Civilian Impact: Iron Dome Shields Israelis, IDF Warnings Help Gazans

IDF image of Beersheba damage from Gaza rockets. Photo Courtesy of IDF Spokesperson.

In the recently-concluded Israel-Gaza conflict, civilians were tragically impacted by the fighting, but the number of civilian casualties was not as high as it could have been. Gaza terrorists often targeted Israeli civilian areas with rockets, and Israel did suffer tragedies. Four Israeli civilians were killed in the fighting, along with two Israeli military personnel.

However, IDF spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich told The Mideast Update that the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted more than 400 rockets, a key reason why 93% of the 1,500 Gaza rockets fired at Israel failed to hit urban areas.

On the other side, Leibovich said that according to their information, 120 Gaza militants were killed, contrasted with 57 civilians. Israeli officials have in the past expressed regret at the death of enemy civilians and Leibovich said the IDF made a “great effort” to avoid collateral fatalities.

One example of that approach are the thousands of phone calls and leaflets the IDF websites reported were sent to the Gaza populace warning them to stay away from Hamas locations.

“I believe most Gazans actually listened and read our recommendations,” said Leibovich, further noting, “How many militaries, during an operation, tell their enemy where exactly they are going to operate next?”

She contrasted that with Hamas radio, which urged the Palestinians to disobey the IDF directives and stay at home.

Leibovich said of the 1,500 targets hit by the IDF versus the 57 civilian casualties, “it’s an extremely impressive ratio.”

“I honestly don’t know other militaries in the world that have a similar or even close ratio,” said Leibovich. “You can take other war zones in the Middle East, such as Iraq or Afghanistan, and you won’t find the same ratio. Because choosing 1500 targets, many of them are located in urban areas, is very much challenging, especially in the aspect of uninvolved civilians.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, November 22, 2012)