palestinian losses, as well as the comparison with Israeli losses, and the comparative ratio of civilians to military killed on the two sides, by itself suggests that the essential character of this Israeli undertaking is best understood as ‘state terror’ directed at Gaza’s population as a whole.
—Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur, Foreign Policy Journal, July 6, 2015
Gaza is under a draconian 8-year siege and all of Palestine is under a 48-year occupation: 28,000 homes, structures destroyed; 800,000 olive trees uprooted; 100,000 Palestinians detained without trial. Chart: B’Tselem, ICAHD, Palestine Studies, Oxfam/Institute for Middle East Understanding
Breaking the Silence
The testifiers, who served in various units— from ground, to naval, to air forces, in both headquarters and command centers—expose the nature of IDF operations in various combat zones. The testimonies in this collection close the yawning gaps between what the IDF and government spokespersons told the public about the combat scenarios, and the reality described by the soldiers that took part in the operation.