Israel Has Frequently Used Palestinians as Human Shields
Israelis frequently accuse Palestinians of using human shields.
That claim is highly questionable.
However, in 2005, the Israeli high court found that Israeli soldiers had used Palestinian civilians as human shields 1,200 times in the past 5 years. As Ynet reported at the time:
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on Tuesday demanded that the High Court review a ruling it issued last Thursday in which it declared that the ‘human shield’ procedure employed by the IDF when detaining Palestinian terror suspects is illegal and violates international law.
Sources at the Ministry of Defense said that Mofaz’ comments are not an attempt to subvert the Court’s decision, adding that the defense minister intends to use democratic means to revoke the ruling.
According to defense officials, the Israel Defense Forces made use of the ‘human shield’ procedure on 1,200 occasions over the last five years, and only on one occasion did a Palestinian civilian get hurt.
An 18-year-old Palestinian was killed in 2002 during one such operation.
Mofaz instructed the IDF to freeze the use of the ‘human shield’ and ‘early warning’ procedures in its arrest operations in the territories until the Court holds a new hearing on the issue.
In 2009, Wikileaks published an Israeli government memo stating:
Individual Palestinians also testified to IDF abuses such as looting, beatings, vandalism of property and the use of the local population as human shields. But by far the strongest reverbration in Israel was that created by the Israeli organization “Breaking the Silence”, which collected testimony from 26 unnamed IDF soldiers. All of the soldiers had been involved in Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, and testified to instances where Gazans were used as human shields, incendiary phosphorous shells were fired over civilian population areas, and other examples of excessive firepower that caused unnecessary fatalities and destruction of property.
The Nation noted last month:
Israeli soldiers have systematically used Palestinians as human shields. Since Israel’s incursion into the West Bank in 2002, it has used Palestinians as human shields by tying young Palestinians onto the hoods of their cars or forcing them to go into a home where a potential militant may be hiding.
And the Guardian pointed out:
Israel, meanwhile, does not have an unblemished record in the use of human shields. In 2010, two soldiers were convicted in an IDF military court of using an 11-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield in its 2008-09 operation in Gaza. The pair ordered the child to search bags they suspected of being booby-trapped.