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Gaza, By the Numbers

Message Israel Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 31, 2008

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi: 202-857-6644 (office),
Jennifer Packer: 202-857-6657 (office),

Gaza by the Numbers

RSVP for Jan. 5 TIP Conference Call with Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Gillerman

Amb Sallai Meridor
Click here for transcript, audio, video

Israeli Govt. Spokesman Mark Regev transcript and MP3 recording (Dec. 29 conference call)
Israeli Officials and Experts Available for Comment
Video: Palestinian girl says Hamas responsible for war
Videos from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
IDF YouTube Channel
Photos: Israel Under Fire
Humanitarian Aid into Gaza
List of Sderot and Area Contacts Available for Comment
Graph: Rockets and Mortars Fired From Gaza June – December 2008
Iran Press Kit


On Dec. 27, Israel began "Operation Cast Lead" to stop Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza from continuing its years-long campaign of attacking Israeli civilians with thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars. Following are facts and figures to help journalists cover Israel’s defensive efforts in Gaza:

Iran-backed Hamas Rocket, Mortar Attacks and Nuclear Developments


9,400+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since 2003. [1]
3,200+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza in 2008 alone. [2]
6,500+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. [3]
543+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israeli territory during the ceasefire from June 19 to Dec. 19, 2008. [4]
28 deaths caused by rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israel since 2001. The dead include Israelis, Palestinians and foreign workers. Since the ceasefire ended, Iran-backed Palestinian groups in Gaza fired rockets and mortars that killed an Israeli-Arab construction worker and a mother of four who was seeking shelter in a bus station as a rocket warning siren sounded. [5]
1,000+ people in Israel injured from rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since 2001, including Israelis, Palestinians and foreign workers. Since the ceasefire, 44 Israelis have been injured and 200 have been treated for shock. [6]
20,000  Hamas troops Israel is targeting as part of “Operation Cast Lead.” [7]
750,000 number of Israeli civilians Hamas is targeting and can reach. [8]
15 seconds Israelis have to get to a bomb shelter once a warning siren has sounded. [9]
8 years that Israel has been hit by rockets and mortars from Gaza [10]
3 mosques in Gaza used as weapons, ammunitions and explosives depots that were struck by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the operation in Gaza. [11]
4 UN Security Council resolutions passed since 2006 to try to stop Iran from enriching uranium. [12]
5,000+ number of centrifuges operating in Iran to enrich uranium, the material used to produce a nuclear weapon. [13]

Israel’s Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

179 truckloads of humanitarian aid that have been delivered through Israeli crossings into Gaza since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, including basic food commodities, medication, medical supplies, donations of governments and blood units.
106 additional truckloads of humanitarian expected to arrive in Gaza on Jan. 31 [14]
6,500 tons of aid transported into Gaza at the request of international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead.  The World Food Program informed Israel that it will cease shipment of food to Gaza because warehouses are at full capacity, with enough food to last two weeks. [15]

What Israel Gave Up in Hopes of Peace - Gaza Withdrawal Aug. 2005


100% proportion of the Gaza Strip evacuated and handed over to the
Palestinians. [16]
300 square miles of the West Bank evacuated. [17]
21 Israeli settlements uprooted in the Gaza Strip. [18]
4 Israeli settlements uprooted in the West Bank. [19]
48 graves uprooted in Gaza’s former Gush Katif Cemetery, including six graves of area residents murdered by terrorists. [20]
9,000 approximate number of Israelis, including 1,700 families, who lived in Gaza and the northern West Bank. All of them were moved out as part of the withdrawal. [21]
38 synagogues dismantled in the Gaza Strip. [22]
5,000 school-age children who had to find new schools. [23]
42 daycare centers that were closed in the Gaza Strip. [24]
36 kindergartens that were closed in the Gaza Strip. [25]
7 elementary schools that were closed in the Gaza Strip. [26]
3 high schools that were closed in the Gaza Strip. [27]
320 mobile homes, ordered by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, to serve as temporary housing for settlers. [28]
45,000 Israeli soldiers and policemen who participated in the Gaza withdrawal. [29]
$1.7 billion the approximate cost to the Israeli government for the withdrawal initiative. [30]
166 Israeli farmers who were moved out of Gaza. [31]
800 cows, which comprised the second largest dairy farm in Israel, moved out of Gaza’s Gush Katif community. [32]
$120 million value of flowers and produce exported annually from Gush Katif and lost following the evacuation. [33]
1 zoo, the “Katifari,” that housed hundreds of animals and was moved. [34]
10,000 people who were employed in agriculture and related industries in Gush Katif, including 5,000 Palestinians. [35]
60% proportion of Israel's cherry tomato exports that came from the Gaza Strip. Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza extinguished this economic resource. [36]
3.5 million square meters (almost 1,000 acres) of greenhouses abandoned in Gaza. [37]
70 percentage of Israel's organic produce grown in Gaza – another economic resource lost in the evacuation. [38]
60 percentage of herbs exported from Israel that came from Gush Katif. [39]
15 percentage of Israel agricultural exports that originated in Gaza – exports lost following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza. [40]
$360,000 expected average compensation amount Israel expected to pay to relocate each family. [41]
$870 million approximate cost for Israel to facilitate the resettlement of former West Bank and Gaza residents elsewhere in the country. [42]
$500 million amount of money Israel's security establishment spent to relocate Israel Defense Forces bases outside the Gaza Strip and build new border crossing facilities. [43]

