25/07/2014

Hamas' Exploitation of Civilians in Operation Protective Edge

 

 Following the United Nations' Human Rights Council decision to establish an inquiry into alleged human rights violations in Gaza (http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2014/Pages/UNHRC-decision...), please see the following document which clarifies Israel's position.

 

Background

 

On 12 June 2014, the day Hamas terrorists abducted and murdered three Israeli teens in the West Bank; Hamas resumed launching rockets from Gaza on Israeli cities. For three weeks Israel showed great restraint and repeatedly indicated its desire to avoid further escalation, but Hamas' incessant missile attacks on Israeli communities continued, culminating in a barrage of 70 missiles fired on July 7th alone. Israel was left with no choice but to respond militarily to defend its civilian population.

 In recent years, Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization around the world, including by the US, the EU and Canada, has invested heavily in a formidable terrorist infrastructure, including some 12,000 missiles capable of hitting most of Israel's territory. It has also built dozens of attack tunnels to infiltrate Israel for the purpose of killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians.

 

The main objective of Operation Protective Edge is to restore quiet to Israel's citizens. Israel's right to defend itself has been widely recognized by the international community, including most recently by EU foreign ministers on July 22nd. Israel's actions are intended solely to curtail Hamas' terrorist capabilities in Gaza and do not target the people of Gaza in any way.

In recent years, Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization around the world, including by the US, the EU and Canada, has invested heavily in a formidable terrorist infrastructure, including some 12,000 missiles capable of hitting most of Israel's territory. It has also built dozens of attack tunnels to infiltrate Israel for the purpose of killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians.


 

Israel's Efforts to Protect Civilians

 

In this context, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been doing its utmost to minimize harm to non-combatant civilians. The IDF strictly abides by the principles of international law, including the law of armed conflict, which calls inter alia to distinguish at all times between civilians and military forces, to take precautions to minimize civilian casualties, and to carefully consider the expected military gain of any action, weighed against potential collateral damage (the principle of proportionality).

 

Among the measures taken by the IDF to minimize the risk to Palestinian civilians are announcements about impending attacks in the form of phone calls, pamphlets and warning shots. In many cases missions have been aborted because civilians were identified dangerously close to the targets.

 

Moreover, Israel’s commitment to international law is guaranteed by its strong democratic institutions, including an active and responsive legislature, efficient law enforcement mechanisms and an independent judiciary.

 

Hamas' Efforts to Harm and Endanger Civilians

 

Whereas Israel is conducting itself carefully so as not to harm civilians, Hamas acts in deliberate and flagrant violation of international law and  with utter disregard for human life, whether Israeli or Palestinian. It has systematically been committing a double war crime, by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians while using the Palestinian civilian population for cover.

 

Indeed, Hamas appears to have perfected the "human shield" tactic, hiding weapons and terrorists in hospitals, schools, mosques and residential buildings. In at least two instances the United Nations Relief and Works Agency found missiles hidden in its schools. Journalists have reported witnessing Hamas leaders hiding in Shifa Hospital. In addition, Hamas has urged and even forced civilians to ignore repeated warnings by the IDF to evacuate areas where fighting is taking place and to remain in those locations.

 

Fire and Cease-fire

 

Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal of July 15th; Hamas rejected it. Israel approved and honored two humanitarian breaks in the hostilities to ease the burden on the civilian population in Gaza and to allow the evacuation of injured civilians from combat areas;, Hamas rejected and violated these arrangements on both occasions.

 

Conclusion

 

For initiating and prolonging the hostilities, for its intentional and indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians and for deliberately putting Palestinian civilians in harm's way, Hamas is solely responsible for civilian casualties on both sides of the Israel-Gaza fence.

 

Materials regarding IDF's efforts to avoid harming civilians

 

IDF call to warn the population prior to attacking in the Gaza Strip <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yvQz3SQxGI&list=PLObn...>

 

Warning Flyer distributed by the IDF to warn the civilian population of Shuja'iya before an operation <https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/49081184971825...>

 

Israeli Air Force cancels a planned strike due to civilians being in the area <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuL-OA84p54&index=17&a...>

 

Hamas gathers civilians on a rooftop, to serve as human shields, causing the IDF to avoid an attack <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTArVIHDelg&index=9&am...>

 

IDF transfers humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIm_hf-fG3E&list=UUawN...>

 

Video showing the warning given to "Wafa" hospital prior to attack, and the large secondary explosions indicating that the place served as a hiding place for weapons <http://youtu.be/8O9AHzUKYk8>

 

 

 

Materials indicating Hamas use of civilians as human shields and other violations by Hamas of International Law

 

IDF video explaining the issue of human shields in Gaza, and placing civilians within the line of fire <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzFgIhFKII8&feature=yo...>

 

 

Hamas Spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri admits: The human shields policy is effective <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ6S0-o3uFI&list=PLQWA...>

 

Hamas Spokesman, Mushir El-Masri, calls civilian population not to leave their homes <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TERz6YgOIGo&feature=yo...>

 

Spokesman of the Hamas Military Section, Abu Ubeida admits to using youth as warriors: We manufactured a quarter of a million hand grenades and our boys will throw them instead of throwing rocks <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_UbLHNFAv4&feature=yo...>

 

Flyer by the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior calling civilians not to comply with IDF evacuation warnings <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2lB76qTkQA&feature=yo...>

 

Gaza citizens admit that Hamas forbids them from leaving their homes (3:15 mins) <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMUdU3AqlyQ&feature=yo...>

 

Violations of International Law by Hamas <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOAVEpfusvQ&list=UUawN...>

 

Hamas uses an ambulance to help militants escape a battle area <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O114V9PdmM&list=UUawN...>

 

Stockpile of ready-to-fire rockets hidden by Hamas next to a school in Gaza <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u57yxd753f8&index=9&am...>

 

Hamas militants shoot from residential homes <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfbjO2WznEk&index=10&a...>

 

Video proving that Hamas uses explosive tunnels  <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zn2Vee_N8SM&list=UUaw...>

 

Aerial photo of shooting next to a hospital and a mosque <http://www.idfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Shujaiy...>

 

 

Infographic: Terror tunnels in Shuja'iya <http://www.idfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/xray-ci...>

 

IDF infographic of an aerial photo about Shuja'iya <https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/49083343922280...>

 

Journalist in Gaza tweets: Hamas militant in Shuja'iya fighting wearing women's clothing <https://mobile.twitter.com/janisctv/status/49086443651808...>

 

Washington Post report: Hamas militants placing rockets in a mosque in the north of the Gaza Strip <http://m.washingtonpost.com/world/gaza-residents-scramble...>

 

UNRWA admits: Hamas hid rockets in one of our schools in Gaza <http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/unrwa-strong...>

 

A second case in which UNRWA admits to finding a stockpile of rockets hidden in one of their schools <http://www.unrwa.org//newsroom/press-releases/unrwa-conde...>

 

Collection of photos of tunnels dug by Hamas in the Gaza Strip <https://www.flickr.com/search/?w=45644610@N03&q=tunnel>

 

Articles

 

Article on Hamas use of civilians as human shields <http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/Data/articles/Art_20669/...>

 

Article on Hamas use of mosques for military purposes <http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/20672>

 

Article on Hamas use of schools for military purposes http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/20680

 

Article on use of the home of a Hamas terrorist for storing weapons  http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/20677

 

Article on use of medical facilities and ambulances for military-terrorist purposes <http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/20683>

 

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