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(Thaer Ganaim / Maan Images)

Israel uses Palestinians as human shields but US lawmakers condemn Hamas

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A market in the Shujaiya district of Gaza City was attacked by Israel yesterday; at least 17 people were killed. 

(Ashraf Amra / APA images)

Update

The US House of Representatives passed HR 107 on Wednesday afternoon, which condemns Hamas for using civilians as human shields—an accusations based solely on Israeli propoganda—and blames Hamas for the civilian carnage Israel has inflicted on the people of Gaza while praising Israel for warning residents to flee before flattening their neighborhoods. 

By the time the bill passed, it had 102 co-sponsors—64 Republicans and 48 Democracts, though it’s impossible to know who voted in favor of the resolution since it was passed by voice vote.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel’s premier lobbying organization in the US, agitated for and immediately applauded the resolution’s passage.

Originial article

Both houses of the US Congress are considering passing a resolution that condemns Hamas for using human shields despite not having any evidence to prove Hamas is employing this tactic. 

Over the last 22 days, the Israeli army has deliberately bombed family homes, UN shelters, schools, places of worship, hospitals, water infrastructure and more, killing more than 1,300 Palestinians, 80 percent of whom have been civilians, including nearly 300 children. 

In propaganda echoed by the US State Department, the Israeli government has repeatedly claimed that Hamas is using women and children as human shields to protect its weapons and rocket launchers, forcing Israel to massacre innocent Palestinians. 

The only evidence Israel has provided for this unsubstantiated accusation is cartoon sketches.

But even The New York Times has conceded that “There is no evidence that Hamas and other militants force civilians to stay in areas that are under attack.” 

The BBC’s Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, similarly declared, “I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.” 

But Israel’s pathetic drawings are all the evidence US elected officials need to absolve Israel of responsiblity for war crimes. 

Double standards

In the House of Representatives, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, introduced Resolution 107 on 16 July, “Denouncing the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in violation of international humanitarian law.” With 76 co-sponsors — 47 Republicans and 29 Democrats — the bill is awaiting consideration in the House’s foreign affairs committee. 

On 24 July, an identical resolution was introduced in the Senate by Ted Cruz, a Republican,  and co-sponsored by Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat. 

Like the House bill, the Senate version slams Hamas for “placing its underground tunnel network and missile batteries in densely populated areas, and in and around schools, hospitals, and mosques” and “calls on the international community to recognize the grave breaches of international law committed by Hamas in using human shields.” 

Besides ignoring the fact that all of Gaza is densely populated, this accusation fails to address that Israel also places its military command centers among civilian populations, most notoriously HaKirya, the Israeli army headquarters, which is located in the heart of densely populated Tel Aviv, surrounded by malls, museums, hospitals, schools and so on. 

Perhaps one day Israel will be held to the same standards as Hamas by US elected officials, but for now it appears the “most moral army in the world” can do as it pleases. 

The bill goes on to condemn some 2,000 rockets fired by Hamas at Israel but makes no mention of the more than 3,000 tons of precision-guided explosives that Israel deliberately dropped on Gaza’s civilian population and infrastructure in the first fifteen days of this onslaught.

Praising Israeli “warnings”

Next, the bill praises Israel for warning Palestinians in advance with leaflets and text messages before obliterating their neighborhoods, though it neglects to note that the people of Gaza have nowhere safe to evacuate to, given that they are prevented from leaving the tiny coastal enclave, where nothing, not even hospitals, is off limits for Israeli bombs. 

Still, the bill declares that Israel “goes to extraordinary lengths to target only terrorist actors,” which suggests that the bill’s authors believe hospitals, playgrounds, family homes and UN schools sheltering the displaced (at least six have been shelled by Israel) qualify as “terrorist” targets.

Most outrageously, the bill equates Hamas with al-Qaida and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

Hamas is the Palestinian political party that was democratically elected in 2006 to govern the occupied West Bank and Gaza. It also happens to have a military wing engaged in armed resistance against the State of Israel, a state that has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their indigenous lands for nearly seventy years, in what amounts to “incremental genocide,” according to the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe. 

Likening Hamas’ armed resistance to a rogue sectarian militia that is slaughtering civilians in Syria and Iraq is utterly absurd and irresponsible propaganda that only the most extreme of Israel’s supporters are spreading

Israel should be condemned

Ironically, it is Israel that has a well-documented history of using Palestinian civilians, including children, as human shields. In what is referred to as “the neighbor procedure,” Israeli soldiers force Palestinian civilians to approach armed suspects and homes potentially rigged with explosives to protect the lives of soldiers. 

Israel was condemned by the United Nations as recently as last year for its “continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields and informants.” 

