Does the Israeli military have its moments? Yes, the day the fears came true…

In a March article, The Jerusalem Post detailed a detail from Israel’s “Knock on the Roof” operation.

Photo: Smoke rises from the Gaza Strip after an IDF military strike in August 2014.

During Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, Hamas stored its weapons in homes and apartment buildings, as well as under schools, mosques and hospitals. The IDF knew that if war broke out, Israel would have to find a way to attack its targets while reducing civilian casualties and collateral damage.

The IDF has established a new doctrine of operations. Prior to an attack, it would take the extra precaution of contacting the owners or occupants. People are informed that bombing will be coming soon, and Israel wants to make every effort to reduce casualties and inform people to get out.

Meanwhile, Israeli drones hover overhead each time, observing what is happening in and around homes. Once people are seen running out of the building, Israeli Air Force headquarters will give the green light to fighter pilots or attack helicopters to drop the bombs.

Photo: An Israeli F-15 fighter jet prepares to take off from a base in the south, where F-15s are often used for “rooftop knockdown” operations.

In most cases, this strategy is effective.

The drones would show that the people inside the building had left, the soldiers in the IDF command center would count the number of people who had left, make sure the number matched the intelligence they had received, and then they would give the IAF the green light to attack.

The type of bomb used was chosen based on the target. If it was a private home with a weapons cache hidden in the basement, the bomb needed to be able to penetrate the roof and other floors and detonate only after hitting the basement. If the target was on the second floor, it needed a bomb that was shot at a window and just destroyed the second floor.

For the first 40 air strikes, everything went well. Some officers privately wondered why the Palestinians were not on the roof to stop the bombing.

One officer recalled, “We knew that if they did, we would have to cancel the air strikes.”

One day, his fears came true. A Palestinian told an Israeli intelligence officer that he would not leave.

Knowing there was a drone in the sky, he climbed onto the roof and began making indecent hand gestures toward it.

Disagreements erupted in the command center. Some officers believed Israel needed to continue the offensive.

One of the officers said, “If we don’t attack, we will lose our deterrence,”

Others refused. They said the Jewish state could not attack a building when it knew there were civilians inside. Knowing this, the commander of Southern Command agreed that the air strike could not continue. It was called off.

The next day, another Palestinian refused to leave his home, and a drone reconnaissance aircraft showed him climbing onto the roof as well. The commanders at the center of the attack watched the broadcast with curiosity. In truth, they didn’t know what to do.

On the one hand, they were dealing with a legitimate military target. Yes, it was a house or an apartment building. But under the laws of war, once it’s used for military purposes, it has evolved into a military target.

Zvika Fogel, a retired brigadier general, was in the war room that day. He was a reservist who served as deputy commander of Southern Command in the early 21st century. When Operation Cast Lead broke out, Fogel was called in to run the attack center. He had to sign off on every target, whether it was a home, a mosque or a terrorist fleeing on a motorcycle after firing a rocket.

A few days later, when another Palestinian refused to evacuate his house, an officer on Fogel’s team came up with a new idea. The house was next to an open field. The officer suggested, “Why can’t we use a helicopter and fire some warning rounds into the open area next to the house.”

The Southern Command officer liked the idea and tried it. It did work, and people fled the building. The problem was that the IDF wouldn’t always have open space next to the structure, and it needed to come up with a better way.

The former Nahal Brigade officer stationed at the center of the attack explained, “It’s kind of like what we do with a terror suspect who refuses to leave his home in the West Bank. We would start by firing standard 5.56mm machine gun rounds at the door. If that doesn’t work, we will throw hand grenades.”

In a few more passes, the IDF improved its tactics. It chose a missile developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, which is known for its small size, precision and ability to be configured to carry a limited amount of explosives.

After calling in a refusal to leave home, the Air Force would first fire a missile from a rooftop. It would typically be launched into a corner, away from where people were standing. In some cases, the missile would be configured to explode in mid-air, minimizing the chance of casualties.

Once Palestinians experience a “knock on the roof,” in almost all cases, they will flee the building. After an Israeli drone verifies that the people have left, the IAF will then drop a heavier bomb to destroy the building.

By one count, during the three weeks of Operation Cast Lead, the IDF dropped more than 2.5 million leaflets warning civilians to leave their homes and made more than 165,000 phone calls warning civilians to stay away from military targets. Rooftop banging tactics were also used dozens of times.

Yet. In a report issued by the United Nations, Israel was heavily criticized for its use of “roof banging,” with investigators concluding that “this technique is ineffective as a warning and is an attack on civilians living in buildings.

IDF legal expert Sharvit Baruch, who is also a member of the IDF, said that the IDF’s legal team had been working with the IDF on the case. Sharvit-Baruch explained, “Even though warning shots are considered ‘attacks,’ it is incorrect to consider them as attacks ‘against civilians,’ because they are not shots at civilians, as they are intended to avoid causing harm to civilians.

Despite criticism, Israel has continued to use “knock on the roof”.

Israel could have taken the easy way out and struck without a phone call or warning of the attack, but it did not. This is the story of “knocking on the roof.