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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hamas Exploits Civilians as Human Shields: Israel's Humanitarian Response

Source: The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

Since November 10th, Iranian-backed Hamas and its terrorist allies in Gaza have hit Israel with more than 1,100 missiles and mortars—intentionally launching those attacks from deep within civilian populated neighborhoods. Palestinian terrorists have turned hospitals, homes, schools and mosques into military bases loaded with snipers and weapons, using civilians as human shields.

Israel’s response to the continuing terrorism from Gaza is proportionate and in compliance with international law
• Israel’s military operation is an act of self-defense, a right enshrined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Its aim is to put an end to the more than 8,000 missile attacks on Israeli citizens since Israel fully withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

• Israel’s actions to stop Hamas missile attacks are proportional to the risk faced by Israeli civilians—4.5 million of whom are within missile range—including the real prospect of mass casualties. Israel must not wait for a missile to slam into a school full of children before it takes action.

• Under international law, any state must attempt to minimize the number of civilian casualties of its opponent as it seeks to achieve its military objective. Accordingly, Israel uses pinpoint targeting to achieve its goals, as it did when it eliminated senior Hamas military leader Ahmad Jabari and destroyed key missile launching sites.

• Israel has dropped thousands of leaflets warning Gaza residents to avoid areas being used by Hamas to attack Israel and has made thousands of phone calls to targeted areas to warn citizens they are in danger.

• While Israel makes every effort to minimize civilian casualties, international law also forbids the use of civilians to protect legitimate military targets, as Hamas has consistently done. Article 28 of the Fourth Geneva Convention clearly states: “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.”

• Under international law, Hamas bears responsibility for casualties to civilians that it uses as human shields.

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