Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Evidence that Hamas has sought to put civilians in the line of fire

A report issued on Monday by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Herzliya presents evidence that during last week's fighting in Gaza, Hamas sought to place civilians in the line of fire and use them as 'human shields' in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (Hat Tip: Melanie Phillips).
19. During the IDF activity in the Gaza Strip both Hamas and the PIJ called upon Palestinian civilians to gather in places where, they claimed, the IDF was about to attack. That was done to have them serve as human shields, exploiting the fact that the IDF avoids deliberately harming Palestinian civilians. The terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip have used the tactic before.

20. The following are examples of calls in the Palestinian media for Palestinians civilians to serve as human shields:

1) Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV and PalMedia Website called upon civilians to form a human shield at the home of Abu al-Hatal in the Sajaiya neighborhood (in Al-Sha'af according to other version) because the IDF had threatened to blow it up (March 1).

The picture above appeared on Hamas' Al-Aqsa television on March 1. The Arabic inscription reads: “Hamas calls upon on [the Palestinian] public to come to the house of Abu al-Hatal in al-Sha'af [neighborhood] to act as human shields” (Al-Aqsa TV, March 1).
2) Al-Aqsa TV called upon the Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip to go to the house of shaheed Othman al-Ruziana to protect it because the IDF was threatening to blow it up (February 29).

3) Al-Aqsa TV called upon the residents of Khan Yunis to gather at the house of Ma'amoun Abu ‘Amer because the IDF was threatening to blow it up (February 28). An hour later dozens of Palestinians from Khan Yunis were reported to have gathered on the roof of Abu ‘Amer's house to serve as human shields to prevent the house from being hit (Pal-today Website, February 28) .

4) Al-Aqsa TV called upon Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip to go to the house of shaheed Musab al-Ja'abir to protect it because Israel was threatening to blow it up (February 29).

5) The PIJ's Radio Sawt al-Quds called upon civilian to gather around the house of Fawzi Abu al-Hamed in the Absan al-Kabira region to prevent it from being blown up by the IDF (March 1).

21. Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya boasted to Al-Jazeera TV of the “firm stance” of the Palestinians. As an example he said that the “occupation” had threatened to blow up buildings but nevertheless hundreds and thousands of Palestinians had left their homes “in the middle of the night” and gone up on the roofs of the houses the Israelis had threatened to blow up (Al-Jazeera TV, February 29).
World Net Daily reports that Hamas terrorists are surrounding themselves with civilians before they fire on Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip:
Amid Israel's ongoing ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas terrorist group has been drawing Israeli forces into populated civilian areas, shooting at Jewish fighters from occupied civilian homes while women and children were inside, an Israel Defense Forces commander fighting in Gaza told WND.

"Hamas terror operatives shooting at us took up positions inside civilian homes while the civilians were still inside," said the commander, who was speaking from the outskirts of an IDF operation in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip.

"The aim is to draw us into killing civilians to bring about international pressure to end our operation," the commander said, speaking on condition his name be withheld due to Israeli military restrictions on media interviews by fighting forces.

