Gaza War (2008–09)
The Gaza War known as Operation Cast Lead known in the Muslim world as the Gaza Massacre and the Battle of al-Furqan by Hamas, was a three-week armed conflict between Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Israel that began on 27 December 2008 and ended on 18 January 2009 in a unilateral ceasefire. The conflict resulted in 13 Israeli deaths. Israel's stated goal was to stop indiscriminate Palestinian rocket fire into Israel and weapons smuggling into the Gaza strip. Hamas stated its rocket fire was in response to Israeli military actions, subsequent to what Hamas stated was a unilateral Israeli violation of a ceasefire several weeks earlier. Israeli forces attacked police stations, military targets including weapons caches and suspected rocket firing teams, as well as political and administrative institutions in the opening assault, striking in the densely populated cities of Gaza, Khan Yunis and Rafah. After hostilities broke out, Palestinian groups fired rockets in response to what they characterized as "massacres".
The international community considers indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian structures that do not discriminate between civilians and military targets as illegal under international law. An Israeli ground invasion began on 3 January. Infantry commanders were given an unprecedented level of access to coordinate with air, artillery and combat engineering units during this second phase. Various new technologies and hardware were introduced. On 5 January, the IDF began operating in the densely populated urban centers of Gaza. During the last week of the offensive, Israel hit targets it had damaged before and struck Palestinian rocket-launching units. Hamas intensified its rocket and mortar attacks against civilian targets in southern Israel, reaching the major cities of Beersheba and Ashdod for the first time during the conflict. Israeli politicians decided against striking deeper within Gaza amid concerns of higher casualties on both sides and rising international criticism; the conflict ended on 18 January, when Israel first declared a unilateral ceasefire, followed by Hamas' announcing a one-week ceasefire twelve hours later.
Israel completed its withdrawal on 21 January. According to the Shin Bet, after the conflict, there was a decrease in Palestinian rocket attacks. In September 2009, a UN special mission, headed by the South African Justice Richard Goldstone, produced a report accusing both Palestinian militants and the IDF of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, recommended bringing those responsible to justice. In January 2010, the Israeli government released a response criticizing the Goldstone Report and disputing its findings. In 2011, Goldstone wrote that he no longer believed that Israel intentionally targeted civilians in Gaza; the other authors of the report, Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin, Desmond Travers, rejected Goldstone's re-assessment. The United Nations Human Rights Council ordered Israel to conduct various repairs of the damages. On 21 September 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council concluded that 75% of civilian homes destroyed in the attack were not rebuilt; the Gaza Strip is a coastal strip of land on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea bordering Egypt and Israel.
Following the death of Yassar Arafat in November 2004, his successor to the Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon signed a ceasefire agreement on 8 February 2005 bringing an end to the Second Intifada. On 17 March 2005 the 13 main Palestinian factions including Hamas and Islamic Jihad agreed to be bound by the February agreement, conditional on cessation of Israeli attacks. Israel maintains that its occupation of Gaza ended following the completion of its unilateral disengagement plan in September 2005; because in the post-disengagement period Israel has continued to control and occupy Gaza's airspace and territorial waters, continues to restrict or prohibit the movement of people or goods in or out of Gaza and to unilaterally dictate what Gazans may do in a border strip of variable and undefined width in their own territory, the UN, the International Criminal Court Human Rights Watch, many other NGOs consider Israel still to be the occupying power.
Hamas refrained from rocket fire at Israel for 14 months in accordance with its early-2005 undertaking, until IDF naval shelling hit a Gaza beach, all but wiping out a local Gazan family on 10 June 2006. Israel and the Quartet failed to anticipate Hamas's electoral victory in the January 2006 legislative elections, which the U. S. had pushed for. The victory permitted the formation of a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government in March 2006; the Quartet conditioned future foreign assistance to the Hamas-led PA on the future government's commitment to nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel, acceptance of previous agreements. Hamas rejected the demands, calling the conditions unfair and endangering the well-being of Palestinians, leading to Quartet suspension of its foreign assistance program and to Israel imposing economic sanctions. In a cited article, David Rose outlined material suggesting that the United States and Israel attempted to have the Palestinian National Authority stage a coup to overturn the election results, a manoeuvre Hamas is said to have preempted in Gaza with its takeover from Fatah.
