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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hamas members ordered to stay in uniform, but hiding in hospitals okay

Hamas is trying to regroup after the pasting it took in Operation Cast Lead. The group was disappointed that it did not achieve any of its objectives for that conflict: Kidnap an Israeli soldier, shoot down an Israeli helicopter or jet, or destroy an Israeli tank. To that end, it has been smuggling new missiles into the Gaza Strip through some 160 tunnels from Sinai into the narrow Strip. The tunnels aren't exactly what you're thinking either.
Militants currently have 160 tunnels beneath the Sinai border that they are using to smuggle longer range rockets, anti-tank missiles and perhaps even anti-aircraft missiles, security sources say. Some of the tunnels are large and sturdy enough to let small all-terrain vehicles pass.
Hezbullah has been helping their younger cousins in the south to develop a strategy that will make the next battle a more effective one for Hamas.
With the help of the Hezbollah, it has drawn up a new strategy of engagement with the IDF based on anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, instead of mining roads or booby-trapping houses.

Hamas is currently training units to operate its new missiles.
But most important, Hamas' troops are being trained to keep their uniforms on.
Israeli officials say Hamas military commanders have recognized that their militants' decision to take off their fatigues and don civilian clothing a few days into the fighting was a mistake. The Islamic group believes the decision damaged morale and was perceived by Gazans as indicative that they had lost control of the territory.

Hamas militants are now under orders to stay in uniform even if this makes them more easily targeted in Israeli air strikes.
Not to mention that it was a violation of the Geneva Convention, although it probably did bring Hamas the advantage of having a few more civilian casualties to show off.

I wonder if this means that the Hamas leadership won't be hiding in hospitals next time - another violation of the Geneva Convention that has now been confirmed.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh operated a command and control center inside Shifa Hospital in downtown Gaza City throughout Operation Cast Lead in January, the IDF revealed on Wednesday.

IDF probes opened following the offensive discovered that Haniyeh and other senior Hamas commanders took over a ward of the hospital, the Gaza Strip's largest, and set up a command center for the duration of the campaign.

Hamas believed that Israel would not target the hospital due to the high risk of collateral damage.

Guards were posted at the entrance to the ward and field commanders took advantage of the humanitarian corridor and cessation of action that the IDF instituted every day for several hours, to enter the hospital and meet with senior Hamas officials to receive instructions.

Senior Hamas commanders also set up a command center in a Red Crescent Society clinic in Khan Yunis and used it as a detention center.
The recently concluded IDF probe into alleged targeting of civilians during Operation Cast Lead also disclosed some other neat tidbits:
The probe also uncovered a number of cases during which Hamas used ambulances to transport operatives. Testimony by a Gazan medical worker and obtained by the IDF revealed how Hamas forced the Red Crescent to hand over medic and nurse uniforms for its operatives.

During the probe, the army also looked into a complaint filed by the United Nations that the air force had bombed an UNRWA vehicle in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in southern Gaza City. The probe revealed that the vehicle was bombed since it did not have markings and was driving at night in an area off limits to civilian vehicles.

Furthermore, the UN vehicle was used to transport a Palestinian anti-tank squad and was bombed after it unloaded the squad. The driver was wounded; he was later identified as the former driver of Hamas co-founder Ahmed Yassin, who was killed by Israel in 2004.
I'm sure Mads Gilbert (pictured above) knew nothing about Haniyeh being in the hospital when he did this interview with al-Beeb at the height of the conflict. Let's go to the videotape.

Please remember that interview the next time there's a war here. Heh.


At 4:15 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Maybe Hamas wants to fight bravely. If they are manly enough, their jihadists will fall in front of IDF tanks for Allah.

Somehow I doubt their "leaders" will set a personal example.



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