After Israel’s evacuation from Gaza…

430,000 West Bank Palestinians able to move freely within and between Palestinian-controlled areas. [44]
1 Israeli remaining in Gaza. Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit was abducted from Israel on June 25, 2006 by Hamas in a bloody cross-border raid in which the terrorists also killed two IDF soldiers and wounded four others. [45]
1.2 million Arabs who remained full and legal citizens of Israel. All Israeli citizens – Christians, Muslims, and Jews – have freedom of speech, religion, press, and the right to vote. [46]
1.3 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip many of them in Palestinian Authority-controlled refugee camps, who live under their own leaders. [47]
820,000 Jewish refugees forced to flee without their belongings from Arab countries between 1947 and 1949, and who have never been compensated by Arab governments for their losses. [48]
650,000 Arab refugees who left Israel from 1947-1949 and still need Palestinian leaders who will end terrorism and the culture of hate. [49]

Israel’s withdrawal from four northern West Bank settlements created an area more than twice the size of Gaza’s 140 square miles under Palestinian control and devoid of any Israeli presence. [50]

Graph: Rockets and Mortars Fired From Gaza June – December 2008

Contact info
Israeli officials and experts in the U.S.

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sallai Meridor
Contact him through Chief of Staff Lior Weintraub at cell: (202) 679-1248 or e-mail:  

Israeli Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff:
office: (202) 364-5578 or cell: (202) 276-3300 or e-mail:

Israeli Embassy Spokesman Jonathan Peled
cell: (202) 276-2800 or e-mail:

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gabriela Shalev
Contact her through spokeswoman Mirit Cohen at cell: (347) 539-1896 or

The Israel Project Founder and President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
cell: 202-365-0787 or

The Israel Project – Israel Office Executive Director Marcus Sheff (in Israel)
cell: 011-972-54-807-9177 or

Israeli officials and experts in Israel
(Please note: to phone from U.S., add 011-972 to beginning of number and remove the “0” at the beginning of the number; outside the U.S., add your country code and then "972"; also remove the "0" from the beginning of the number) 

Deputy Foreign Minister Majalli Whbee (English & Arabic): 050-628-6646

Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General for Media and Public Affairs Aviv Shir-On (English & German): 050-620-3623

Prime Minister's International Media Adviser (English) Mark Regev: 050-620-3264

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor (English, Spanish & French): 050-620-3277

Israeli Ambassador to France Danny Shek (French & English): 050-620-3682

Government Press Office Director Daniel Seaman (English): 050-620-5432

Government Press Office Arabic Dept. Director Dr. Fawaz Kamal (Arabic): 050-620-5427

Foreign Ministry Arabic Dept. Acting Dir. Ophir Gandelman (English & Arabic): 050-620-3548

Former Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzvi Hefetz: (English & Russian): 054-469-6969

Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman (English): 050-688-8777

Col. (res.) Miri Eisin (English): 050-552-0646

BIOS for select Washington- and New York-based officials and experts:

H.E. Sallai Meridor, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States

Before becoming Israel’s ambassador to the United States in late 2006, Ambassador Sallai Meridor served as Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization (WZO) from 1999-2005. Prior to this, Mr. Meridor served as treasurer of the Jewish Agency and the WZO and as head of the Settlement Division of the WZO.

Prior to his work with the Jewish Agency, Mr. Meridor served as an advisor to the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel. In his governmental service, he was involved in the designing of Israel's foreign and defense policies, played a role in the peace process leading to the Madrid Peace Conference, participated in the negotiations that followed as the representative of the Ministry of Defense, and led Israel's Inter-Agency Steering Committee on Arms Control.

