Wall Street Journal’s Nicholas Casey was about to interview a Hamas spokesman in the basement of the Shifa hospital in Gaza. The Hamas spokesman sat proudly on a chair, his dress immaculate and his shoes polished. Behind him a massive poster was set, allegedly of the destruction in Gaza.
Before conducting the interview, Casey took a photo of the setting and tweeted: “You have to wonder w[ith] the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media.”
Casey was relating to Hamas’ use of human shields and their use of mosques, schools, kindergartens, hospitals and homes as a battle ground.
Hamas deliberately uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and has a long history of doing so. By using human shields, Hamas hopes to achieve two goals: to deter IDF attacks on legitimate military targets, and to exploit any incidental harm that is caused as a result of IDF military activity.
Hamas knows very well that the IDF does everything that it can to avoid civilian casualties. That is why in recent days Hamas issued messages on its television, radio, and social media platforms to ignore the IDF’s warnings of impending strikes and to remain in their homes.
On July 17th a Hamas terrorist in Gaza escaped into an ambulance when an IDF aircraft targeted him. The IDF called off the strike so as to not hit the ambulance. The terrorist was using the ambulance and its staff to protect himself. On that same day, twenty Hamas rockets were found in a school belonging to UNRWA in Gaza. “(The incident) endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestinian refugees in Gaza,” the UN commented.
Hamas’ use of human shields is a clear and deliberate violation of international law.