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From 'Shield' to 'Edge': How Israel names its military ops

"The names of Israeli military operations are first chosen in Hebrew and then suitably translated into Arabic and English before being officially announced,"

From 'Shield' to 'Edge': How Israel names its military ops


The name of the latest Israeli offensive against Gaza – "Operation Protective Edge" – was changed in its translation to English to give a more "defensive" connotation, according to Israeli military spokesman for Arab Media Avichay Adraee.

"The names of Israeli military operations are first chosen in Hebrew and then suitably translated into Arabic and English before being officially announced," Adraee told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

"However, the name of this operation ["Protective Edge"] was modified in English to give it a more defensive connotation," he said.

On Tuesday morning, Adraee said via Twitter – in Arabic – that "Operation Resolute Cliff" was about to be launched against Gaza-based resistance movement Hamas.

The operation's name in English, however, was presented as "Operation Protective Edge."

"I chose 'Resolute Cliff' in Arabic because it carries a meaningful message to the Israeli people that they should remain resolute in the face of threats," Adraee said.

"This in itself is a message to our enemies who are targeting us," he added.

"The name is also appropriate in Hebrew," Adraee said. "It calls on the Israeli people to stand firm; we have started a battle from which we will emerge victorious and even more resolute."

Adraee admitted to "not understanding" exactly how Israeli operation names were generated or chosen.

"Sometimes they're generated electronically and other times by people," Adraee said. "Before choosing, we test all suggestions in terms of how they will appeal to the Israeli and the international community."

At least 17 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday in Israeli airstrikes across the Gaza Strip after Israel said that its air and naval forces had struck 50 sites across the coastal territory in overnight raids.

Israel also said troops were being mobilized on the border with the Palestinian enclave for a possible ground operation as part of its offensive, which Israel says is aimed at staunching rocket fire from Gaza.

According to Israel, Gaza-based Palestinian groups have fired over 450 rockets into its territory since the beginning of the year.

The latest escalations comes amid tensions over the killing of three teenage Jewish settlers in the West Bank last month and the subsequent murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy by Jewish settlers.

Prior to the launch of the offensive, at least 12 Palestinians were killed and over 600 injured by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, along with arrest campaigns in the West Bank, launched with the stated aim of searching for three missing settlers.

"Operation Protective Edge" is Israel's third major army operation in Gaza within the past six years.

In late 2008/early 2009, Israel's "Operation Cast Lead" – which involved both air strikes and ground operations over a three-week period – killed at least 1100 Palestinian civilians, according to a 2013 report by international rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Palestinian civil society, however, has put the death toll from "Operation Cast Lead" at over 1400.

In 2012, Israel carried out an eight-day offensive against the Gaza Strip dubbed "Pillar of Defense," in which at least 43 Palestinian civilians were killed, according to HRW, which described the offensive as a "violation of the laws of war."

The head of Hamas' military wing, Ahmed al-Jabari, was also killed during the 2012 offensive, which only ended after Cairo – under then-president Mohamed Morsi – successfully brokered a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

Last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel should consider re-occupying the Gaza Strip through an elaborate ground offensive like 2002's "Operation Defensive Shield" in the West Bank.

"Defensive Shield" was the largest Israeli military campaign in the Palestinian Territories since they were first occupied by the self-proclaimed Jewish state in 1967.

By Abdel-Raouf Arnaout 

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