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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The Israeli use of "human shields"

There's been quite a bit in the news lately about this subject. Amira Hass broke the story of Gaza residents forced to accompany IDF soldiers on missions involving breaking into and searching houses. The U.N. wrote about a different incident involving an 11-year-old boy forced to walk in front of troops, and the the Guardian wrote about the use of Red Crescent ambulances as human shields.

The incidents above could easily be passed off by Israel and Israeli apologists as "actions of rogue units," individual commanders doing things they "contrary to policy," etc. It wouldn't be true, but I have absolutely no doubt that you'll be hearing that excuse. But I want to remind readers of something I wrote in January. It is standard operating procedure, i.e., official IDF policy, to take over Palestinian homes, imprison the families, and use the upper floors as spotting posts or sniper posts. In so doing the house is made into a legitimate military target, and the Palestinians imprisoned within become human shields, with the Israelis hiding behind them (figuratively if not literally), trusting that Palestinians won't fire on a home containing other Palestinians.

Once again - this practice is clearly IDF policy, not some occasional action by some unit commander. I repeat: the use of human shields is IDF policy.

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