PMW responds to UN: Hamas used civilians as human shields in 2014 war
Hamas used civilians as human shields
during the 2014 Gaza war
Hamas demanded Palestinians stay in their homes
despite Israel’s warnings the houses would be bombed
Hamas glorified Martyrdom for Allah
and presented death in the war as “a privilege”
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
In response to the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry report which cites that the high number of Palestinian civilians killed during the 2014 Gaza war indicates that “possible war crimes” were committed by Israel, Palestinian Media Watch is re-publicizing the PMW reports released during the war, documenting that Hamas actively used civilians as human shields.
PMW’s documentation explicitly showed that Hamas openly and intentionally demanded that civilians ignore Israel’s warnings prior to bombings of areas in which there were civilians. Instead, Hamas insisted they endanger their lives and even welcome death, so that Hamas could use them as human shields for their fighters and rocket launching positions.
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]
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 (Hamas), July 8, 2014]
The spokesman of Hamas’ Ministry of Interior also 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 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."
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:
"These people [Gaza civilians killed in war] - their time had come, and they were martyred. They have gained [Paradise]... Don't be disturbed by these images... He who is Martyred doesn't feel... His soul has ascended to Allah." [Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 20, 2014]
Warning: Graphic Images in video
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":
Similarly, Hamas TV chose to broadcast a speech by a Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood leader who addressed Gaza civilians, reiterating that Martyrdom for Allah is "the highest wish":
“We are not afraid of Martyrdom. Not long ago, you cried out loud: 'Death for Allah is our most exalted wish!' (Muslim Brotherhood slogan, -Ed.) You received the death you wanted." [Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), Aug. 1, 2014]
Click to see additional PMW reports from the 2014 Gaza war.
Whereas Israel tried to protect the lives of Palestinian civilians in the war, Hamas openly and intentionally endangered them, causing many civilian deaths among Palestinians.