Hamas – an internationally recognized terrorist organization – deliberately embeds its military operations deep in residential areas, and exploits its own civilian population as human shields. These actions are war crimes.

 Behind the Headlines: Hamas war crimes

 

Copyright: IDF Spokesperson

Hamas – an internationally recognized terrorist organization – deliberately embeds its military operations deep in residential areas, and exploits its own civilian population as human shields. These actions are war crimes.

Many of Hamas’ commanders use their own homes for military purposes – including weapons storage, command and control centers and military communications. In videos uploaded to the IDF’s YouTube channel, secondary explosions can be seen following IDF attacks on some of these houses – clearly indicating their military use. Under international law, when the exploitation of these residential houses makes an effective contribution to Hamas’ military actions, these buildings clearly become legitimate military targets.

When attacking these lawful targets, the IDF makes every effort to ensure such attacks are proportionate and to minimize any unavoidable civilian harm. The IDF has no desire to harm civilians, and is acting solely to weaken Hamas terrorist infrastructure and safeguard our civilians.

The IDF conducts its operations in full accordance with international law. IDF commanders are trained in international law and legal advisors are embedded at the highest level of the chain of command. The IDF employs a range of tools – including distributing flyers, personalized phone calls and SMS – to warn people in the vicinity of an impending attack.

Instead of raising doubts regarding Israel’s commitment to the rule of law, the international community should be questioning why Hamas deliberately embeds its military operations in residential homes and civilian areas. A terrorist organization that uses its civilian population as human shields, and deliberately fires at the Israeli civilian population, is conducting war crimes – and should be denounced for doing so.

 Behind the Headlines: Hamas war crimes

Palestinian Envoy to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Ibrahim Khreisheh was interviewed last week (July 9) on Palestinian Authority TV (interview translated into English by MEMRI,The Middle East Media Research Institute).

He said: "The missiles that are now being launched against Israel, each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or missed, because it is directed at civilian targets…Targeting civilians, be it one civilian or a thousand, is considered a crime against humanity."

Relating to Israel’s mode of operation in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge he stated: "Please note that many of our people in Gaza appeared in TV and said that the Israeli army warned them to evacuate their homes before bombardment. In such a case, if someone is killed, the law considers it a mistake rather than intentional killing, because (the Israelis) followed the legal procedures."