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Human Rights Watch Condemns Palestinian Human Shield Tactic

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An interesting phenomenon is occurring, as Palestinians use women and children as human shields to guard the homes and ammo dumps of terrorists; the tactic is too disgusting even for the George Soros-funded Human Rights Watch to support: HRW urges Palestinian militants not to use ‘human shields’.

JERUSALEM (AFP) - A leading human rights group has urged Palestinian armed groups not to endanger civilian lives by encouraging “human shields” to prevent threatened Israeli attacks on militants’ homes.

Human Rights Watch issued the call after hundreds of Palestinians in recent days flocked to homes of militants in the Gaza Strip to avert air strikes.

Israel’s military generally gives prior warning that buildings will be destroyed.

“Palestinian armed groups must not endanger Palestinian civilians by encouraging them to gather in and around suspected militants homes targeted by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF),” the New-York based group said Wednesday.

“There is no excuse for calling civilians to the scene of a planned attack,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the group’s Middle East director.

Here’s the actual statement from HRW: OPT: Civilians Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks. (Hat tip: Carl in Jerusalem.)

It is a war crime to seek to use the presence of civilians to render certain points or areas immune from military operations or to direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attack. In the case where the object of attack is not a legitimate military target, calling civilians to the scene would still contravene the international humanitarian law imperative for parties to the conflict to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from the effects of attack. In the event that such abuse takes place, however, parties to the conflict remain obliged under international humanitarian law to take precautionary measures and not to target civilians or cause excessive civilian injury or damage in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage.
 
In other words, while civilians placing themselves in the way of military actions take on heightened risks, they cannot be considered legitimate targets by the opposing force, and parties to the conflict should cancel or suspend attacks where excessive civilian damage is anticipated. Human Rights Watch said that the IDF had properly respected its obligations under international humanitarian law in suspending the attack on the Baroud home that would have caused substantial civilian harm.

Notice how Human Rights Watch says this despicable tactic is a “war crime,” then concludes that Israel’s only option is to surrender to it. Welcome to the topsy turvy morally equivalent world of the transnational left, where “humanitarian law” gives the advantage to the most ruthless and unprincipled.

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