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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Shocka: 'Palestinians' using Israeli warnings to 'organize' human shields

Arutz Sheva reports that a study by the Terror and Intelligence Information Center shows that when the IDF warns Arab civilians of an impending attack in their neighborhood, Hamas uses the information in order to organize the civilians into human shields in the hope of protecting the targets from the IDF's wrath. The Center explains that Hamas considers this a 'win-win' situation:
If the IDF cancels its planned attack on a terror target, the terrorists receive a respite. If the IDF attacks despite the human shields, it can then be portrayed as a killer of women and children. The tactic was inspired by the experience of Hizbullah is using such methods against Israel, the study determines.
The study notes that Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh (still in hiding) and Nizar Riyyan (who was killed by the IDF last week) publicly boasted of using the tactic. The real questions are why the world allows Hamas to get away with this tactic, and why their use of this tactic should surprise anyone.

Why the world allows Hamas to get away with this tactic is easy. The world holds Israel to an impossible standard that no other country in the world is asked to meet, and Israel goes along with it. It does so partly out of latent (and not-so-latent) anti-Semitism and partly out of international agencies instinctively favoring the side that is perceived as the underdog.

Consider this excerpt from a lengthy statement by 'Human Rights Watch' in 2006. But first, please vote for Israel Matzav (ME) as Best Midsize blog in the 2008 Weblog Awards by going here. With all the hits I'm getting because of the war, I should be far ahead of the competition. Sadly, I'm not.

Now, the excerpt:
On November 3 the BBC also reported that Hamas radio broadcasted an appeal to local women to go to a mosque to protect 15 alleged militants holed up inside from Israeli forces surrounding the building. Many women went to the mosque and reportedly two were killed and 10 more injured when Israeli forces opened fire.

It is a war crime to seek to use the presence of civilians to render certain points or areas immune from military operations or to direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attack. In the case where the object of attack is not a legitimate military target, calling civilians to the scene would still contravene the international humanitarian law imperative for parties to the conflict to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from the effects of attack. In the event that such abuse takes place, however, parties to the conflict remain obliged under international humanitarian law to take precautionary measures and not to target civilians or cause excessive civilian injury or damage in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage.

In other words, while civilians placing themselves in the way of military actions take on heightened risks, they cannot be considered legitimate targets by the opposing force, and parties to the conflict should cancel or suspend attacks where excessive civilian damage is anticipated. Human Rights Watch said that the IDF had properly respected its obligations under international humanitarian law in suspending the attack on the Baroud home that would have caused substantial civilian harm.
But when it comes to Israel, Human Rights Watch believes that it's a 'war crime' to treat the 'Palestinians' as if they've committed a war crime.
Human Rights Watch, however, also reminded the IDF that even in the absence of deliberately orchestrated measures to maximize a civilian presence near its targets, any destruction of civilian property must be done strictly in compliance with international humanitarian law. An ostensibly civilian object such as a home can be the subject of attack only if it is being used for military purposes at the relevant time and its destruction makes a direct and immediate contribution to the fighting.

“The IDF should immediately explain what its military objective is in targeting the homes that it has ordered to be vacated,” said Whitson.
In other words, the IDF has to release a statement saying "we're about to attack a home that has a munitions dump in the basement" before they go after it, and if that results in human shields flocking to the home, the IDF can't attack because the human shields are using it to watch television and not as an ammunition dump.

Why should Hamas' use of this tactic surprise anyone? Well, it shouldn't, and it probably hasn't surprised the IDF although it apparently surprises the world media if they believe it's happening at all. As mentioned above, Hamas used the same tactic in a Gaza mosque full of terrorists in November 2006. And it was documented at length by an earlier report by the Center in March 2008.
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). [Pictured above. CiJ]

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).
After all that, the conclusions of the IDF investigation of yesterday's incident at the Jabalya UN school should surprise no one.
While the investigation of the incident continues, one crucial detail is already apparent: this tragedy occurred because Hamas consistently uses its own population as human shields. While betting that Israel will hesitate to strike back at areas with civilians present, Hamas covers its bet with the knowledge that should civilians be harmed, Hamas still wins since Israel will be censured by the world's media.

