According to Benjamin Netanyahu source, Israel is apparently at war with Palestine, if that's really the case, then why would they announce their attacks and bombings beforehand to Palestine?

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    Are they? A number of press reports interviewing Palestinians in this war say they had no warning of individual strikes. Dropping leaflets asking 1 million inhabitants to evacuate is not the same thing. Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 8:29
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    It seems it is sometimes giving forewarning and sometimes not. Sometimes a warning that is not given early enough to reasonably alert and evacuate everyone in a building. Israel does want to manage civilian casualties -- not too little, not too much -- because there is actually a limit to how much slaughter Israel's essential sponsor, the US, will tolerate.
    – user10094
    Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 14:06
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    Because there is a huge international audiences right now. For the sake of political showmanship, BN has to show his side is the most just one, which means he needs to do this seemingly counterintuitive thing, and when the attack comes and there is a huge amount of palestinian casualty, he can blame hamas for using human shield. It happens before with the whole "I can't forgive them for forcing us to kill their children" speech by past Israel leaders
    – Faito Dayo
    Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 16:33
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    The answer is, this practice was ceased. Instead, it was announced, that if you are aware of any military activity, you should stay out of it. Specifically, if there is a military target in your building - leave it now. Anyone, who do not leave military base [i.e. military target inside a building makes it a base] is a militant, and not a civilian.
    – dEmigOd
    Commented Oct 15, 2023 at 6:37
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    Warnings of coming attacks can be used as a form of psychological warfare. Although speculating about the reason behind Israeli actions in the current conflict is probably only going to be speculation rather than fact, making it off-topic and unsuitable for answers.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 9:43

4 Answers 4


Israel has been deeply criticized in the past for civilian deaths, especially in Gaza. Hamas is notorious for intermixing military equipment and personnel with civilians. Amnesty International had this criticism in 2021

The organization has documented four deadly attacks by Israel launched on residential homes without prior warning and is calling for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to urgently investigate these attacks. The death toll in Gaza continues to climb with at least 198 Palestinians killed including 58 children and more than 1,220 injured. Ten people in Israel, including two children, have been killed and at least 27 injured by Palestinian attacks.

Israel tries to avoid such deaths by issuing warnings ahead of time (from May 2023)

An owner of a five-story Gaza apartment building said he was warned by the Israeli military on Thursday to evacuate before an airstrike hit and demolished it, as Hamas and Israel continue to launch rockets and airstrikes.

"The building is residential, what is in to hit?" said the owner, who preferred to remain anonymous for his security. The Israeli military later said the building contained intelligence offices of Hamas, an Islamic militant group. The firing of rockets began on Monday, and Israel has since destroyed three high-rise buildings it believed had Hamas offices, after telling civilians to leave the area.

Part of this is pragmatic. Dead Palestinian civilians do not serve any purpose for Israel. But there is a political aim as well: Hamas openly uses its civilian population as a shield. In 2014 it was revealed that Hamas had its headquarters beneath a Gaza City hospital

So why isn’t the fact that Hamas uses Shifa Hospital as a command post making headlines? In part, it’s because the location is so un-secret that Hamas regularly meets with reporters there. On July 15, for example, William Booth of the Washington Post wrote that the hospital “has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices.” Back in 2006, PBS even aired a documentary showing how gunmen roam the halls of the hospital, intimidate the staff, and deny them access to protected locations within the building—where the camera crew was obviously prohibited from filming.

Or hiding munitions inside schools

The United Nations has found troves of rockets hidden in three of its schools since the conflict began. “We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school,” Chris Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, said in statement published Wednesday by the Times of Israel. “This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of U.N. property.”

Even longtime critics of the IDF have admitted the IDF values life

Israel cannot win this war just by killing all the terrorists. It is determined to break the power of Hamas, and in that effort it deserves the support of the United States and the rest of the world. But it can succeed only by upholding the rules and norms of behavior that Hamas so wantonly ignores. What Israel is fighting to defend is a society that values human life and the rule of law. To do that, the means and the ends of its military response must be consistent.


Hamas is known to hide its fighters among civilians, and an indifference to their suffering is central to its brand of terrorism. Hamas is using the people of Gaza as human shields against Israel’s bombing campaign, and as Gazans try to escape, Hamas still holds the hostages who were kidnapped last Saturday. The group has threatened to kill them one by one with every airstrike that hits Gazans in their homes.


This may show that Israeli actions are still pragmatic rather than emotional.

There is nothing really useful for them from killing lots of civilians, unless they really plan to kill a sizeable percent of two million population. There is also obvious harm: this builds up the negative reputation worldwide that may result less countries supporting them, and still supporting countries providing less support.

While civilian casualties are inevitable in any war, a competent commander in would usually avoid very extreme disproportion. This would also explain why they are not always doing: may depend on the military context, how much it is critical to have the attack really unexpected.

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    Also, by doing so they signal a clear difference to what Hamas did, who definitely did not warn any Isreali civilians before their recent attack.
    – vsz
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 5:05

Roof knocking (Hebrew: הקש בגג) or "knocks on the roof" is a term used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to describe its practice of dropping non-explosive or low-yield devices on the roofs of targeted civilian homes in the Palestinian territories as a prior warning of imminent bombing attacks to give the inhabitants time to flee the attack. The practice was employed by the IDF during the 2008–2009 Gaza War, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, and Operation Protective Edge in 2014 to target the homes of police officers or Hamas political or military leaders.

Roof knocking occurred during some strikes in the October 2023 Gaza−Israel conflict.

During the 2023 Israel–Hamas war, CNN reported that many people in Gaza said the IDF had abandoned the "roof knocking" policy. In October 2023, a senior Israeli official stated that the practice would no longer be the norm and would only be used under certain circumstances. An IDF officer told the New York Times that instead of the "roof knocking" policy, Israel is issuing mass evacuation orders and leaflets stating that "anyone who is near Hamas fighters will put their lives in danger."



Adding on to the other answer here, I don't think they have a reason to hide it.

Israel's current plan is quite clear even if the intention is still debatable. Bomb Gaza pretty much everywhere. They have dropped more than 6000 bombs already and as of writing this, there's no sign they're stopping.

Considering the bombing appears to be targetting most of Gaza, with bombs targetting the Rafah Crossing, schools, universities, UNRWA offices, the north (most clearly), etc., it turns the whole "element of surprise" angle quite meaningless. Add onto this the fact that the whole Gaza strip is landlocked and sealocked, so there's nowhere to escape to.

All of that to say that Israel has no reason to hide where they're going to bomb since it's not like Hamas can up and leave, and the stated goal is to cause as much damage as possible (to places where Hamas operates, supposedly) which is also not going anywhere.

Now the reason they would prefer to actively notify residents is because it reduces international backlash and gives them the argument that they notified the affected civilians before doing it.

However, keep in mind that Israel has not and does not always notify civilians before doing this. Whether that's because they don't care to or for the sake of having the element of surprise, we can't know for sure.

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    Notifying civilians is not required by international law, as long as there is reasonable military necessity to execute the operation. However, Israel does notify civilians before attacking targets that can probably not be moved, like terror infrastructure. Israel does not notify anyone, when the target is a high ranking terrorist who needs to be sent to...
    – Jacob3
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 17:30
  • @Jacob3 Indeed, my intention was not to claim that they "should" notify, but rather correct the somewhat subtle implication in the question that they always do. Also, my statement was specifically regarding notifying civilians, I do no expect anyone to notify the enemy they are striking before they strike them. Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 17:48

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