“The death toll of Operation Cast Lead exceeded 1,400 Palestinians, 83 percent of whom were civilians, including 355 children; over 5,000 more were wounded.”
—Al-Haq, the Palestinian affiliate of the International
Commission of Jurists
Thirteen Israelis lost their lives during Operation Cast Lead.
Three civilians and one soldier were killed by rockets fired from Gaza. Nine Israeli soldiers were killed, four of them by friendly fire.
—Figures provided by the Israeli government
The great disparity between the Palestinian and Israeli deaths resulting from Operation Cast Lead speaks volumes. However, even after the smoke cleared and the devastating damage to Gaza was documented, the Israeli regime continued to claim that it, and not Gaza, was the victim of aggression, that it acted in self-defense, and its targets in Gaza were military. This pretext was accepted and repeated by the U.S. and European powers and given validity in the media.
Two months after the 22-day war, however, Israeli Defense Forces soldiers who had participated in Operation Cast Lead began to come forward and give testimony confirming their government’s policy of deliberately targeting the civilian population in Gaza, destroying the civilian infrastructure and killing non-combatants. Two articles here detail their testimony.
A month later, the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq explained exactly how Israel’s claims of “self defense” distorted international law in an attempt to cover its naked aggression against Gaza. This report is excerpted here.
Six months after the war, a 574-page U.N. probe of the Gaza war and siege, known widely as the Goldstone report, was released by the United Nations. It is a scathing indictment of Israeli policy and war crimes in Gaza. The executive summary of this report is excerpted here.