In June 2007, following Hamas's takeover of Gaza from Fatah, Israel imposed a ground and maritime blockade, announced it would allow only humanitarian supplies into the Strip. Palestinian groups were able to bypass the bloc
2006 Lebanon War
The 2006 Lebanon War called the 2006 Israel–Hezbollah War and known in Lebanon as the July War and in Israel as the Second Lebanon War, was a 34-day military conflict in Lebanon, Northern Israel and the Golan Heights. The principal parties were the Israel Defense Forces; the conflict started on 12 July 2006, continued until a United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into effect in the morning on 14 August 2006, though it formally ended on 8 September 2006 when Israel lifted its naval blockade of Lebanon. Due to unprecedented Iranian military support to Hezbollah before and during the war, some consider it the first round of the Iran–Israel proxy conflict, rather than a continuation of the Arab–Israeli conflict; the conflict was precipitated by the 2006 Hezbollah cross-border raid. On 12 July 2006, Hezbollah fighters fired rockets at Israeli border towns as a diversion for an anti-tank missile attack on two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence; the ambush left three soldiers dead.
Two Israeli soldiers were taken by Hezbollah to Lebanon. Five more were killed in a failed rescue attempt. Hezbollah demanded the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel in exchange for the release of the abducted soldiers. Israel responded with airstrikes and artillery fire on targets in Lebanon. Israel attacked both Hezbollah military targets and Lebanese civilian infrastructure, including Beirut's Rafic Hariri International Airport; the IDF launched a ground invasion of Southern Lebanon. Israel imposed an air and naval blockade. Hezbollah launched more rockets into northern Israel and engaged the IDF in guerrilla warfare from hardened positions; the conflict is believed to have killed between 1,191 and 1,300 Lebanese people, 165 Israelis. It damaged Lebanese civil infrastructure, displaced one million Lebanese and 300,000–500,000 Israelis. On 11 August 2006, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 in an effort to end the hostilities.
The resolution, approved by both the Lebanese and Israeli governments the following days, called for disarmament of Hezbollah, for withdrawal of the IDF from Lebanon, for the deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces and an enlarged United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in the south. UNIFIL was given an expanded mandate, including the ability to use force to ensure that their area of operations was not used for hostile activities, to resist attempts by force to prevent them from discharging their duties; the Lebanese Army began deploying in Southern Lebanon on 17 August 2006. The blockade was lifted on 8 September 2006. On 1 October 2006, most Israeli troops withdrew from Lebanon, although the last of the troops continued to occupy the border-straddling village of Ghajar. In the time since the enactment of UNSCR 1701 both the Lebanese government and UNIFIL have stated that they will not disarm Hezbollah; the remains of the two captured soldiers, whose fates were unknown, were returned to Israel on 16 July 2008 as part of a prisoner exchange.
Cross-border attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel by the Palestine Liberation Organization dated as far back as 1968, followed the Six-Day War. Starting about this time, increasing demographic tensions related to the Lebanese National Pact, which had divided governmental powers among religious groups throughout the country 30 years began running high and led in part to the Lebanese Civil War. Concurrently, Syria began a 29-year military occupation in 1976. Israel's 1978 invasion of Lebanon failed to stem the Palestinian attacks in the long run, but Israel invaded Lebanon again in 1982 and forcibly expelled the PLO. Israel withdrew to a borderland buffer zone in southern Lebanon, held with the aid of proxy militants in the South Lebanon Army; the invasion led to the conception of a new Shi'a militant group, which in 1985, established itself politically under the name Hezbollah, declared an armed struggle to end the Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory. When the Lebanese Civil War ended and other warring factions agreed to disarm, both Hezbollah and the SLA refused.
Ten years Israel withdrew from South Lebanon to the UN-designated and internationally recognized Blue Line border in 2000. The withdrawal led to the immediate collapse of the SLA, Hezbollah took control of the area. Citing continued Israeli control of the Shebaa farms region and the internment of Lebanese prisoners in Israel, Hezbollah intensified its cross-border attacks, used the tactic of seizing soldiers from Israel as leverage for a prisoner exchange in 2004. All told, from summer 2000, after the Israeli withdrawal, until summer 2006, Hezbollah conducted 200 attacks on Israel – most of them artillery fire, some raids and some via proxies inside Israel. In these attacks, including the attack that precipitated the Israeli response that developed into the war, 31 Israelis were killed and 104 were wounded. In August 2006, in an article in The New Yorker, Seymour Hersh claimed that the White House gave the green light for the Israeli government to execute an attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon. Communication between the Israeli government and the US government about this came as early as two months in advance of the capture of two Israeli soldiers and the killing of eight others by Hezbollah prior to the conflict in July 2006.