The commander said in one case today, four Hamas snipers shot at Israeli forces about from the open window of a home where women can be clearly seen in the background.
The Geneva Convention is quite clear that under these circumstances, the IDF can disregard the civilians and go after the terrorists:
The presence of a protected person [i.e. a civilian. CiJ] may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.
But Israel has shown a reluctance to operate with the full force allowed to it by law. As Melanie Phillips points out (Hat Tip: Ashley in Tel Aviv):
For what the myopic or bigoted west fails to grasp is that the new reality of asymmetric warfare reverses the usual calibration of a country’s military strength. This is because the asymmetry is not confined merely to military hardware. It is because it also relates to the moral calculus of that country. The bitter irony of the western liberals’ grotesque claim that Israel is involved in ‘disproportionate’ violence in Gaza is that, on the contrary, Israel is totally constrained by its own ethical code from fighting on the same basis as the Arabs. So while Israel is earnestly consulting its Supreme Court on the legal criteria of proportionality and human rights that must govern its military strikes, the Arabs not only deliberately target Israeli innocents for mass murder but offer up their own people as bomb fodder. That is what they mean when they gloat that they will win because ‘we love death while you love life’. A contest between those for whom life is sacred and those for whom their own and others’ lives are utterly without value and wholly dispensable on the way to the next world is no contest.
Phillips' solution to this problem is regime change in Iran. She reasons that since Iran is arming and supporting Hamas and Hezbullah and threatening to annihilate Israel with nuclear weapons, Iran is the address that must be attacked. There's a lot to be said for that solution. But it will not save Israel from the necessity of confronting Hamas and Hezbullah, and without a change in Israel's 'moral code' there is no way for Israel to bring about regime change in Iran either. By a change in Israel's moral code, I mean that Israel has to stop adopting the moral code of the West and adopt instead the moral code which Jewish law dictates that a Jewish country ought to adopt.

Jewish law is quite simple when it comes to those who threaten us with death. The rule is that when one comes to kill you, and it is clear as day to you that he is coming to kill you, you must (no options there) kill him first if there is no other way to save your life. Jewish law regards human life - all human life - as sacred. If one threatens you with death if you refuse to kill a third person, you must allow yourself to die rather than kill that third person.

Jewish law also recognizes the concept of a 'rodef' - a pursuer who is attempting to kill the person he is pursuing. You are required to save the person being pursued - whether it is you or someone else. You may even save that person by killing the rodef if there is no other way to save the person being pursued. One may even become a rodef even unwittingly. For example, when a fetus endangers the life of the mother, it is often permitted to abort the fetus - even at full term - because the fetus is a rodef. A 'Palestinian' civilian who is in the line of fire - even unwittingly - may therefore be considered a rodef.

I would argue that if 'Palestinians' are causing the deaths of Israelis by willingly serving as human shields for terrorists who would murder Israelis, they are threatening Israeli lives and (keeping in mind that I am not a Rabbi and therefore cannot rule on what Jewish law is) therefore may be disregarded if they place themselves in the line of fire and there is no other way to remove them without endangering Israeli lives.

If 'Palestinian' civilians are not willingly placing themselves in the line of fire (which seems doubtful based upon the evidence above - 'volunteers' were requested), then Israel should do what it can to avoid killing those civilians, but - again - not at the cost of Israeli lives. Jewish law doesn't differentiate between Israeli soldiers' lives and civilian lives. Under Jewish law, it is questionable whether we are allowed to endanger Israeli soldiers in order to save 'Palestinian' civilians.

In any event, I would argue that what is needed before we can even talk about regime change in Iran or defeating the terrorists is a sea change in Israel's moral code from what secular non-Jewish society regards as moral to what Jewish law - our law - regards as moral. If the 'Palestinian' civilians knew that Israel will react in accordance with Jewish law regardless of what the rest of the world thinks, they might realize that they are endangering themselves and not be so willing to make themselves into human shields in the first place.


At 9:17 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:18 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:20 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

On the surface, its a difficult dilemma since Jewish culture celebrates life - and they on the other hand - the Hamas Islamofascists celebrate death. Under Jewish law, its really a simple matter: when someone is intent on killing you, you should kill him first. You don't have to wait til he acts on his murderous intent... just the knowledge that he will certainly kill you frees you to do whatever is necessary to save your life. Thus, according to the Talmud, pre-emptive killing can in certain circumstances be a moral act because of the lives that it has saved.

One thing is for certain: waiting til the enemy kills someone before responding is not only idly standing by while your brother's blood is being shed, its also elevating your life above that of the other person, which is also forbidden by Jewish law. When the enemy is certain to do greater harm, one must act to prevent greater evil from both being seen and done.


Post a Comment

<< Home