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Editorial: The PA's Human Shields

On Friday, this newspaper published an editorial in which we criticized Israel for having fired on a group of Palestinian demonstrators near the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza last Wednesday. Since then, we have received numerous letters from readers who believe that blame for the deadly tragedy lies primarily with the Palestinians. Many letter writers point to an article published on the Web site of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a group that regularly publicizes the more inflammatory pronouncements contained in the Palestinian media and education system. The text of this article, which was posted to PMW’s site shortly after Wednesday's attack, follows:
The PA’s Human Shields, by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been calling since Monday for “women, children and elderly” to stand in front of Israeli bulldozers and tanks in Rafah even though the PA knew Rafah was the site of armed battles between the Israeli army and Palestinian terrorists.
Israel has apologized over the past two days for injuring and killing civilians during Wednesday’s fighting. The civilians were hurt during the Israeli army operation to search for terrorists and missiles that the PA has smuggled from Egypt.
As PMW has reported in the past, the PA consistently urges civilians to put themselves on the front lines in these military situations. In this case, the PA-controlled daily newspaper called specifically for “women, children and elderly” to enter the fray. The PA intentionally placed civilians on the battlefield, and is ultimately responsible for their fate.
The following is from a May 17 article in Monday’s PA daily, Al-Ayyam, in which the PA called for “women, children and elderly” to make an “impassable barrier” in Rafah. The call was answered, and thousands of civilians marched into the heart of the battle, thus setting the stage for the accident.
“Ashraf Jumaa, principal of the Abu Iyad school for organizational staff in Rafah, said to Al-Ayyam that the [civilian] march … will be an impassable barrier for the occupation bulldozers, and will prevent their progress to the Rafah neighbourhoods… He called for all the citizens –women, children and elderly – to participate… He demanded of all the citizens of the Rafah district, who left their homes and abandoned them, to return to those homes and to stay in them … to cause the failure of the occupation’s plans.”