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Sunday, May 22, 2016


HRW's Sari Bashi

From the New York Times:
Sari Bashi, a spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch and expert on international law regarding warfare, said that building tunnels in residential neighborhoods was not explicitly prohibited. But she said militant groups had “an obligation to take all feasible measures to protect civilians, including not taking the armed conflict to civilian areas, to the extent possible.”
Here's what the ICRC has to say:

Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, “utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.[

The prohibition of using human shields in the Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocol I and the Statute of the International Criminal Court are couched in terms of using the presence (or movements) of civilians or other protected persons to render certain points or areas (or military forces) immune from military operations.

It can be concluded that the use of human shields requires an intentional co-location of military objectives and civilians or persons hors de combat with the specific intent of trying to prevent the targeting of those military objectives.
Why is HRW, which normally errs on the side of protecting civilians when interpreting international law, suddenly deciding to rule against Gaza civilians and for the Hamas terrorists who are deliberately digging tunnels underneath Gaza civilian homes?

Is there really any fundamental legal difference between forcing civilians to be herded to a military site (which is the restrictive way HRW defines human shielding) and placing the military target directly under the homes of civilians, who have nowhere else to go?

We saw this a lot during Operation Protective Edge. Over a dozen Hamas violations of internatinal law were all but ignored by "human rights" groups whose very job is to protect civilians being placed at risk from Hamas actions.

Apparently, when Israel is on the other side, HRW chooses to look the other way for all but the most egregious Hamas crimes.

And the losers are Gaza civilians.




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