The US government denied these claims. According to
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal, are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force, navy, it is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel. The IDF is headed by its Chief of General Staff, the Ramatkal, subordinate to the Defense Minister of Israel. An order from Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion on 26 May 1948 set up the Israel Defense Forces as a conscript army formed out of the paramilitary group Haganah, incorporating the militant groups Irgun and Lehi; the IDF served as Israel's armed forces in all the country's major military operations—including the 1948 War of Independence, 1951–1956 Retribution operations, 1956 Sinai War, 1964–1967 War over Water, 1967 Six-Day War, 1967–1970 War of Attrition, 1968 Battle of Karameh, 1973 Operation Spring of Youth, 1973 Yom Kippur War, 1976 Operation Entebbe, 1978 Operation Litani, 1982 Lebanon War, 1982–2000 South Lebanon conflict, 1987–1993 First Intifada, 2000–2005 Second Intifada, 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, 2006 Lebanon War, 2008–2009 Operation Cast Lead, 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, 2014 Operation Protective Edge.
According to GlobalSecurity.org, the number of wars and border conflicts in which the IDF has been involved in its short history makes it one of the most battle-trained armed forces in the world. While the IDF operated on three fronts—against Lebanon and Syria in the north and Iraq in the east, Egypt in the south—after the 1979 Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty, it has concentrated its activities in southern Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories, including the First and the Second Intifada; the Israel Defense Forces is somewhat unique in its inclusion of mandatory conscription of women and its structure, which emphasizes close relations between the army and air force. Since its founding, the IDF has been designed to match Israel's unique security situation; the IDF is one of Israeli society's most prominent institutions, influencing the country's economy and political scene. In 1965, the Israel Defense Forces was awarded the Israel Prize for its contribution to education; the IDF uses several technologies developed in Israel, many of them made to match the IDF's needs, such as the Merkava main battle tank, Achzarit armoured personnel carrier, high tech weapons systems, the Iron Dome missile defense system, Trophy active protection system for vehicles, the Galil and Tavor assault rifles.
The Uzi submachine gun was invented in Israel and used by the IDF until December 2003, ending a service that began in 1954. Since 1967, the IDF has had close military relations with the United States, including development cooperation, such as on the F-15I jet, THEL laser defense system, the Arrow missile defense system; the Israel Defense Forces are believed to have had an operational nuclear weapons capability since 1967 possessing between 80 and 400 nuclear weapons, with delivery systems forming a nuclear triad, of plane launched-missiles, Jericho III intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine launched cruise missiles. The Israeli cabinet ratified the name "Israel Defense Forces", Tzva HaHagana LeYisra'el "army for the defense of Israel," on 26 May 1948; the other main contender was Tzva Yisra'el. The name was chosen because it conveyed the idea that the army's role was defense, because it incorporated the name Haganah, the pre-state defensive organization upon which the new army was based.
Among the primary opponents of the name were Minister Haim-Moshe Shapira and the Hatzohar party, both in favor of Tzva Yisra'el. The IDF traces its roots to Jewish paramilitary organizations in the New Yishuv, starting with the Second Aliyah; the first such organization was Bar-Giora, founded in September 1907. Bar-Giora was transformed into Hashomer in April 1909, which operated until the British Mandate of Palestine came into being in 1920. Hashomer was an elitist organization with narrow scope, was created to protect against criminal gangs seeking to steal property; the Zion Mule Corps and the Jewish Legion, both part of the British Army of World War I, would further bolster the Yishuv with military experience and manpower, forming the basis for paramilitary forces. After the 1920 Palestine riots against Jews in April 1920, the Yishuv leadership realised the need for a nationwide underground defense organization, the Haganah was founded in June of the same year; the Haganah became a full-scale defense force after the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine with an organized structure, consisting of three main units—the Field Corps, Guard Corps, the Palmach.
