Hamas made use of civilians as human shields

IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center published a report on its findings regarding Operation Cast Lead in response to the claims made by the Goldstone report

Date: 15/03/2010, 8:12 PM     Author: Jonatan Urich

Throughout Operation Cast Lead itself, Hamas implemented a combat doctrine which made massive use of civilians as human shields” – thus says a report entitled “Hamas and the Terrorist Threat from the Gaza Strip – The Main Findings of the Goldstone Report Versus the Factual Findings”, which was published on Monday (Mar. 15) by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. The report was edited by Dr. Reuven Erlich with the help of IDF (Zahal) and Israel Security Agency authorities. Its 349 pages include documents and evidence accusing Hamas and other terror organizations in the Gaza Strip of being responsible for the death of civilians. Its findings provide and answer to the claims made against Israel in the Goldstone report.

The report describes the diverse war tactics of Hamas and additional terror organization using civilians as human shields: forcing civilians to remain in residential areas the IDF (Zahal) was operating in, assimilating terror operatives in civilian neighborhoods, and switching uniforms for civilian clothing while fighting the IDF (Zahal). In addition to that, the report provides evidence showing that Hamas used groups of children in order to cover up its escaping from central battle points, and widely used civilian buildings for military purposes, including the construction of escape and attack tunnels from within residential buildings.

In addition to that, the report describes how military terror infrastructure was constructed close to residential buildings and public institutions, and how civilian neighborhoods were turned into battle fields (shown through operational evidence found by IDF (Zahal) forces during the operation). According to the report, Hamas launched rockets and mortar shells from locations close to densely populated centers, including in the proximity and on roofs of residential buildings, and also assembled civilians in buildings in order to use their presence as human shields for its terror operatives against IDF (Zahal) attacks.

The hospital was turned into a military base

The report also proves that Hamas made military use of civilian and even religious institutions. For example, weaponry was hidden under a mosque in the Al-Attara neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip, and the As-Shifa Hospital, which is the biggest hospital in the Gaza Strip, and additional hospital were used for military purposes. According to the report, even ambulances were used to grant transport of terror operatives during Operation Cast Lead.

Evidence displayed in the report also shows that the terror organization chose to booby-trap a school in the Zeitun neighborhood in the Gaza Strip, and used laboratories of the Science Faculty of the Islamic University in Gaza as rocket and weaponry manufacturing posts.

“The report analyzes selective, biased information”

“The main conclusion of this study is that there is an enormous discrepancy between the findings of the Goldstone Report and the factual findings, and an extreme imbalance tipped against Israel in favor of Hamas,” explains the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in its report, and adds, “The report analyzes the selective, biased information in a way clearly intended to reinforce the thesis that Israel deliberately targeted civilians.”

“We, the researchers and authors of this study, are aware that some of the information we had access to was not available to the Goldstone Mission. However, it is also clear that the authors of the Goldstone Report consistently avoided using information which was, in fact, accessible, but which did not support its main thesis, or at least presented serious doubts regarding its validity,” conclude the authors of the document.