Israel Uses Gazans as Human Shields
14 January 2009
Israeli invading troops are using armless
civilians in the Gaza Strip as human shields to protect them against attacks
from Palestinian resistance fighters.
"It's standard practice for Israeli
soldiers to go into a house, lock up the family in a room on the ground floor
and use the rest of the house as a military base, as a sniper's position,"
Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International 's investigator in Israel, told The
Guardian on Tuesday, January 13.
"That is the absolute textbook case of
Last week, Amnesty accused Israel of using
civilians as human shields in its nearly three-week onslaught against the Gaza
Strip, which has so far killed more than 971, half of them women and children.
Rovera said this is not the first time that
Israel has used Palestinian civilians as human shields.
"It has been practiced by the Israeli army
for many years and they are doing it again in Gaza now."
In several well-documented cases, Israeli
troops forced Palestinian civilians, at gunpoint, to go before them into
buildings from which they feared attack.
They also use Palestinians to drive out
wanted Palestinian resistance fighters by making them approach their homes first
and asking them to surrender.
In 2005, Israel's Supreme Court banned the
military's practice of using Palestinian civilians as human shields in arrest
The use of human shields in conflict is
prohibited under the Geneva Conventions which clearly states that they "shall
not be used to...shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or
impede military operations."
Amnesty's Rovera also accused Israeli troops
of committing war crimes by using weapons which cause huge fatalities among the
1.6 million population of Gaza.
"There has been reckless and
disproportionate and in some cases indiscriminate use of force," she said.
"There has been the use of weaponry that
shouldn't be used in densely populated areas because it's known that it will
cause civilian fatalities and casualties," added the investigator.
"They have extremely sophisticated missiles
that can be guided to a moving car and they choose to use other weapons or
decide to drop a bomb on a house knowing that there were women and children
"These are very, very clear breaches of
The Human Right Watch has accused Israel of
using white-phosphorus, a chemical that burns away human flesh to the bone, in
The 1980 Third Convention on Conventional
Weapons bans the use of white phosphorus as a weapon, even against military
targets situated within population centers.
John Ging, director of UNRWA operations in
Gaza, called Tuesday for a full investigation into reports of Israel's use of
illegal weapons in its 18-day offensive.
He also appealed for the international
community to provide protection for civilians in Gaza as mandated by the 1949
"All the people, the first thing they say to
me and the last thing they say to me is 'Please, we need protection, nowhere is
safe'," he told reporters in Geneva via an audio link from an UNRWA distribution
center after visiting shelters and clinics.
"And they're right, nowhere is safe."
NOTE: The Zionists, NOT
Hamas is using Gazans as Human Shield, Hamas is a resistance group defending its
people, something that should be clear by now for every clear healthy minded