Photo Credit: YouTube
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told an audience in New York that he believed the Israel Defense Force went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in this past summer’s military conflict in Gaza.

The military leader was speaking to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

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In addition to praising the IDF’s efforts to limit civilian casualties, Dempsey also said that the Pentagon sent a team to Israel to see what lessons could be learned from the IDF’s expertise during Operation Protective Edge. This included observing the measures taken by the IDF to prevent civilian casualties and the way in which the Israeli military dealt with the terror tunnels.

The reason this is such extraordinary news is that Israel was criticized harshly and repeatedly for failing to prevent the heavy loss of civilian life during the conflict, which saw more than a thousand Gazans die, including many civilians and children. Various human rights entities accused and continue to accuse Israel of committing war crimes. Even the White House and State Department repeatedly claimed Israel failed to do enough to prevent civilian casualties.

But when asked to address the alleged “callous indifference” by Israel to the extensive damage and civilian deaths, Dempsey told the audience that he though the IDF “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.

“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group. “In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he added.

Dempsey said Hamas had turned Gaza into “very nearly a subterranean society” with tunneling throughout the coastal enclave.

“That caused the IDF some significant challenges. But they did some extraordinary things to try and limit civilian casualties,” Dempsey said, which included “making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure,” Dempsey said.

In addition to dropping warning leaflets, Dempsey said, the IDF developed a technique called “roof-knocking.” This involves dropping a low-yield explosive or non-explosive device on a rooftop. This “knocking” is a warning to residents to leave the building before it is shelled. Of course, even this effort to limit civilian casualties was criticized for not being gentle enough.

Dempsey said civilian casualties during the summer’s conflict were “tragic, but I think the IDF did what they could” to avoid them.

“The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties. They’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel,” Dempsey said.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

70 COMMENTS

  1. HEAVY STONE:

    ZECHARIAH 12:1-3;
    1; This is a message about Israel from
    the Lord, the Lord who spread out the
    skies, created the earth, and gave life
    to man. He says,
    2; I will make Jerusalem like a cup of
    wine; the nations around her will drink
    and stagger like drunken men. And
    when they besiege Jerusalem, the cities
    of the rest of Judah will also be
    besieged.
    3; But when that time comes, I will make
    Jerusalem like a heavy stone any nation
    that tries to lift it will be hurt. All the
    nations of the world will join forces to
    attack her.

    GNB 1994 EDITION…

  2. Gen Patrick Dempsey
    You are truly a good and honest man.
    I hope that the world will take note of what you said.
    the Arabs have been spreading lies about Israel, You, sir, know the truth.

    For the IDF to fight a terrorist war, in built up civilian areas, shows what those savages do. They are too afraid to fight in open areas, which they know would not kill civilians, and that there would be no damage to buildings.

    Unfortunately, the world does not understand the true situation.
    so, blame the Jews.

    And Britain and Sweden expect Israel to accept a murderous terrorist state on the borders.

    I hope that your message will be read by the British parliament and house of Lords.

    Will they rescind what they have done?

    Gen Dempsey, God will bless you, Sir.
    As God said. I will bless those who bless my people Israel. I will curse those who curse my people Israel..
    I hope that those who try to destroy Israel, will learn from those words

    And now, I hope the world will wake up and realise who Abbas really is. He is encouraging car drivers to kill Jews.

    He is no better than Arafat.

    Obama and Kerry, take note.

  3. Gen Patrick Dempsey
    You are truly a good and honest man.
    I hope that the world will take note of what you said.
    the Arabs have been spreading lies about Israel, You, sir, know the truth.

    For the IDF to fight a terrorist war, in built up civilian areas, shows what those savages do. They are too afraid to fight in open areas, which they know would not kill civilians, and that there would be no damage to buildings.

    Unfortunately, the world does not understand the true situation.
    so, blame the Jews.

    And Britain and Sweden expect Israel to accept a murderous terrorist state on the borders.

    I hope that your message will be read by the British parliament and house of Lords.

    Will they rescind what they have done?

