The 2014 Israeli Attack on Gaza (“Operation Protective Edge”) One Year Later
SUMMARY OF THE ATTACK
According to the United Nations (UN), between July 7 and August 26, 2014, the Israeli military:
- Carried out more than 6,000 airstrikes on Gaza, an area roughly the size of Detroit and with 1.8 million people one of the most densely populated places on earth, many of them on residential buildings and other civilian targets.
- Fired 14,500 tank shells and approximately 35,000 artillery shells into Gaza.
- Supplied 5,000 tons of munitions to its attacking forces.
According to the UN, between July 7 and August 26, 2014:
- 2,251 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 1,462 civilians. The dead included 551 children and 299 women.
- 11,231 Palestinians were wounded in Gaza, including 3,436 children and 3,540 women. Ten percent of the injured suffered a permanent disability.
- 142 Palestinian families had three or more members killed in the same Israeli attack, for a total of 742 deaths. More than 1,500 Palestinian children were made orphans.
- During the same period, five Israeli civilians, one Thai foreign worker, and 67 Israeli soldiers were killed.
DESTRUCTION OF HOMES, SCHOOLS & MEDICAL FACILITIES
- Approximately 18,000 housing units were partly or completely destroyed by Israeli attacks, including multi-story apartment buildings and entire neighborhoods, leaving approximately 100,000 of Gaza's 1.8 million people homeless. Hundreds of civilians were killed in these attacks, including whole families. Prior to the 2014 assault, there were 12,000 Palestinians still displaced from Israel's 2008-09 attack, "Operation Cast Lead," and a shortage of 71,000 housing units.
- According to the UN, at least 262 schools were damaged in Israeli airstrikes, including three that were completely destroyed and at least 23 that were seriously damaged. Seven of the schools were sheltering internally displaced Palestinians at the time they were attacked, resulting in at least 42 Palestinian civilians killed, including 16 children, and more than 200 others injured.
- Seventy-three medical facilities and numerous ambulances were damaged by Israeli attacks, including 32 hospitals. One hospital and 58 primary health clinics were destroyed. At least six patients and 16 health care workers were killed, and more than 80 others wounded, as a result. (For more on Israeli attacks on medical facilities and workers, see Amnesty International statements here and here.)
DESTRUCTION OF CIVILIAN INFRASTRUCTURE & INDUSTRY
- According to the UN, Israel's assault caused $1.4 billion in direct and indirect damages and $1.7 billion in losses to Gaza's economy.
- During the attack, Israeli forces systematically targeted Gaza's civilian infrastructure and private industry, including bombing Gaza's only power plant.
- The destruction of the power plant caused the shutdown of water treatment plants, while Israeli tank shells put Gaza's largest sewage treatment plant out of commission. Other Israeli attacks did extensive damage to Gaza's water and sewage systems, already in critical condition due to the siege and previous Israeli assaults, leading to the release of raw sewage into open pools, farmland, and the Mediterranean Sea, causing health concerns and affecting fishermen.
- According to the Palestinian Federation of Industries, 419 businesses and workshops were damaged and 128 totally destroyed by Israeli attacks.
LACK OF RECONSTRUCTION
- In October 2014, international donors pledged approximately $ 3.5 billion for Gaza's reconstruction and recovery. A year later, only 28% of those funds have been disbursed.
- Of the approximately 12,000 homes destroyed during the attack, a year later none have been rebuilt.
- According to the UN, less than 1% of the construction materials required to rebuild homes damaged and destroyed during the assault and to address natural population growth has been allowed to enter Gaza.
- According to Israeli NGO Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, in June 2015, Israel allowed 193,242 tons of building materials into Gaza, out of the approximately 900,000 tons needed per month.
- According to Oxfam, at the current pace and without a lifting of the siege, it could take more than 100 years to complete the rebuilding of homes, schools and health facilities damaged or destroyed during the assault.
GAZA: A YEAR LATER
- A year after the start of "Operation Protective Edge," approximately 100,000 people remain internally displaced in Gaza as a result of the destruction it caused.
- The unemployment rate in Gaza is the highest in the world, averaging 43% during 2014. Youth unemployment exceeds 60%. Since 2007, when Israel tightened its siege, Gaza's GDP has decreased by 50%.
- An estimated 80% of Gaza's population relies on humanitarian assistance, mainly food aid.
- Maternal mortality rates in Gaza are estimated to have nearly doubled over the past year.
- Most Gazans receive electricity only eight to 12 hours a day.
- During the first five months of 2015, Israel allowed only 408 truckloads of commercial goods to exit Gaza. That's just 7% of the number allowed to exit during the same period of 2007, before Israel imposed the blockade.
- Palestinian farmers continue to be denied access to their lands within several hundred yards of the boundary with Israel. Anyone entering these areas risks being shot and killed by the Israeli army.
- The Israeli navy also prevents Gaza's fishermen from sailing farther than six nautical miles from shore, despite the fact that the Oslo Accords stipulate a fishing limit of 20 nautical miles. Fishermen who approach this six-mile limit risk being shot and killed, sunk, and/or imprisoned by the Israeli navy.
- A year later, no Israeli officials or soldiers have been held accountable for the grave and systematic war crimes that were committed during "Operation Protective Edge," as documented by Palestinian, Israeli, and international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, including for the reckless and disproportionate use of force in densely populated urban areas, attacks on medical facilities and workers and UN schools sheltering displaced civilians, and the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure.
50 Days of Death & Destruction: Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge ”
Fact Check: Israeli Claims About the Assault on Gaza
Israel’s Mass Killing of Palestinian Families in Gaza
The Children of Gaza: A Generation Scarred & Under Siege
Putting Palestinians “On a Diet”: Israel’s Siege & Blockade of Gaza
Reference Sheet: Israel, Gaza & International Law