10 FACTS ABOUT OPERATION ‘CAST LEAD’
This year marks the seventh anniversary of Operation ‘Cast Lead’, Israel’s 22-day offensive on the Gaza Strip. (27th December 2008 – 18th January 2009) Until the 2014 offensive, Operation ‘Cast Lead’ was the bloodiest Israeli assault inflicted on Palestinians since 1967.
- The attack left 1,400 Palestinians dead (including 300 children) and over 5,000 wounded.
- 82% of the people killed were civilians.
- 4,000 residential units were destroyed by heavy Israeli shelling and 20,000 people were made homeless.
- 18 schools were destroyed and 262 others damaged.
- 40 primary health care clinics and 12 hospitals were damaged and 29 ambulances were damaged or destroyed.
- Attacks on Gaza’s electricity infrastructure caused an estimated $10 million in damage.
- The attack also damaged Gaza’s water infrastructure: water pipes, water reservoirs, wells, sewage networks and pumping stations.
- Israel used a number of internationally-banned weapons such as white phosphorus, a chemical which enters the body and burns the skin from the inside.
- Donors pledged $4.4 billion to help rebuild Gaza. But the reconstruction of homes, schools, infrastructure never took place, not because the donors broke their promises but because the necessary materials weren’t allowed into Gaza, due to the illegal blockade.
- A UN Fact Finding Mission report stated that there was significant evidence of widespread and systematic commission of war crimes. The most famous case was the Samouni Family massacre, when Israeli soldiers gathered 100 members of the same family in a building for 24 hours and then shelled the building, killing 21 family members, most of them women and children.
The report recommended that the allegations of war crimes had to be effectively investigated and those responsible prosecuted. However, seven years later, trapped behind the illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are still waiting for justice to happen.