Latest Report

Defending the Fence: Legal and Operational Challenges in Hamas-Israel Clashes, 2018-19

On March 18, the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will hold a hearing and issue a report likely accusing Israel of violating international law through its use of force in response to the March of Return demonstrations on the Gaza border last year. An advance report by a special U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) claims these events have been “civilian in nature” and that Israel intentionally shot unarmed civilians, “despite seeing that they were clearly marked as such.” Its criticisms of Hamas’ actions are conspicuously far less prominent.

Our Task Force recently visited the Gaza border on a fact-finding mission, meeting with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and commanders, high-ranking Israeli defense officials, U.N. officials, independent media and others.

This brief report is thus an update and addendum to a JINSA-commissioned assessment of Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge against Hamas. It aims to provide crucial context and thereby inform opinion in response to the COI report and UNHRC hearing.


Following our operational and legal review of recent regional conflicts, including the March of Return, this report arrives at very different conclusions than the UNHRC.

Specifically, we assess:

  • Hamas systematically violated international law by purposely using Gazan Palestinian civilians as human shields for attacking Israel, provoking Israeli actions that would lead to civilian casualties, and attacking Israeli civilians indiscriminately;

  • Israel’s rules of engagement in addressing the March of Return are consistent with international law and operational practice;

  • Despite this, Hamas exploited Gazan civilian casualties to propagate a false narrative of illegal Israeli use of force to delegitimize and pressure Israel; and

  • The COI’s findings reflect the success of Hamas’ tactics, and they encourage Hamas and other militant and terrorist groups to continue such illegal tactics against not only Israel but also the United States – at the direct expense of civilians that will be injured and killed by these actions.

Past Reports

Israel's Next Northern War: Operational and Legal Challenges

This report provides a detailed analysis of the increasingly prevalent phenomenon of hybrid warfare, where law-abiding militaries, like the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), confront non-state actors, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, that blend unrestricted warfare tactics and sophisticated information operations with the advanced weaponry of modern conventional forces.

When the next Israel-Hezbollah conflict erupts, it will bear little resemblance to anything that has come before between Israel and its adversaries. Changes in the strategic environment in the twelve years since the last Israeli-Hezbollah conflict will translate into unparalleled death and destruction, because Hezbollah now possesses more firepower than 95 percent of the world’s conventional militaries, and more rockets and missiles than all European NATO members combined.

Against the backdrop of this looming conflict, the report covers the operational and legal challenges confronting Israel in this next, unprecedently destructive, armed conflict with Hezbollah and potentially other adversaries, including Iran.

It also articulates how actions taken by U.S., Israeli, and other allied militaries in actual combat situations comply with, and often exceed, the requirements of the law of armed conflict. Conversely, the report highlights how Hezbollah will intentionally exploit that same body of law to stymie the IDF in battle and discredit the latter's self-defense operations in the hopes to securing a strategic victory in the forum of public opinion.

Monday, October 29, 2018

What is the Hybrid Warfare Task Force?

The Hybrid Warfare Task Force was established by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s (JINSA) Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy to articulate how actions taken by U.S., Israeli, and other allied militaries in actual combat situations comply with, and at times exceed, the requirements of the law of armed conflict (LOAC).

It is composed of highly-distinguished senior operational and legal U.S. military officers.

They are supported by the Gemunder Center's excellent and very capable staff.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are those solely of the Hybrid Warfare Task Force. They do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of JINSA, its founders, or its board of directors.

Latest Op-Eds

US has Given Lebanese Armed Forces a Pass with Hezbollah — Conditioning Aid is Necessary

LtGen Richard Natonski, USMC (ret.)

Lt Gen Thomas “Tom” Trask, USAF (ret.)

The Hill

Friday, July 5, 2019

UN Report on IDF Response to Hamas Are Misguided and Pose Serious Concerns

LtGen Kenneth J. Glueck, USMC (ret.)

COL Ian G. Corey, USA (ret.)

The Hill

Friday, March 29, 2019

US Should Sanction Hezbollah-Controlled Govt. to Counter Attack Tunnels in Lebanon

Jonathan Ruhe

Harry Hoshovsky

The Hill

Thursday, March 21, 2019

In Gaza, Israel Is Complying With the Law of Armed Conflict While Hamas Exploits It

LtGen John Toolan, USMC (ret.)

Morning Consult

Monday, March 4, 2019

Hezbollah's Tunnels Offer Sneak Peek at Looming Major Conflict with Israel

LtGen Kenneth J. Glueck, USMC (ret.)

LTG Michael S. Tucker, USA (ret.)

LTC Geoffrey Corn, USA (ret.)

The Hill

Monday, February 25, 2019

Congress Should Be Wary of Funding the Lebanese Armed Forces

LTG John "Mick" Bednarek, USA (ret.)

LtGen Richard Natonski, USMC (ret.)


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Israel’s Next Northern War: Operational and Legal Challenges

Gen Gilmary "Mike" Hostage, USAF (ret.)

LTC Geoffrey Corn, USA (ret.)


Monday, November 5, 2018

Israel's Security Remains Fragile

LtGen Richard Natonski, USMC (ret.)

LTC Geoffrey Corn, USA (ret.)

Washington Examiner

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Human Shields and Other Tactics of Israel's Enemies

Gen Gilmary "Mike" Hostage, USAF (ret.)

LtGen Richard Natonski, USMC (ret.)

Washington Examiner

Friday, July 27, 2018

Press Room

Aaron Bandler

AJC Panel: Combating Hezbollah’s Terror Tactics

Jewish Journal

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Hollie McKay

Critics Slam UN for Pointing Fingers at Israel in New Report While Not Also Condemning Hamas' Use of Human Shields

Fox News

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Molly Prince

Ted Cruz Slams the UN for Defending Hamas Over Israel: It’s ‘Absurd and Dishonest’

The Daily Caller

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Nic Rowan

Cruz, Military Experts Slam U.N. Report Suggesting Israel Committed War Crimes Responding to Gaza Border Riots

The Washington Free Beacon

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 Staff

U.S. Ambassador at UNHRC: Applying One Standard to Israel and No One Else is Anti-Semitic

The Tower

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Joel Gehrke

Ted Cruz: 'Useful idiots' at United Nations help Hamas

Washington Examiner

Monday, March 18, 2019

Aaron Bandler

Sen. Cruz Calls UNHRC Israel Report ‘Absurd and Dishonest’

Jewish Journal

Monday, March 18, 2019

Amos Harel

Israel Seeks to Leverage Op Against Hezbollah Tunnels to Complete Lebanon Border Wall


Monday, December 10, 2018

Sean Savage

Hezbollah Has More Firepower Than "95 Percent of World’s Conventional Militaries" Report Warns

Jewish News Syndicate (JNS)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Latest Analyses

Lt Col Rachel E. VanLandingham, USAF (ret.)

LTC Geoffrey Corn, USA (ret.)

The Flawed Human Rights Watch Report on Gaza


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Peter Margulies

LTC Geoffrey Corn, USA (ret.)

Use of Force at the Gaza Border: A Hybrid Approach to Tactical Challenges


Wednesday, June 20, 2018


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