    Gen Dempsey, God will bless you, Sir.
    As God said. I will bless those who bless my people Israel. I will curse those who curse my people Israel..
    I hope that those who try to destroy Israel, will learn from those words

    And now, I hope the world will wake up and realise who Abbas really is. He is encouraging car drivers to kill Jews.

    He is no better than Arafat.

    Obama and Kerry, take note.

  4. Edward Lobel Every person who has made a statement has been removed. We will wait and see what happens. Based on your “statement” all of Kerrys stupidity is approved by Barack Hussein. Have a nice Shabbat.

  5. Those who say that Gen Dempsey would not make those comments without the ok from Obama.
    throughout history, the top soldier has taken their presidents to task and taken over their country.
    Just look at Egypt as an example.
    Persia, etc.
    Hopefully Gen Dempey will take over the US and bring that great country back to where it was and should always be.

  6. Duane K Barrick, the little bit I may have forgotten about anything is more than you will ever know!

    When someone like John Jaffe makes an ignorant statement like he did, he needs to know about it! You do know that no matter how wrong you are, you are indeed entitled to your own opinion However you are not entitled to your own facts!

  7. Alan, hope all is well with you and your family! I do believe that sometimes people say the wrong thing, I mean just look at everything that comes out of the mouth of Bachmann, Palin, Goemert, Perry and other morons. I do also think that just because you do not agree with what Kerry says does not make him wrong. I also am not sure your statement that Obama gets rid of people who disagree with him. If you know of some, let me know. Anyway, Have a great weekend and if we do not speak before then, have a great thanksgiving. Shabot Shalom my friend!

  8. HE SHOULD SEND IT AS A PRESS RELEASE TO THE NEW YORK TIMES AND SEE IF THEY WILL PUBLISH IT ON PAGE ONE OTHERWISE EXCLUDE TIMES REPORTERS FROM ANY AND EVERY PRESS CONFERENCE.

    MOREOVER, HE SHOWED OBAMA THE REALITY OF CONFLICT AND THAT ISRAEL DOES WHAT THE USA CANNOT DO.

  9. Those who say that Gen Dempsey would not make those comments without the ok from Obama.
    throughout history, the top soldier has taken their presidents to task and taken over their country.
    Just look at Egypt as an example.
    Persia, etc.
    Hopefully Gen Dempey will take over the US and bring that great country back to where it was and should always be.

  10. Duane K Barrick, the little bit I may have forgotten about anything is more than you will ever know!

    When someone like John Jaffe makes an ignorant statement like he did, he needs to know about it! You do know that no matter how wrong you are, you are indeed entitled to your own opinion However you are not entitled to your own facts!

  11. Alan, hope all is well with you and your family! I do believe that sometimes people say the wrong thing, I mean just look at everything that comes out of the mouth of Bachmann, Palin, Goemert, Perry and other morons. I do also think that just because you do not agree with what Kerry says does not make him wrong. I also am not sure your statement that Obama gets rid of people who disagree with him. If you know of some, let me know. Anyway, Have a great weekend and if we do not speak before then, have a great thanksgiving. Shabot Shalom my friend!

  12. HE SHOULD SEND IT AS A PRESS RELEASE TO THE NEW YORK TIMES AND SEE IF THEY WILL PUBLISH IT ON PAGE ONE OTHERWISE EXCLUDE TIMES REPORTERS FROM ANY AND EVERY PRESS CONFERENCE.

    MOREOVER, HE SHOWED OBAMA THE REALITY OF CONFLICT AND THAT ISRAEL DOES WHAT THE USA CANNOT DO.

  13. "Human Rights" Watch. A shill for terrorists and the Muslim Brotherhood and the OIC.

    And this webpage is a dysfunctional piece of which I hope the idiots in charge will FINALLY f-ing FIX!

  14. Dempsey for President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Head of Homeland Security, the list is endless and the possibilities are 100 times more positive than who is in place today

  15. Dempsey for President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Head of Homeland Security, the list is endless and the possibilities are 100 times more positive than who is in place today

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