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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Eyewitness accounts of Hamas use of human shields in Operation Protective Edge

The Tower Magazine has published eyewitness accounts from IDF soldiers of Hamas' use of human shields during Operation Protective Edge.
Schwartz interviews a number of IDF soldiers for the piece, beginning with Jonny S., a combat solider originally from Maryland. Jonny recounted the ambush that killed Benaya Sarel, Hadar Goldin, and Liel Gidoni on August 1, 2014. An hour after the ceasefire was announced, the unit saw a man in an area that was supposed to be evacuated. When some of the soldiers approached the man they were attacked. Jonny says in retrospect:
I think the whole thing was a trap. It was an hour after the ceasefire, and I think they purposely put a man that looked like a civilian, just a normal man, to kind of entice us to come out to go talk to him, and then waiting down below were a bunch of explosives and a suicide bomber.
Omri, a second IDF soldier who serves as a fighter pilot, tells of one instance when he was ordered to carry out an operation in Shejaiya:
We were sent in during the first week of the ground operation. The ground forces were supposed to be moving into Shejaiya. The civilians were told to vacate by Monday at 12 noon. So when we were sent in, I was supposed to fly in just after 12, and we were told that civilians wouldn’t be there because they were all told to leave. And then we went and we saw civilians everywhere—in houses, on the streets. Only in hindsight did we realize that Hamas had told civilians to stay in their houses.
Another pilot, Capt. Dor, related:
I saw targets in schoolyards, in parks next to swings, and you realize that Hamas takes the most innocent place, next to a swing, and builds a rocket launcher. In his mind, the air force won’t attack it. In his mind there’s more of a chance there will be children nearby. And for Hamas, for children to be killed is a great success. It hurts to think it, but for them it’s a great success. They manage to bring the Israelis to harm by accident innocent children. And we do everything in our power to avoid it, which is a paradox. You do everything in your power to make the Gaza civilians safe, and Hamas does everything in its power to keep civilians in danger.
Read the whole thing. (Source for summary here).

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