A new report released by the Intelligence Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies says that the Palestinian terror organizations, which are aware that Israel does not wish to hurt civilians, have recently increased their proactive use of civilians (including women and children) as human shields for the protection of terrorists and bases of operation.
The report also indicates that senior officials in Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups are praising and glorifying the use of human shields and are calling the Palestinian People to continue with this mode of action in order to stop Israeli attacks.
According to the report, the use of civilians as human shields is a common practice used by the terror groups in Gaza. They usually place their terror infrastructure, launch rockets at Israel, and conduct firefights with IDF forces, close to or within densely populated areas. These organizations also hide entrance piers to tunnels inside residential homes.
Recently, the organizations have conducted several actions in order to stop or delay actions of the IDF against terror targets using Palestinian civilians, including women and children. In at least two cases, civilians were brought to the homes of two wanted terrorists and conducted a sit-in around the house and on the roof, so the IDF would not bomb the house and hurt civilians on the way. Another incident occurred when terrorists were able to escape from a mosque which was under siege by IDF forces as they dressed up in women’s clothing and escaped with a group of women.
The report says that the use of civilians as human shields, in the eyes of the terrorists, has increased their ability to stand up to IDF attacks, and also raises the level of confidence of the terrorists and increases their range to act and perpetrate attacks against Israel. The report says that the risk of placing civilians in danger is acceptable, as the terrorists are aware that the IDF will not attack terror targets where there are civilians. In addition, they are aware that in incidents where civilians are inadvertently killed by IDF forces, Israel is automatically blamed for it and the incidents are used as propaganda material for the Palestinian, Arab, international, and even Israeli media.
In addition, the use of civilians as human shields, the report says, is a war crime and a blatant violation of international law, mainly because it violates the “principle of distinction” not allowing differentiation between civilians and combatants.