Born and educated in Jerusalem Mr. Meridor earned a B.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He served as an intelligence officer in the Israel Defense Forces. He is married and has three daughters.


H.E. Jeremy Issacharoff - Deputy Chief of Mission

2005: Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission to Embassy of Israel in Washington D.C.

2003: Asked by United Nation's Secretary-General to serve on his Advisory Board for Disarmament Affairs, consisting of experts in the realm of arms control and disarmament from approximately twenty countries.

2001: Deputy Director-General For Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Overall responsibility for arms control, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, export controls and regional security.

1999-2001: Head of Regional Security and Arms Control, MFA.

1998-1999: Member of the Strategic Policy Planning Group and the Joint Strategic Planning Committee, both designed to be senior consultative working groups with the United States on strategic and military affairs. In addition, appointed Representative of the Foreign Minister to the Inter-Ministerial Committee, to establish the National Security Council in Israel.

1993- 1998: Minister-Counselor For Political Affairs in Embassy in Washington DC. Responsible for liaison with the State Department and the National Security Council on bilateral policy issues including the peace process, multilateral talks, strategic and military cooperation, arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation with particular emphasis on Iran's efforts in WMD and missile areas. Member of Israeli delegation to the Multilateral Working Group on Arms Control and Regional Security.

1993 - 1993: Policy Counselor in the Foreign Minister's Bureau, Jerusalem.

1989-1993: Personal Adviser to the Director General of the Foreign Ministry. Member of Israeli Delegation to peace talks with Lebanon held in Washington pursuant to Madrid peace conference.

1986-1989: Policy Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations in New York. Responsible for range of policy matters including peace process, disarmament and legal affairs.

1985: Israel's Representative to the First Committee on Disarmament Affairs of the UN General Assembly.

1984: Acting Director of the Disarmament Division in Foreign Ministry and Inter Ministerial Coordinator of the project to establish a Voice of America relay station in Israel.

Full bio:

Jonathan Peled, Israeli Embassy Spokesman

Jonathan Peled joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1992 and is currently Minister-counselor and spokesman of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Before assuming this position he was the Foreign Policy (Diplomatic) Advisor to the Speaker of the Knesset.

Between 2004 and 2006 he served as Israeli Ambassador to El Salvador and Belize. Prior to that he was Foreign Ministry Spokesperson in Jerusalem. Jonathan has held diplomatic postings in Turkey and in Argentina, where he dealt with political affairs, press and information. Before his first posting in Istanbul, he served as Assistant Policy Advisor to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, participating in the peace negotiations following the Oslo Peace Accords.

Jonathan is a graduate of Tel-Aviv University in Political Science and Economics. He holds the rank of Major (res.) in the Israeli Air Force, where he served for 7 years as an Aircrew officer.

Before joining the Foreign Service, and while studying, he worked for EL- AL Israel Airlines.

In addition to Hebrew and English, Jonathan is fluent in Spanish and has a command of German.

Full bio:

H.E. Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations

Ambassador Gabriela Shalev is Israel’s 14th Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She began her tenure on Sept. 3, 2008, marking the first time a woman was appointed to this post.

Amb. Shalev is a leading expert in Israel in the fields of contract law and procurement contracts. Until her early retirement in 2002, she was a full professor of contract law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and wrote nine books and more than 100 articles about contract law. She was formerly the President of the Academic Council and Rector of Ono Academic College in Israel. Amb. Shalev was also a visiting law professor at universities in the U.S., Europe and Canada, including Harvard Law School, Temple University and Boston College. She has received numerous awards and has served on several prestigious boards.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Founder and President, The Israel Project

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is the founder and president of The Israel Project (TIP), an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace. TIP has offices in Washington and Jerusalem.

Mizrahi meets regularly with top Israeli leaders such as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres, Ambassador Sallai Meridor, author Natan Sharansky and many others. She also works frequently with pro-Israel organizations including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Jewish federations, Jewish community relations councils and Hillel organizations.

Mizrahi previously served as a foreign affairs legislative assistant to the U.S. Congress. She studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has degrees in International Relations and Judaic Studies from Emory University. Her work earned her recognition as a "Point of Light" by President H. W. Bush. Mizrahi also has been honored with the Louis D. Brandeis Award by the Baltimore Zionist District. The Forward newspaper has twice listed Mizrahi in its "Forward 50" most influential Jews in America. Mizrahi was recently named to the March of the Living’s newly established advisory board.

