The fact that Hamas use Palestinian civilians as human shields is an accusation that is rightly made frequently by Israel advocates – and now by the UN too.
As the invaluable blogger Elder of Ziyon highlighted, in the UNHRC’s recently released report on Operation Pillar of Defence, they acknowledged:
“Palestinian armed groups continuously violated international humanitarian law, by launching indiscriminate attacks on Israel and by attacking civilians, thereby disregarding the principle of distinction. The armed groups failed to take all feasible precautions in attacks, in particular by launching rockets from populated areas, which put the population at grave risk. Furthermore, several Palestinians were killed by rockets launched by the armed groups that fell short and landed in the Gaza Strip.”
One specific case they mentioned was the death of the son of BBC reporter Jihad Mashrawi. This had of course been widely reported – along with an emotive photo of Mashrawi holding his son – as being due to an Israeli strike. At the time EoZ noticed that the damage in the house, although supposedly caused by an Israeli strike, actually more closely resembled the aftermath of a Qassam rocket attack.
In a similar case that November a four year old Palestinian boy had been killed by a Palestinian rocket, during a ceasefire that Hamas broke, whereas Israel did not retaliate. But Israel was again wrongly blamed, and a photo of the boy being held by the Egyptian Prime Minister became an iconic image. The truth came out soon after, but still too late.
Whenever any innocent civilian dies it is tragic, unbearably so if it is a child; and an innocent Palestinian baby would be mourned by both Israel and moderate Palestinians alike. What’s too sickening for words is that it is only the likes of Hamas who not only wouldn’t regret the death, but who would celebrate it, albeit in a different way that they celebrate the death of Israelis.
To Hamas, it doesn’t matter how a Palestinian child dies – whether it is directly Hamas’ fault, or indirectly, with the child killed in a strike that Israel was forced into, in order to defend its own citizens.
Either way, Hamas have orchestrated it.
We would all like for Hamas not to use their own people as human shields. It would make it easier for Israel to more accurately target terrorists, and so equally, it would mean that less innocent Palestinians would be killed.
But of course this defeats the whole object of Hamas’ games. With no dead innocent Palestinians, how will they portray themselves as victims? How will they justify their terrorism as a ‘response’ to Israeli ‘aggression’; as the brave ‘resistance’ of freedom fighters?
As Alan Dershowitz points out, as long as the media keep portraying the IDF as evil baby-killers – even when it wasn’t the IDF – this means Hamas’ tactic is working, and so they will continue with it: “Every time a picture of a dead Palestinian baby being held by his grieving parents appears on television or on the front pages of newspapers around the world, Hamas wins. And when Hamas wins, they continue with their deadly strategy. The media, therefore, is complicit in the death of Omar Misharawi as it is in the deaths of other civilians who are victims of Hamas’ dead baby strategy.” This is why when the media fail to report the truth or provide context, they have to be exposed for it.
Meanwhile, a two year old Israeli girl is in hospital fighting for her life, injured in a car crash caused by Palestinians who were throwing rocks - but the world media is silent. Her family have asked for prayers for Adele Chaya Bat Adva.