The IDF capture of a Hamas ‘urban warfare’ manual during Operation Protective Edge has revealed its use of human shields is completely calculated. Moreover, Hamas knows just how hamstrung the IDF is by its own moral code, and the double standard imposed upon it by the international community – and uses that fact to full advantage.
In one section of the manual translated by the IDF, terrorists are told that the ‘presence of civilians are pockets of resistance’ that cause three major problems for advancing troops: (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
All of the above are certainly true, and were illustrated in stark and bloody detail each time Hamas terrorists attacked Israeli civilians or soldiers from positions right next to UNRWA schools or other civilian facilities – such as the Al-Shifa Hospital, for instance.
Each time, the IDF was forced to respond to the attacks and though Israeli soldiers did their best to avoid civilian casualties it was impossible to fire with pinpoint accuracy at moving targets. Of course the human shields were wounded as well. What a great photo op, right? But it gets even better.
Particularly in the densely populated Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiyya, it appears the decision by Hamas to draw the IDF into that section of the city and wage war to the point of destroying the entire area was also strategic from the start. In fact, it turns out that Hamas wanted the IDF to level that neighborhood.
According to the IDF blog, the Shejaiyya Brigade combat manual discusses the benefits for Hamas when the homes of their own people are destroyed: “The destruction of civilian homes: This increases the hatred of the citizens towards the attackers [the IDF] and increases their gathering [support] around the city defenders (resistance forces [i.e. Hamas]).”
Will the United Nations Human Rights Commission consider this enough evidence to charge Hamas with a war crime, and exonerate the IDF? Gee, let’s take a vote…
About the Author: Rachel Levy is a freelance journalist who has written for Jewish publications in New York, New Jersey and Israel.
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