Full Bio: [html] [pdf]

Marcus Sheff, Executive Director, TIP Israel Operation

As Executive Director of The Israel Project’s Israel Office, Sheff leads The Israel Project’s team in Israel. In this capacity, he manages the delivery of information from Jerusalem to over 56,000 journalists around the world, as well as day-to-day direct outreach to the 450 members of the foreign press based in Israel. The Jerusalem-based operation drives TIP’s unique programs in Israel, which include regular press conferences and press events, the ‘Intellicopter’ (helicopter) and specially crafted ground tours for the media, as well as TIP’s Media Center in Sderot. TIP’s Israel Office also conducts media training of pro-Israel advocates and outreach to the Arab-language press in Israel and around the world.

Sheff and the Israel team created what has become a vital resource for the media based in Israel, where 70% of the news about the region is gathered. He meets regularly with Israeli leaders, spokespeople, diplomats and NGOs on strategic communications issues and appears regularly in the international media. Sheff has worked as a media and communications professional in Israel for 20 years, beginning as a political reporter for the The Nation and later becoming an editor at The Jerusalem Post. He then set up a strategic communications company whose clients included government ministries, many of Israel's top 20 companies and international publishers and advertising agencies. The company became the leader in its field. After selling the company, Sheff represented international publishers and media organizations in Israel and around the world.

As a reserve officer in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Sheff was a prominent spokesperson for the IDF during all recent crises and trained senior IDF officers in media skills. He has appeared on behalf of the IDF on the BBC, ITV and Sky News, as well as dozens of other US and European TV and radio outlets. He serves on the editorial board of “Engage,” an organization that challenges contemporary anti-Semitism. Sheff studied at the University of Leeds, where he was elected General Secretary of the Leeds University Union and was active in national student politics.


[1] IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Dec. 19, 2008; “Iran-backed Terrorists in Gaza Kill 3, Wound Others in Continuing Rocket Attacks on Israel,” The Israel Project press release, Dec. 29, 2008,{4F0CF025-98BF-4875-A59B-B1F5E4B079F7}&notoc=1; Barzak, Ibrahim and Friedman, Matti, “Israel rejects truce call, pursues bombing Gaza,” Associated Press, Dec. 31, 2008,

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Presentation to Military Attaches,” Israel Ministry of Defense, Dec. 2008

[5] “Rocket and Mortar Fatalities in Israel,” The Israel Project backgrounder,; Kershner, Isabel, “Despite Strikes, Israelis Vow to Soldier On,” The New York Times, Dec. 30, 2008,; “Iran-backed Terrorists in Gaza Kill 3, Wound Others in Continuing Rocket Attacks on Israel,” The Israel Project press release, Dec. 29, 2008, 

[6] “Rocket and Mortar Fatalities in Israel,” The Israel Project backgrounder,; Israeli Police Spokesman in a conversation with The Israel Project, Dec. 31, 2008

[7] Fletcher, Martin, “Analysis: What is Israel's end game in Gaza?”, Dec. 29, 2008,

[8] Meridor, Sallai, The Israel Project press conference with Israeli Ambassador Sallai Meridor, Dec. 30, 2008,{F205EF2D-24F9-4EF2-B1E6-5CBAAFF0B26E}&notoc=1

[9] “IDF Operation in the Gaza Strip,” The Military-Strategic Information Section Daily Update – Day 4, Dec. 30, 2008

[10] “Israeli Injuries and Fatalities Due to Rocket and Mortar Fire,” The Israel Project,

[11] Information relayed by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Dec. 28, 2008; Harel, Amos, Issacharoff, Avi, Haaretz Correspondents, and The Associated Press, “IAF bombs Gaza mosque being used as weapons storehouse,” Dec. 31, 2008,

[12] “Security Council Tightens Restrictions on Iran’s Proliferation-Sensitive Nuclear Activities, Increases Vigilance Over Iranian Banks, Has States Inspect Cargo,” United Nations Security Council, 5848th Meeting, Department of Public Relations, March 3, 2008,

[13] Dareini, Ali Akbar, “Iran says it now runs more than 5,000 centrifuges,” AP, Nov. 26, 2008,

[14] Martin, Patrick, “Israel shoots down ceasefire proposal,”, Dec. 30, 2008,; “FACTBOX-Countries pledge aid to Palestinians in Gaza,” Reuters, Dec. 31, 2008,; “Israel increases humanitarian effort to the Gaza Strip,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 30, 2008,

[15] “12 Palestinians from Gaza transferred to Israeli hospitals for assistance and 2500 tons of humanitarian aid transferred to Gaza,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 31, 2008


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