During World War II, the Yishuv participated in the British war effort, culminating in the formation of the Jewish Brigade. These would form the backbone of the Israel Defense Forces, provide it with its initial manpower and doctrine. Following Israel's Declaration of Independence, Prime Minister and Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion issued an order for the formation of the Israel Defense Forces on 26 May 1948. Although Ben-Gurion had no legal authority to issue such an order, the order was made legal by the cabinet on 31 May; the same order called for the disbandment of all other Jewish armed forces. The two other Jewish underground organizations and Lehi, agreed to join the IDF if they would be able to form independent units and agreed not to make independent arms purchase
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, Moldova to the east, it has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres, Romania is the 12th largest country and the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having 20 million inhabitants, its capital and largest city is Bucharest, other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Brașov. The River Danube, Europe's second-longest river, rises in Germany's Black Forest and flows in a general southeast direction for 2,857 km, coursing through ten countries before emptying into Romania's Danube Delta; the Carpathian Mountains, which cross Romania from the north to the southwest, include Moldoveanu Peak, at an altitude of 2,544 m. Modern Romania was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia.
The new state named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. Following World War I, when Romania fought on the side of the Allied powers, Bessarabia, Transylvania as well as parts of Banat, Crișana, Maramureș became part of the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. In June–August 1940, as a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and Second Vienna Award, Romania was compelled to cede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union, Northern Transylvania to Hungary. In November 1940, Romania signed the Tripartite Pact and in June 1941 entered World War II on the Axis side, fighting against the Soviet Union until August 1944, when it joined the Allies and recovered Northern Transylvania. Following the war, under the occupation of the Red Army's forces, Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition back towards a market economy; the sovereign state of Romania is a developing country and ranks 52nd in the Human Development Index.
It has the world's 47th largest economy by nominal GDP and an annual economic growth rate of 7%, the highest in the EU at the time. Following rapid economic growth in the early 2000s, Romania has an economy predominantly based on services, is a producer and net exporter of machines and electric energy, featuring companies like Automobile Dacia and OMV Petrom, it has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, part of NATO since 2004, part of the European Union since 2007. An overwhelming majority of the population identifies themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians and are native speakers of Romanian, a Romance language. Romania derives from the Latin romanus, meaning "citizen of Rome"; the first known use of the appellation was attested to in the 16th century by Italian humanists travelling in Transylvania and Wallachia. The oldest known surviving document written in Romanian, a 1521 letter known as the "Letter of Neacșu from Câmpulung", is notable for including the first documented occurrence of the country's name: Wallachia is mentioned as Țeara Rumânească.
Two spelling forms: român and rumân were used interchangeably until sociolinguistic developments in the late 17th century led to semantic differentiation of the two forms: rumân came to mean "bondsman", while român retained the original ethnolinguistic meaning. After the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the word rumân fell out of use and the spelling stabilised to the form român. Tudor Vladimirescu, a revolutionary leader of the early 19th century, used the term Rumânia to refer to the principality of Wallachia."The use of the name Romania to refer to the common homeland of all Romanians—its modern-day meaning—was first documented in the early 19th century. The name has been in use since 11 December 1861. In English, the name of the country was spelt Rumania or Roumania. Romania became the predominant spelling around 1975. Romania is the official English-language spelling used by the Romanian government. A handful of other languages have switched to "o" like English, but most languages continue to prefer forms with u, e.g. French Roumanie and Swedish Rumänien, Spanish Rumania, Polish Rumunia, Russian Румыния, Japanese ルーマニア.
