2012: Pillar of Defense

Key Facts

  • In November 2012, in response to a dramatic increase in missiles from Gaza hitting southern Israel, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense.
  • During the week-long operation, 1,506 missiles were fired from Gaza into Israel of which Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepted 421; 152 missiles Hamas fired from Gaza fell within Gaza.
  • Israeli casualties: 240 injuries, 5 fatalities
  • Over the course of the operation, Israel – using both air and naval strikes – targeted 1,500 terror sites in Gaza, including 19 senior command centres, operational control centres, Hamas’ senior-rank headquarters, hundreds of underground missile launchers, 200 tunnels, dozens of Hamas operation rooms, 26 weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, and dozens of long-range missile launch sites.
  • Key allies – including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands – supported Israel’s right to defend its citizens and blamed Hamas for the escalation in violence.
  • A ceasefire was brokered by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
More information

In the days leading up to Operation Pillar of Defense, more than 100 missiles were fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip into southern Israel, putting one million Israelis in danger. Acting on its legitimate right to defend its citizens from violence, Israel launched operation Pillar of Defense by targeting Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas’ military wing, in the Gaza Strip. Jabari was a senior Hamas operative directly responsible for ordering numerous terror attacks against Israelis.

Israel made every effort to warn civilians of pending strikes targeting Hamas, dropping fliers and placing thousands of automated phone calls to warn civilians in advance of Israeli air strikes to evacuate buildings used by Hamas. Hamas urged Gazans to ignore these warnings.

Hamas intensified the conflict by firing Iranian-supplied long-range Fajr-5 missiles into Israel, reaching metropolitan Tel Aviv and the vicinity of Jerusalem. In extending Hamas’ missile range to 75km, these warheads put some 3.5 million Israelis – roughly half of the country’s population – in danger. Over the course of the operation, Israel’s ground-breaking Iron Dome system intercepted 421 missiles, saving countless civilian lives.

Pillar of Defense was fought on the ground, in the air and online. It was the first conflict announced through social media and the first time conflicting sides have had any engagement with each other online. The IDF shared videos of their strikes on their YouTube channel, posted summaries of daily events, and produced widely shared infographics.

Operation Pillar of Defense was successful in delivering a major setback to Hamas and restoring security and quiet for the residents of southern Israel. Over the course of the operation, Israel targeted 1,500 terror sites in Gaza, shot down 421 missiles with the Iron Dome and produced online materials that effectively discredited Hamas’ false claims.

Operation Pillar of Defense was successful in delivering a major setback to Hamas and restoring security and quiet for the residents of southern Israel. Over the course of the operation, Israel targeted more than 1,500 terror sites in Gaza, including 19 senior command centres, operational control centres, Hamas’ senior-rank headquarters, 30 senior terrorist operatives, hundreds of underground missile launchers, 140 smuggling tunnels, 66 terror tunnels, dozens of Hamas operation rooms and bases, 26 weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, and dozens of long-range rocket launchers and launch sites.

Additional Resources

Three Cities

Canada

Jerusalem

Tel Aviv

IDF Success

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