Civilians as human shields:
Recognize how Hamas fights Israel
- In 2014, Hamas demanded Palestinians stay in their homes and become "Martyrs," despite Israel's warnings their houses would be bombed
- "You [Israelis] are fighting divine soldiers, who love death for Allah like you love life, and who compete among themselves for Martyrdom," - Hamas leader Muhammad Deif, during 2014 Gaza war
- Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, during 2014 Gaza war:
- Hamas told Palestinians that "Martyrdom" for Allah and death in the war with Israel was "a privilege"
- "We are leading them [our people] to death - I mean, to confrontation" - Hamas' spokesman in 2014 Gaza war
- Paradoxically, it has been Israel which has tried to protect the lives of Palestinian civilians by warning of air strikes in advance, while it was Hamas who intentionally endangered them, causing many civilian deaths among Palestinians
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
It is clear from past wars that Hamas doesn't care about the lives of the almost 2 million Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Hamas unscrupulously uses Palestinian civilians as human shields when fighting Israel. This might be what is in store for Palestinians again, as Hamas escalates its missile attacks on Israeli civilian targets in towns and cities. Hamas has launched hundreds of missiles yesterday alone, forcing Israel to respond with military force.
In the 2014 war, Hamas openly and intentionally demanded that civilians ignore Israel's warnings prior to bombings of terrorists hiding among civilians. Hamas insisted they welcome death, so that Hamas could use them as human shields for their fighters and rocket launchers.
Hamas' spokesman at the time, Sami Abu Zuhri, called on Palestinians to "oppose the Israeli fighter planes with their bodies alone" which he said had "proven an effective method" against "the occupation:"
Al-Aqsa TV reporter: "Witnesses are talking about a large crowd. The residents are still gathering to reach the Kaware family home in order to prevent the Zionist occupation's fighter planes from striking it."
Al-Aqsa TV host: "People are reverting to a method that was very successful once."
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri: "The people oppose the Israeli fighter planes with their bodies alone... I think this method has proven effective against the occupation. It also reflects the nature of our heroic and brave people, and we, the [Hamas] movement, call on our people to adopt this method in order to protect the Palestinian homes."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 8, 2014]
The spokesman of Hamas' Ministry of Interior demanded Palestinians stay in their homes, telling them to ignore Israeli warnings:
"[Israel] has been sending tens of thousands of voice messages to citizens' phones... asking them to evacuate their homes by a certain time... There is no reason to be concerned by them or pay attention to them and by no means should they be heeded."
[Hamas Ministry of Interior spokesman's Facebook page, July 15, 2014]
When Israel warned Palestinians who lived near the Israeli border in the Northern Gaza Strip, an area from which Hamas launched long-range missiles, to evacuate their homes to areas of safety before Israel would bomb the launching sites, Hamas told civilians to remain in their homes in spite of the danger.
"We call on our Palestinian people, particularly the residents of northwest Gaza, not to obey what is written in the pamphlets distributed by the Israeli occupation army. We call on them to remain in their homes and disregard the demands to leave, however serious the threat may be."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 13, 2014]
To support the policy of using civilians as human shields, Hamas TV presented dead civilians as being privileged to have died this way, achieving Shahada - "Martyrdom":
Hamas TV host: "Every soul has its time. These people - their time had come, and they were Martyred (i.e., Gaza civilians killed in war). They have gained [Paradise]. They have nothing in this world, especially in the Gaza Strip. There's no life in the Gaza Strip. What life can we have in the Gaza Strip? Being with Allah is better. Being with Allah is better. What we see is very hard but we won't surrender, Allah willing. The first to say it are the Martyrs' family. The first to say it are the Martyrs' mothers and fathers... Don't be disturbed by these images. He who was killed this way doesn't feel. By Allah, he does not feel. These are not my words, but the words of our beloved Prophet [Muhammad]: He who is Martyred doesn't feel. Only we suffer by these images. By Allah, [the Martyr] doesn't feel. His soul has ascended to Allah. His soul is with the Lord. His soul is inside a green bird. He is with Allah now. He is in Paradise. Only we suffer by these images... In other cities, in other countries, thousands die in earthquakes, floods, plane crashes, in ferry or shipwrecks, in natural or unnatural disasters. Thousands die. Thousands die but we don't know what their fate is with Allah. But we [in Gaza] are Martyrs. The enemy has killed us and we are Martyrs."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 20, 2014]
When Palestinians criticized the great loss of life among civilians, Hamas' spokesman belittled these "defeatist" Palestinians, suggesting their losses were nothing compared to Algerian losses in 1945. He also made a telling slip of the tongue when referring to the population in Gaza: "We are leading them to death," he said, then quickly corrected himself: "I mean, to confrontation."
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri: "The resistance (i.e., Hamas) is truly glorifying our people and our nation. We are paying a price, but we remember our brothers in Algeria, who had at least a million and half Martyrs... In 1945, in a single day in Algeria, 45,000 Algerians died. In a single day. It wasn't described in Algeria's history as forsaking the blood of the Algerians, as some defeatists are describing today the number of Martyrs as 'trading with Palestinian blood and forsaking Palestinian blood'... We are not leading our people to execution as we stand by and look on. No. We are leading them to death - I mean, to confrontation."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 13, 2014]
To scare Israelis and possibly boost Palestinian morale, Hamas TV broadcast statements by two senior Hamas leaders, both emphasizing that Palestinians "love death for Allah."
Hamas leader Muhammad Deif: "Today you [Israelis] are fighting divine soldiers, who love death for Allah like you love life, and who compete among themselves for Martyrdom like you flee from death."
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh: "We love death like our enemies love life! We love Martyrdom, the way in which [Hamas] leaders died."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 30, 2014]
Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait, Tareq Al-Suwaidan: "Without a doubt, the blood being spilled [in Gaza] is dear. But the equation is 'Those killed from our side are in Paradise, and those killed from their side in Hell.' (Hadith) We are not afraid of Martyrdom. Not long ago, you cried out loud: 'Death for Allah is our most exalted wish!' (Muslim Brotherhood slogan) You received the death you wanted. We have no problem with death. We are not like the children of Israel: 'And you will surely find them the most greedy of people for life.' (Quran) Whereas we yearn for death and Martyrdom... Every mother - especially the mothers in Palestine, but every mother in the [Islamic] Nation, not just Palestine - must nurse her children on hatred of the sons of Zion. We hate them and they are our enemies. We will plant this in their [our children's] souls, so that a new generation will grow among us, which will erase them from the face of the earth."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), Aug. 1, 2014]
Paradoxically, in previous wars it has been Israel who tried to protect the lives of Palestinian civilians, while it has been Hamas who intentionally endangers them, causing many civilian deaths among Palestinians.