MYTH: The Israel Defense Forces Intentionally Kills Civilians in Gaza

FACT: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) goes out of its way to avoid civilian casualties while fighting Hamas in Gaza. Hamas is an internationally recognized terrorist group that regularly fires rockets at Israel and calls for its destruction. As a result of this, Israel must do what any other country would do and protect its civilians from Hamas rocket fire. In this case, that means having to fight Hamas in Gaza to eliminate the threat. Unfortunately, Hamas commits the war crime of using Palestinian-Arab civilians as human shields, deliberately firing rockets from and hiding weapons in schools, hospitals, mosques, and other civilian areas. As a result of this, the IDF has taken extraordinary and unique measures to avoid killing civilians.

In many cases, when the IDF must bomb a Hamas military target in Gaza, it drops leaflets and sends voicemails and text messages to civilians in Gaza to warn them of the attack. This is detrimental to Israel’s war strategy, as it tells Hamas where and when it will bomb. However, because Hamas uses its civilians as human shields, Israel enacts this measure to try to protect civilians.

When the IDF warns of attacks, Hamas in many cases forces civilians to stand on the rooftops of building the IDF says it will bomb. As a result of this, The IDF invented a technique called “Roof Knocking” to avoid killing those civilians. With this technique, Israeli planes drop a warning charge (a “knock on the roof”) that shakes the building to get the civilians to leave the roof. Once the civilians leave, Israel fires the missiles to destroy the building. This costs lots of money and takes valuable time, but the IDF enacts this measure to try to protect the lives of Palestinian-Arab civilians.

Finally, in many cases, the IDF even reroutes missiles mid-air to avoid civilian casualties. In many instances, after the IDF launches a missile at a Hamas terrorist, the terrorist runs into a civilian building or a group of people. When this happens, the IDF in many cases reroutes the missile mid-air and explodes it in an open field. This wastes the missile and allows the terrorist to live, but Israel enacts this policy to try to avoid civilian casualties.

Israel’s policies of avoiding civilian casualties have proven to work, seeing as Israel’s civilian-to-combatant death ratio in approximately 1:1, meaning the IDF only kills one civilian per Hamas terrorist. This is the lowest ratio of any military in the world today. In other words, the IDF kills fewer civilians per combatants than every other country.