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War expert: 'Israel has implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other military in the history of war'

Israeli forces in Gaza (Photo: IDF)

John Spencer, the chairman of Urban Warfare Studies at West Point's Modern War Institute in New York, posted a thread to his X account on Tuesday stating that Israel’s military does more to prevent and minimize civilian casualties than any military in the history of warfare.

Spencer, a retired U.S. military officer and internationally recognized expert in urban warfare, regularly consults for United States Army Forces Command units, the United Nations and other organizations.

His research is focused on military operations in dense urban areas, megacities, and urban and subterranean warfare.

Spencer listed numerous examples of the lengths that Israel Defense Forces is willing to go to protect civilians in Gaza. He concluded that those who criticize Israel’s military strategy do not take into account the context in which Israel is fighting in Gaza.

“Israel has implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other military in the history of war. While some have argued Israel could have waited longer, used different munitions, or not conducted the war at all – [they] all [failed] to acknowledge the context of Israel’s war… [they are overlooking] the hostages, rockets, tunnels, existential threat of Hamas, and more,” Spencer wrote.

He pointed out that Israel both warns civilians ahead of a strike and evacuates urban areas before launching military attacks, noting that the IDF waited weeks before launching a ground operation in northern Gaza in order to give civilians time to evacuate to safer zones.

“Call/Text ahead of a strike with (at times) roof-knocking (no military has every implemented in war)…Provide warning and evacuate urban areas/cities before the full combined air and ground attack begins. While the tactic does alert the enemy defender and provide them the military advantage to prepare further, it is one of the best ways to prevent civilian casualties… weeks of warnings and time for civilians to evacuate multiple cities in Northern Gaza before starting the main air-ground attack of urban areas,” Spencer continued in his lengthy thread on X.

He emphasized that no other military in the history of warfare has provided the kind of warnings that Israel does.

“Use of real phone calls (19,734) to civilians in the combat areas, SMS texts (64,399) and pre-recorded calls (almost 6 million) to civilians to provide instructions on evacuations. No military has ever done this in urban warfare history,” he wrote.

Spencer also pointed out that no other military provides civilians with updates as to where it will be operating.

“The distribution of Israel military maps and urban warfare graphic (GRG - gridded reference graphic) to the civilians to assist with day to day evacuations, alerting civilians and enemy to where the IDF will be operating. No military in history has ever done this.”

The West Point expert also noted that the circumstances of Israel’s war in Gaza are unique and that there are no precedents in modern times.

“No military in modern history has faced 30k defenders embedded in more than 7 cities, using human shields and hundreds of miles of underground networks purposely built under civilian sites while holding hundreds of hostages and launching over +12k rockets at the attacking military's civilian areas.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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