1859–1862: United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia 1862–1866: Romanian United Principalities or Romania 1866–1881: Romania or Principality of Romania 1881–1947: Kingdom of Romania or Romania 1947–1965: Romanian People's Republic or Romania 1965–December, 1989: Socialist Republic of Romania or Romania December, 1989–present: Romania Human remains found in Peștera cu Oase, radiocarbon dated as being from circa 40,000 years ago, represent the oldest known Homo sapiens in Europe. Neolithic techniques and agriculture spread after the arrival of a mixed group of people from Thessaly in the 6th millenium BC. Excavations near a salt spring at Lunca yielded the earliest evidence for salt exploitation in Europe; the first permanent settlements appeared in the Neolithic. Some of them developed into "proto-cities"; the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture—the best known archaeological culture of Old Europe—flourished in Muntenia, southeastern Transylvania and northeastern Moldavia in the 3rd m
Flag of Israel
The flag of Israel was adopted on 28 October 1948, five months after the establishment of the State of Israel. It depicts a blue hexagram on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes; the Israeli flag legislation states. Therefore, the official proportions are 8:11. Variants can be found with 2:3 being common; the blue colour is described as "dark sky-blue", varies from flag to flag, ranging from a hue of pure blue, sometimes shaded as dark as navy blue, to hues about 75% toward pure cyan and shades as light as light blue. The flag was designed for the Zionist Movement in 1891; the basic design recalls the Tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl, white with black or blue stripes. The symbol in the center represents the Star of David, a Jewish symbol dating from late medieval Prague, adopted by the First Zionist Congress in 1897. In 2007, an Israeli flag measuring 660 m × 100 m and weighing 5.2 tonnes was unfurled near the ancient Jewish fortress of Masada, breaking the world record for the largest flag.
This record has since been surpassed several times. The blue stripes are intended to symbolize the stripes on a tallit, the traditional Jewish prayer shawl; the portrayal of a Star of David on the flag of the State of Israel is a acknowledged symbol of the Jewish people and of Judaism. The Israelites used a blue coloured dye called tekhelet; this dye was important in both Jewish and non-Jewish cultures of this time, was used by royalty and the upper class in dyeing their clothing, curtains, etc. In the Bible, the Israelites are commanded to have one of the threads of their tassels dyed with tekhelet. Tekhelet corresponds to the colour of the divine revelation. Sometime near the end of the Talmudic era the industry that produced this dye collapsed, it became more rare. Since Jews were unable to fulfil this commandment, they have since left their tzitzit white. However, in remembrance of the commandment to use the tekhelet dye, it became common for Jews to have blue or purple stripes woven into the cloth of their tallit.
The idea that the blue and white colours were the national colour of the Jewish people was voiced early on by Ludwig August von Frankl, an Austrian Jewish poet. In his poem, "Judah's Colours", he writes: In 1885, the agricultural village of Rishon LeZion used a blue and white flag designed by Israel Belkind and Fanny Abramovitch in a procession marking its third anniversary. In 1891, Michael Halperin, one of the founders of the agricultural village Nachalat Reuven flew a similar blue and white flag with a blue hexagram and the text "נס ציונה". A blue and white flag, with a Star of David and the Hebrew word "Maccabee", was used in 1891 by the Bnai Zion Educational Society. Jacob Baruch Askowith and his son Charles Askowith designed the "flag of Judah,", displayed on 24 July 1891, at the dedication of Zion Hall of the B'nai Zion Educational Society in Boston, Massachusetts. Based on the traditional tallit, or Jewish prayer shawl, that flag was white with narrow blue stripes near the edges and bore in the center the ancient six-pointed Shield of David with the word "Maccabee" painted in blue Hebrew letters.
In Herzl's 1896 Der Judenstaat, he stated: Wir haben keine Fahne. Wir brauchen eine. Wenn man viele Menschen führen will, muss man ein Symbol über ihre Häupter erheben. Ich denke mir eine weisse mit sieben goldenen Sternen. Das weisse Feld bedeutet das neue, reine Leben. Denn im Zeichen der Arbeit gehen die Juden in das neue Land. We have no flag, we need one. If we desire to lead many men, we must raise a symbol above their heads. I would suggest a white flag, with seven golden stars; the white field symbolizes our pure new life. For we shall march into the Promised Land carrying the badge of honor. David Wolffsohn, a businessman prominent in the early Zionist movement, was aware that the nascent Zionist movement had no official flag, that the design proposed by Theodor Herzl was gaining no significant support, wrote: At the behest of our leader Herzl, I came to Basle to make preparations for the Zionist Congress. Among many other problems that occupied me was one that contained something of the essence of the Jewish problem.
