Human Rights

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In Declassified Report, IDF Lays Out Evidence Hamas Used Human Shields

Yesterday the IDF published a special report on how Hamas turned every resident of Gaza into a human shield. All of the instances mentioned in the report have been seen before, but this is the first time all of the exhibits are in one place.

As the report documents with photographs and videos, Hamas has launched attacks against Israel with its terrorists near schools, hospitals, cemeteries, churches, and hotels.

Whole neighborhoods, such as the Shuja’iya district, were turned into virtual fortresses filled with tunnels, rocket launching sites, and weapons depots.

Placing its military infrastructure near to civilians was a purposeful strategy on Hamas’ part. In a manual that the IDF discovered during Operation Protective Edge, Hamas revealed its intent by listing the ways that placing fighters near civilians impedes Israeli forces:

(1) Problems with opening fire
(2) Problems in controlling the civilian population during operations and afterward
(3) Assurance of supplying medical care to civilians who need it

In recounting last night’s IDF operation that killed senior Hamas commanders Raed al-Attar, Mohammed Abu Shamala, and Mohammad Barhoum, Ynet reported:

The surveillance efforts on al-Attar and Abu Smallah had been underway for months, but the pair made a point of hiding within areas that the IDF would hesitate to attack for fear of harming innocent bystanders or because of insufficient intelligence.

al-Attar and Abu Shamala’s practice “of hiding” near “innocent bystanders” is the very definition of “human shields,” which is prohibited by international humanitarian law.

It can be concluded that the use of human shields requires an intentional co-location of military objectives and civilians or persons … with the specific intent of trying to prevent the targeting of those military objectives.

As the IDF’s special report demonstrates, Hamas used al-Attar and Abu Shamala’s strategy throughout Gaza, placing their munitions, weapons, and personnel near civilians in order to prevent themselves from being targeted, in blatant violation of international law.

[Photo: idfnadesk / YouTube ]