More recently, Palestinian civilians have accused Israeli forces of using them as human shields in the Khuzaa neighborhood in Gaza, which has been the site of heavy shelling. 

If anyone should be condemned for using human shields, it is clearly Israel. 

Nevertheless, the US Senate has already unanimously passed two resolutions reaffirming America’s unconditional support for Israel’s right to carry out massacres in Gaza. 

Meanwhile, the US was the only nation to vote against a United Nations inquiry into possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza. 

In other words, don’t be suprised if the Senate resolution, currently making its way through the Senate’s foreign relations committee, passes without a word of dissent. 

Comments

How about the statements from UN personnel condemning Hamas for storing weapons in schools, hospitals and mosques, thereby violating their status as neutral non-combat zones?
http://m.washingtonpost.com/ne...

Schools that are empty! Deserted! old buildings. What about the Hospitals, Why are hospitals and Beaches are being targeted?

Even if you are right about "storing weapons" does that make it okay to drop bombs on a place you know is housing mostly, if not only, innocent civilians? Stop trying to justify Israel's atrocities. You're either trying to wash blood off your conscious or just another paid Israeli propaganda slinger. You choose.

How about proof that Hamas stores weapons in schools, hospitals and mosques?

And how about you read the article before you cite it? Nowhere in there do UN personnel accuse Hamas of storing weapons in schools, hospitals and mosques.

It's much likelier the people storing weapons in these places are Israeli collaborators/agents giving Israel the pretext it thinks it needs to bomb civilians. It's called a false flag. Look it up sometime. It's a favorite tactic of Zionists btw

Storing weapons in UN schools is arguably a violation of Laws of Armed Conflict, although weather Hamas is subject to those is a different question. Given UNRWA cleared those, and reported to the Israelis that civilians were sheltering there, it is hard to imagine a legal justification for the bombing. It is not, however, out of character for the Israelis to do it, and some might remember the assault on the Fijian UN Compound in Lebanon where in his last period in office as PM Shimon Peres tried to shake off his image as dove by firebombing a large number of Lebanese civilians who sought sanctuary in the UN compound.

First bof all, anonymous, why don't you use your own name; wouldn't that be more fair? Regarding the storing of rockets and other weaponry in these "desert hospitals, schools ans moscues", even if it is true (but I myself, think, it could be mere propaganda, I am not sure about it), this will not lessen the fact that it is Israel, wich is already for almost sixty years the sole aggressor and oppressor. And that's the point. Don't say "Yes but Hamas so, and Hamas this...." The important question is: We must go back to the source; how did it all began? Answer: Jewish terrorist organisations and gangs invaded Palestine way before May 15, 1948, and killed already a lot of Palestinians. Later on, the late first Premier of Israel, drafted Plan Dalet (Plan D), a racist genocide operation; he was the mastermind of this mass murder on a great scale. Thanks to him and eleven "Israeli war hero's", 800.000 á one million innocent Palestinians who lived there already for centuries, were driven away by force and violence. And....the Governments of the world watched this gruesome slaughtering and remained silent. So, wether Hamas has stored really a lot of weaponry in those (according to you "desert buildings") or not, is not the main point now. No, first go back to the roots of this problem!

Orden Wingate was a british soldier of fundamental christian belief who trained Haganah and Palmach tugs in raiding pecefull Palestinian villages back in the thirties.
Have we ever seen British regret about these violations of human rights and the fact that British commanders allowed Ordne Wingate perform his atrocities?
Have we ever seen that the British are the mainreason for the founding of the zionist rogue state, by Sykes Picot, Balfour, cooperating with jewish thugs and handing over weapons, equipment and strategic postions to th ejews on the 14 th of 1948. Have the British ever seriously attacked the jews when they applied plan Dalet in early 1948? No. These British are as guilty as the US and the jews themselves.

It sicken me to see what is happening to the Palestinian civilians. I grieve for the Palestinian people. Shame on the US.

Please fix the NY Times link, it is incorrectely entered.

UNRWA discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.
http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/...

The two schools were vacant buildings no longer in use.

have the warmonger USAs our "ally"
It is a shame that our government doesn't distance itself from this roque state

Too true Dutchman. While Israelis do pull the triggers, at least they can plead insanity, given they've been spun into a vicious cycle of paranoia and violence.
We Americans, on the other hand, have no such excuse. Our ignorant mutton-headed public just lolls about, idly watching their politicians sacrifice people in far off places on their alters of re-election, over and over again. One cycle is horrible and tragic the other is simply soulless.

As long as there is:
SIEGE
STRANGULATION and
STARVATION,
Hamas, the elected voice and the people of Gaza will resist.
The Zionist stranglehold of Gaza make apartheid in South Africa looks like childs play