Hamas Prevents Civilians from Escaping Danger; Israel Allows Aid into Gaza

IDF image of Gaza rocket site in civilian areas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of IDF Spokesperson

IDF image of Gaza rocket sites in civilian areas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of IDF Spokesperson

The contrast between Israel’s interest in protecting innocents and Hamas’ callousness towards them has been especially evident during the current fight between the sides, including an incident on Thursday at a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) facility. After a warning from Israel the night before, Hamas went so far as to prevent civilians from leaving an UNRWA shelter during the window when Israel told them to evacuate, according to a report on the IDF Blog.

Hamas has been firing rockets from the location, which precipitated Israel’s call upon the civilians there to move. Israel eventually returned fire. It was just one of many examples where Hamas has put their own civilians in the range of fire.

A report released by Israel’s Government Press Office highlighted UNRWA reports that missiles have been found hidden inside UNRWA schools on two occasions. What’s more, the Israeli report said that journalists have reported that Hamas leaders have hidden in Shifa Hospital.

“Hamas appears to have perfected the “human shield” tactic, hiding weapons and terrorists in hospitals, schools, mosques and residential buildings,” said the Israeli report. “…In addition, Hamas has urged and even forced civilians to ignore repeated warnings by the IDF to evacuate areas where fighting is taking place and to remain in those locations.”

In contrast, the report said that Israel has sought to disperse Palestinian civilians from areas being used by Gaza terrorists. “Among the measures taken by the IDF to minimize the risk to Palestinian civilians are announcements about impending attacks in the form of phone calls, pamphlets and warning shots. In many cases missions have been aborted because civilians were identified dangerously close to the targets.”

And Israel is also still allowing aid to enter Gaza. The Israeli Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced in a report that on Wednesday, more than a 1,000 tons of food and other supplies on over 100 trucks entered Gaza.

146,000 liters of fuel also entered for the power station, not counting other fuel and gas. This comes after nearly 300,000 liters of fuel for the power station entered on Tuesday.

The Israeli report follows a decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which often makes anti-Israel decisions, to call for an investigation into Israel’s actions in the fight with Hamas.

A statement released on Wednesday by the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, slammed the UNHRC move. “By failing to condemn Hamas’s systematic use of human shields and by blaming Israel for the deaths that are caused by this grotesque human shields policy, the UNHRC is sending a message to Hamas and terror organizations everywhere that using civilians as human shields is an effective strategy.

“…The predictable result will be the libeling of Israel and even greater use of human shields in the future by Hamas. Those who will pay the price will be not only Israelis but also Palestinians who Hamas will redouble its efforts to use as human shields in the future.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 24, 2014)

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