December 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Creates Maps of Gaza Strip to Aid Civilian Evacuations

December 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Creates Maps of Gaza Strip to Aid Civilian Evacuations

Latest Developments

The Israeli military has taken additional steps in recent days to mitigate civilian casualties in Gaza. On December 8, an Israeli spokesman said Israel has identified approximately 150 shelters in Gaza where civilians will be safe from Israeli strikes. This is in addition to the designated safe zone of al-Mawasi, which remains a safe zone even though Gaza terrorists reportedly launched rockets from that location towards Israeli communities on December 7.

The IDF published a new interactive map on December 1 that divides the entire Gaza Strip into hundreds of individually numbered blocks. Using Arabic-language media outlets and social media, the IDF has since repeatedly identified the areas in which Israeli forces would be operating. In previous engagements, the IDF warned civilians of upcoming airstrikes by dropping leaflets, making telephone calls, or dropping roof-knocking bombs — non-lethal bombs dropped on the roofs of buildings to warn residents that an airstrike on the building is imminent.

In addition, Jerusalem and the United Nations signaled on December 7 that Israel would soon open the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel to Gaza to increase the flow of humanitarian goods into the enclave. Before the October 7 massacre, the crossing served as the entry point for the majority of goods that entered the Mediterranean enclave, but it has been closed since the war began.

Expert Analysis

“Unlike Hamas, the IDF does not target civilians. Israel has taken laudable steps to mitigate civilian casualties in Gaza — despite knowing that some of the measures could benefit the enemy.” Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The maps work. Palestinians are adhering to the IDF’s guidance to vacate areas deemed to be potential danger zones. Consequently, this represents a setback for Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups who exploit the Gaza populace as human shields in an effort to safeguard their resources against Israeli attacks.”Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hamas Terrorists Exploit Palestinian Civilians

Meanwhile, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad continue to use hospitals, schools, and heavily populated areas to protect their fighters and military infrastructure. On December 6, the IDF said it had discovered a Hamas weapons cache near a school and hospital in northern Gaza. The cache reportedly was the largest one seized so far, comprising hundreds of rocket-propelled grenades, dozens of anti-tank missiles, long-range rockets, grenades, other explosives, and several drones.

Hamas Prevents Evacuation of Palestinian Civilians

During its invasion of northern Gaza, the IDF urged civilians to flee to the southern half of the coastal enclave. While hundreds of thousands of Gazans complied, many remained. Hamas ordered Gazans not to evacuate. Mosques in Gaza reportedly broadcast messages instructing civilians to stay put. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who lives in Qatar and Turkey, asserted on October 14 that the people of Gaza would remain in place. That same day, the IDF published imagery showing Hamas establishing roadblocks on Gaza’s central artery, preventing civilians from reaching shelter in the south.

Israel Enters Hamas Stronghold in Gaza’s South,” FDD Flash Brief

Residents of Hamas Stronghold In Southern Gaza Urged to Evacuate,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas officials admit its strategy is to use Palestinian civilians as human shields,” by Natalie Ecanow


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