It Was Called “Protective Edge”: Israel Absolves Itself of August 2014 Black Friday Gaza Massacre

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Israeli investigations when conducted virtually always whitewash high crimes. 

Three times since December 2008, IDF forces waged preemptive naked aggression on Gaza, falsely claiming the Strip was attacked in self-defense.

Protective Edge in summer 2014 was Israel’s most devastating war since its 1948 transformation of historic Palestine into an apartheid Jewish state.

Over 2,200 Gazans were ruthlessly slaughtered, including entire families, over 11,000 injured.

Around 550 children were murdered in cold blood – two-thirds under age 12, another 3,400 injured, over 1,000 maimed for life.

Like Washington, Israel considers civilians legitimate targets. International law calls killing, injuring, and otherwise harming them grievously flagrant war crimes.

On 1 August 2014, Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire.

The IDF ignored it. In Rafah bordering Egypt, Israeli soldiers preemptively attacked Hamas fighters, Israeli Lt. Hadar Goldin captured during the incident.

One of the deadliest episodes of the war followed, lasting four days, massacring over 200 civilians, countless others injured, hundreds of Palestinian homes and other civilian structures destroyed or heavily damaged – war crimes by any standard.

According to Israel’s military, over 2,000 bombs, missiles, rockets, and artillery shells were fired on Rafah, around 1,000 during a three-hour August 1 time frame – intense hellfire largely against civilians.

Overwhelming evidence showed Israeli forces attacked Rafah with disproportionate, indiscriminate ferocity – targeting civilians in their homes, others fleeing for safety, and anything seen moving.

What happened was savage revenge attacks for capturing an IDF soldier, collectively punishing the entire population of Rafah – flagrantly violating the UN Charter, Fourth Geneva, and other international law.

A UN Independent Commission of Inquiry accused Israel of disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks amounting to war crimes.

Around a year after Israeli aggression ended, IDF prosecutors found none of its forces guilty of war crimes, falsely claiming insufficient evidence, three soldiers alone indicted for looting.

No one was held accountable for the Rafah massacre, no proper investigation conducted.

On Wednesday, Israel’s military advocate general major general Sharon Afek formally closed the IDF whitewash probe into the Black Friday massacre, saying no military police inquiry was warranted.

No criminal or other proceedings will be pursued against anyone involved in what happened – case closed, the way Israel always absolves its forces of indisputable war crimes.

Justice for Palestinians is always denied, including from the international community, one-sidedly supporting Israel no matter how egregious its high crimes.

The August 1 – 4, 2014 Rafah massacre was carried out under Israel’s so-called Hannibal Directive.

It’s been official Israeli policy since 1986 – kept secret for many years.

It established live fire rules in cases of Israeli soldier abductions, stating:

“During an abduction, the major mission is to rescue our soldiers from the abductors even at the price of harming or wounding our soldiers.”

“Light-arms fire is to be used in order to bring the abductors to the ground or to stop them.”

“If the vehicle or the abductors do not stop, single-shot (sniper) fire should be aimed at them, deliberately, in order to hit the abductors, even if this means hitting our soldiers.”

“(E)verything will be done to stop the vehicle and not allow it to escape.”

Code-named “Hannibal,” the directive considers a dead IDF soldier better than a captured one.

The IDF wants soldiers taken alive avoided, concerned about political embarrassment, wanting enemies denied bargaining chips, along with being able to offer no concessions to secure abducted soldier releases.

The father of an Israeli soldier abducted years earlier perhaps spoke for others against Hannibal’s mandate, saying:

“It’s shocking to think that a soldier will execute his pal…I prefer a captive son to a dead son. That way I still have hope.”

Hannibal was revised several times. Its original mandate and spirit remain. Israeli has no qualms about killing its own.

It massacres Palestinians with impunity time and again. Cold-blooded murder is official Israeli policy, accountability never an issue.

A Final Comment

On Monday, Israeli war minister Avigdor Lieberman admitted another war on Gaza is coming, saying:

“The question we should ask is not whether another round of fighting will start, but when will it start,” adding:

“We are prepared, know what we should do and how to do it.”


Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

Featured image is from Amnesty International Ireland.


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Articles by: Stephen Lendman

About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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