What flag would we hang in the Congress Hall? An idea struck me. We have a flag—and it is blue and white; the talith with which we wrap ourselves when we pray:, our symbol. Let us take this Talith from its bag and unroll it before the eyes of Israel and the eyes of all nations. So I ordered a white flag with the Shield of David painted upon it; that is. While this flag emphasizes Jewish religious symbols, Theodor Herzl wanted the flag to have more universal symbols: 7 golden stars symbolizing the 7-hour working quota of the enlightened state-to-be, which would have advanced socialist legislations. In 1897, the First Zionist Congress was held in Basel
2014 Israel–Gaza conflict
The 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict known as Operation Protective Edge and sometimes referred to as the 2014 Gaza war, was a military operation launched by Israel on 8 July 2014 in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas members, the IDF conducted Operation Brother's Keeper to arrest militant leaders, Hamas fired rockets into Israel and a seven-week conflict broke out; the Israeli airstrikes and ground bombardment, the Palestinian rocket attacks and the ground fighting resulted in the death of thousands of people, the vast majority of them Gazans. The stated aim of the Israeli operation was to stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, which increased after an Israeli crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank was launched following the 12 June kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by two Hamas members. Conversely, Hamas's goal was to bring international pressure to bear to lift Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, end Israel's offensive, obtain a third party to monitor and guarantee compliance with a ceasefire, release Palestinian prisoners and overcome its political isolation.
According to the BBC, in response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, Israel launched air raids on Gaza. On 7 July, after seven Hamas militants died in a tunnel explosion in Khan Yunis, caused by an Israeli airstrike or an accidental explosion of their own munitions, Hamas assumed responsibility for rockets fired into Israel and launched 40 rockets towards Israel; the operation began the following day, on 17 July, the operation was expanded to an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza with the stated aim of destroying Gaza's tunnel system. On 26 August, an open-ended ceasefire was announced. By that date, the IDF reported that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups had fired 4,564 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, with over 735 intercepted in flight and shot down by Iron Dome. Most Gazan mortar and rocket fire hit open land. More than 280 fell on areas in Gaza, 224 struck residential areas. Militant rocketry killed 13 Gazan civilians, 11 of them children; the IDF attacked 5,263 targets in Gaza.
Between 2,125 and 2,310 Gazans were killed and between 10,626 and 10,895 were wounded. Gazan civilian casualty rates estimates range between 70% by the Gaza Health Ministry, 65% by United Nations Protection Cluster by OCHA, 36% by Israeli officials, The UN estimated that more than 7,000 homes for 10,000 families were razed, together with an additional 89,000 homes damaged, of which 10,000 were affected by the bombing. Rebuilding costs were calculated to run from 4-6 billions dollars, over 20 years.67 Israeli soldiers, 5 Israeli civilians and one Thai civilian were killed and 469 IDF soldiers and 261 Israeli civilians were injured. On the Israeli side, the economic impact of the operation is estimated at NIS 8.5 billion and GDP loss of 0.4%. In February 2005 Israel, the Palestinian National Authority and Islamic Jihad committed to a ceasefire, which according to some marks end to the Second Intifada; some place the end-date earlier in October 2004 Others signal the death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004 and the subsequent rise of Hamas as heralding the end of the major period conflict, the second intifada.
However Palestinian suicide bombings against Israelis continued following the February ceasefire. Schachter, addressing the range of end-date options, pointed to the progressive decrease in suicide bombings starting in 2004 and culminating in an indeterminate end period in 2005. On 17 March 2005 the 13 main Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad agreed to be bound by the February agreement, conditional on cessation of Israeli military operations. Concurrent to the Second Intifada, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon proposed the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2003, approved by the Israeli government in June 2004, the Knesset in February 2005; the unilateral withdrawal plan was executed in August 2005 and completed in September 2005. Nonetheless, the ICRC, the UN and various human rights organizations consider Israel still to be the de facto occupying power due to its control of Gaza's borders, air space and territorial waters; the following year Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian legislative elections.
This outcome surprised Israel and the United States who had anticipated the return of the Fatah opposition to power and, together with the Quartet, they demanded Hamas accept all previous agreements, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence. When Hamas refused, they cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority. In mid-2006 an Israeli soldier was captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid; the United States and Israel, in response to Fatah moves in October 2006 to form a unity government with Hamas, tried to undo the elections by arming and training Fatah to overthrow Hamas in Gaza. In June 2007 Hamas took complete power of Gaza by force. Israel defined Gaza as a "hostile territory" forming no part of a sovereign state and put Gaza under a comprehensive economic and political blockade, which denied access to a third of its arable land and 85% of its fishing areas, it has led to humanitarian problems in Gaza. The overwhelming consensus of international institutions is that the blockade is a form of collect