The best way to avoid the use of Palestinians as human shields is for the international community to begin to place the blame where it truly belongs - on the Hamas terrorists who exploit the suffering of their own people for political gain. Only the consorted international censure of Hamas will cause that terrorist organization to stop this perverted practice.

While Hamas exploits its own civilians as human shields as it deliberately targets the civilians of Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) does its best to avoid harming civilians on either side. Many Israeli anti-terrorists operations have been aborted at the last minute, due to the untimely presence of civilians in the target area. Unfortunately, tragedies happen in wartime, particularly when one side violates international law by firing while hiding behind civilians.

During its operations in Gaza, the IDF is making every effort to comply with the two basic legal tests of international humanitarian law: (1) are the targets legitimate military objectives and (2) is an action likely to cause disproportionate damage to the civilian population and their property.

Israel faces a particular challenge with regards to determining the legitimacy of intended targets. The presence of civilians in an area of conflict does not stop a military objective from being a legitimate target. This is both the letter of international law and a reflection of state practice. The deliberate positioning of Hamas military targets among Palestinian civilians presents a problem with which Israel must consistently contend.

The Iranian-backed Hamas, as a matter of strategy, refuses to uphold one of most fundamental requirements of international humanitarian law - that of distinguishing between combatants/military instillations and civilians/civilian properties.

Here's video released by the IDF of Hamas terrorists in the streets of Jabalya shortly before yesterday's incident took place. Yes, in the middle of a civilian area, they are shooting off 120mm mortar rounds and inviting an Israeli response that will result in civilian casualties. Let's go to the videotape.

We're not being paranoid. They really are out to get us. That's why they ignore evidence like this and blame us for killing civilians.


At 3:06 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

They always ignore evidence and blame the Jews. Anti-Semitism has nothing to do with what the Jews do or lack of it. Jews are just hated, period - and today the aspect of them that hated is their insistence on behaving as a sovereign nation. Jews are too uppity as an independent country and Jews are too uppity as a religious minority. The details in how Jews are hated differs with the context but the hate of them never disappears. Shocka? I don't think so!

At 5:59 PM, Blogger rashkov said...

" (1) are the targets legitimate military objectives and (2) is an action likely to cause disproportionate damage to the civilian population and their property. "

The first objective seems easy enough to meet for the IDF, due to its amazing ability to gather intelligence. Rather, the real challenge is to weigh acceptable civilian casualties versus military objectives. How many civilians are worth the destruction of a hundred rockets? What if the civilians are complicit? What of the condemnation for the sake of humanitarian suffering? This is the kind of devil's arithmetic that Hamas forces the IDF to practice.

At 11:23 PM, Blogger חיים צבי אריאל said...

"But first, please vote for Israel Matzav (ME) as Best Midsize blog in the 2008 Weblog Awards by going here. With all the hits I'm getting because of the war, I should be far ahead of the competition. Sadly, I'm not."

I did, and you are. about 777 for you and no more than 400 for the competition.

-really Gidon

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Read the entire article I linked. He talks about that. There's also precedent in international law justifying disproportionate responses in cases like these. I wrote several posts about this during the Second Lebanon War.


The problem with being ahead is that it encourages the leftists to target you in the last day or two. Last year, I was ahead for the first 3-4 days and ended up losing to someone who had much more traffic than I did and some friends in the big lefty blogs. I came in third, about 2000 votes back.

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us pray for the safety of Palestinian civilians who held hostages by Hamas and the safety of Israeli soldiers. May this campaign end swiftly and may Hamas be annihilated. May moderate Muslims emerge victorious in the struggle for Gaza!



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