This weekend marks the first “anniversary” of weekly Gaza border demonstrations that came to be known as the “March of Return”. The following is a statistical review of the past year’s incidents in relation to these demonstrations, culled from open sources and official data.

The total number of border incidents since 30 March 2018 stands at 2199, including:

  • 1,233 rocket/mortar bomb launches
  • 18 incidents of gunfire from the Gaza Strip
  • 94 IED incidents, where one or several explosive devices were hurled across the security barrier
  • 600 Molotov cocktail incidents
  • 152 incidents of arson/burning tires/hurling of various objects

November 2018 saw the biggest surge in the number of rocket launches from Gaza territory, with 460 confirmed incidents. While over 100 of those were intercepted by the IDF Iron Dome air defense system, the rocket fire has inflicted casualties: 1 Israeli was killed, 3 were severely wounded, 123 suffered light-to-moderate injuries. Violent attacks at the security barrier also caused casualties: 1 Israeli soldier was killed, 4 were severely wounded, and 12 suffered light-to-moderate injuries.

Beyond the border area, arson balloons and kites launched from the Gaza Strip are believed to have caused a total of 1,963 fires, sometimes as many as 30+ in a single day. Earlier this week, a shepherd was caught in one such outdoor fire, miraculously escaping with only light injuries.

These fires have caused extensive damage in a land area of approximately 35 square kilometers, including 13 sq. km. of nature reserves and 11 sq. km. of Jewish National Fund forests. The combined damages suffered by Israelis due to rocket fire and arson balloons from Gaza are estimated at approximately 35 million NIS.

Official data sources for this review: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Israel Police Spokesperson’s Office, National Fire and Rescue Authority, Israel Tax Authority, Jewish National Fund, Israel Nature and Parks Authority and local authorities in the areas surrounding the Gaza Strip.

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Noam Bedein is a director of the Sderot Media Center. It is a media advocacy center which portrays the human face of Sderot and southern Israel under siege, to the international media and public. Noam, a native of Tzfat, grew up in Efrat, Israel. After finishing the Beit El Yeshiva High School, Noam learned at a pre-Army training program in the Jordan Valley and then served for three years as an IDF sergeant for an artillery scout unit along the Lebanese border. After the army, Noam served as an emissary for The Jewish Agency in Boston, Massachusetts and then traveled for a year in the Far East. Upon his return to Israel, Noam relocated to Sderot and pioneered the “Sderot Media Center for the Western Negev Ltd", which has spawned the Sderot Media Center. In this position, Noam is a photojournalist, lecturer and gives briefings to foreign government officials, embassies, foreign press and student groups from around the world.


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