Israel Uses Palestinians as Human Shields
"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. That is the absolute textbook case of human shields. ... It has been practised by the Israeli army for many years and they are doing it again in Gaza now."
- Donatella Rovera (Source: thefirstspotlight.co.uk, 13 January 2009).
Donatella Rovera is the principal Amnesty International researcher on Israel/Palestinian Occupied Territories.
An interview with one family used as hman shields by Israeli soldiers in Gaza reports:
"A large number of soldiers came into the house and put all of us in one room on the ground floor. They confiscated our mobile phones, and handcuffed and blindfolded the men and older boys. For two days we could not move; they only allowed us to get a bit of food to the children. We knew that another group of relatives had been killed by Israeli soldiers in the house across the road and we were screaming in fear. Eventually, at the end of the second day, they let us go but kept two of the men and threatened to kill them if the Qassam (Hamas’ armed wing) attacked them."
The houses used by the invading Israeli soldiers were trashed, holes blown through walls, threatening grafitti, including images of naked Palestinian women and messages scrawled in Hebrew, one reading: "Next time it will hurt more."
A military xpert, Chris Cobb-Smith, who served in the British army for two decades, backs up the home terror tactic of some Israeli soldiers, stating:
"Gazans have had their houses looted, vandalised and desecrated. As well, the Israeli soldiers have left behind not only mounds of litter and excrement but ammunition and other military equipment. It’s not the behaviour one would expect from a professional army,"
Although the Israeli Army's use of Palestinian civilians as human shields was well known in Israeli legal circles, prompting Israel's Supreme Court to ban the practice in 2005, there are several well-evidenced reports since of Israeli troops forcing Palestinians at gunpoint to enter buildings before them, buildings in which the Israeli soldiers feared militants were present.
Had Israel allowed media and human rights groups into Gaza during their most recent military operation perhaps there would be more video evidence, as was the case in previous incursions on Palestinian lands, where Israel is seen [Video from YouTube embedded] practising their use of Palestinian human shileds for Israeli soldiers.