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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Why Israel is bombing houses, mosques and may soon bomb a hospital in Gaza

Some of you may be wondering why the IDF has bombed houses in Gaza and why my last post talked about bombing Gaza City's Shifa Hospital. After all, when and if this happens, you can bet that the 'Palestinians' are going to scream 'war crime.' But the 'Palestinians' are wrong. It's not a war crime to go after a house that's being used as a military command center or for weapons storage. And it's not a war crime to go after a hospital being used that way either, although it is a war crime for Hamas to use the hospital that way.
Hamas conducts its military activities from deep within residential areas in Gaza. By doing so, it exploits the IDF’s desire and efforts to avoid harm to Palestinian civilians. In many cases, Hamas uses its commanders’ own homes, where their families and other civilians may be residing, for military purposes.
These houses may be used for weapons storage, command and control centers, or communications. The following video of an IDF strike provides clear evidence that Palestinian terrorists store weapons in residential areas. Following the initial IDF strike on the target, massive secondary blasts reveal that the IDF indeed struck a weapons cache located near Palestinian homes.
Let's go to the videotape.

When houses are used for military purposes, they may become legitimate military targets under international law. The IDF only aims its attacks against legitimate military targets as defined under the relevant rules of international law. In order to accurately determine military targets, the IDF employs advanced methods, including multiple levels of intelligence, the provision of legal advice, and extensive prior training provided to operational commanders.
Even when a house is considered a lawful military target, the IDF makes great efforts to minimize potential harm to the surrounding civilian population. For example, the IDF may use real-time visual coverage in order to assess the civilian presence at a target. The IDF also carefully chooses weaponry and ammunition that will help to minimize any harm to civilians. In certain instances, the IDF also provides advance warning before striking a target.
Many of the IDF’s efforts in this regard go beyond its legal obligations and the accepted practice of other militaries operating in urban areas. Unfortunately, Hamas exploits many of the IDF’s attempts to provide advance warning by using civilians as human shields in order to deter attacks.
I wonder how many human shields they can gather after midnight. I think we might find out. Oh, and don't believe the casualty numbers put out by Hamas either. 
Israel didn’t choose this fight. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the terrorist organizations that dominate Gaza, claim that Israel provoked the conflict by arresting Hamas members in the
West Bank. But arrests in one territory don’t justify aerial bombardment from another. Israel didn’t hit Gaza until terrorists had fired more than 150 rockets into Israel and had rejected a cease-fire.
Some of the pictures that purport to show devastation from the Israeli strikes are fakes borrowed from other wars. As of Wednesday afternoon, the death count ranged from 30 to 50 or more, depending on where you mark the onset of the conflict. Every death is tragic, and the longer the assault goes on, the higher the toll will go. Still, given that Israel has launched more than 500 airstrikes, you’d have to conclude that either Israel is failing miserably to kill people or, more plausibly, it’s largely trying not to kill them.
Israel’s defense minister admits his forces have targeted “terrorists’ houses” as well as “arms, terror infrastructures, command systems, Hamas institutions, [and] regime buildings.” The houses belong to Hamas military leaders. An Israeli official boasts that “there's not a single Hamas brigade commander that has a home to go back to.” Israel’s legal rationale for targeting these homes is that they were “terror command centers” involved in rocket fire or other “terror activity.” But while Israel has tried to kill commanders in their cars (and has succeeded), it has avoided unannounced strikes on their homes.
Read the whole thing

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