November 9, 2023
From Syria 360

Vanessa Beeley

What separates Israel, the United States and other democracies when it comes to incredibly difficult situations like this is our respect for international law and, as appropriate, the laws of war. We do everything we can, in these situations, to avoid civilian casualties.

That is in direct contrast with Hamas which uses people as human shields. It [Hamas] actually seeks to put Palestinian civilians in situations where they could be harmed. This is very much part of the game plan. We know Israel will take all the precautions it can, just as we would, again that is what separates us from Hamas and terrorist groups that engage in the most heinous kind of activities

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken

Zionist projection is the default Hasbara strategy

If you actually listen to the clip of Blinken justifying Israeli brutality you will hear how he stumbles over his words. He knows he is lying in my opinion. The 4000 plus dead children, 10,328 dead civilians, 26000 injured and 2300 missing believed buried under the rubble of Israeli bombs does not substantiate Blinken’s claims of adherence to international law.

The Israeli bombing of humanitarian convoys, ambulances, paramedics, Civil Defence headquarters, journalists – 50 killed so far, hospitals, makeshift refugee centres, places of worship – mosques and churches, schools, UNWRA facilities, humanitarian aid supplies including essential bottled water supplies, sewage treatment plants, bridges, solar panels, electricity and internet, media buildings, fisherman’s boats, flour stores, burning of food crops – all these targets are in direct violation of any rule of war or human rights conventions.

The deliberate policy of starvation and the cutting off of water, food, fuel and electricity supplies is a genocidal policy:

According to Euro-Med Monitor, the Israeli war of starvation has taken very dangerous turns, including cutting off all food supplies to the Northern half and bombing and destroying factories, bakeries, food stores, water stations, and tanks throughout the entire enclave.

Soaring malnutrition cases especially among pregnant women and children. A Euromed report confirms that “women and children in Gaza are disproportionately suffering from the effects of Israel’s war. Approximately 52,500 infants in Gaza are currently at risk of starvation, death, dehydration, and other health hazards due to overcrowding, in addition to 55,000 pregnant women, of whom 5,500 are expected to give birth this month.”

“According to Euro-Med Monitor, getting bread in the Gaza Strip has become an existential challenge, since Gaza’s sole mill there is still unable to grind wheat because of a shortage of fuel and electricity. Since October 7, 11 bakeries have been bombed and destroyed, while the ones that are still operating face tremendous difficulties due to fuel and flour shortages.”

Israel has been blatant about its genocidal policies. Blinken disappears the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from West Bank and Gaza in his statement. Israeli Heritage Minister, Amichai Eliyahu, has not only described the bombing of Gaza as “amazing”, he has recommended nuking Gaza and sending Palestinians to Ireland or the desert. According to a Times of Israel article:

Eliyahu also voices his objection during the interview to allowing any humanitarian aid into Gaza, saying “we wouldn’t hand the Nazis humanitarian aid,” and charging that “there is no such thing as uninvolved civilians in Gaza.”

“They can go to Ireland or deserts, the monsters in Gaza should find a solution by themselves.”

He says the northern Strip has no right to exist, adding that anyone waving a Palestinian or Hamas flag “shouldn’t continue living on the face of the earth.”

Corpses rotting under rubble, shallow and hastily dug mass graves. Chemicals believed to be used by Israel in the bombing campaigns including White Phosphorous – all these factors spell disaster when the rains come.

Gaza is a strip of land the size of the Isle of Wight ( 40km X 12km) with a population of 2.2 million civilians. With the forced evacuation by Israel from the north to the south – you will have 2.2 million civilians living in an area half its original size.

Israel has destroyed Gaza’s ability to desalinate water to provide clean drinking water or to effectively pump sewage out of the strip. When the rains come, disease will be rife with sewage, decaying bodies, chemicals, disease flooding the enclave.

Even in so-called peace time children are used to wading through sewage to get to school. Children are forced to swim in raw sewage in the sea off the Gaza coast. This pollution will be exponentially increased by the latest Israeli aggression.

Added to this, the targeting of hospitals and health centers will result in chronic illness patients dying from lack of available treatment. Euromed – “more than 2,000 cancer patients, more than 1,000 patients in need of dialysis to survive, 50,000 cardiovascular patients, and over 60,000 diabetics—urgently need access to basic healthcare services considering the severe shortage of medications, medical supplies, fuel, food, and clean water.” These patients are not given priority because of the massive influx of emergency cases from the Israeli bombing raids. As Euromed Monitor reports:

Eighteen out of 35 hospitals in the Gaza Strip have stopped operating so far, according to local health officials there. Overall, 120 health institutions have been targeted, while more than 48 primary care centres (70%) are now out of service due to the ongoing Israeli raids and the fuel crisis.

The Hamas Human Shield trope

The claim that Hamas or as I prefer to call it, the Palestinian Resistance coalition, use Palestinian civilians as human shields is consistently used to justify the Israeli bombing of civilian targets as mentioned above. The bombing of an ambulance carrying wounded for evacuation at the Egyptian Rafah border was justified by the Israeli claim that Hamas fighters were on board. Claims that are never substantiated or investigated.

In my experience in both Gaza during Israeli aggression 2012 and in Syria on various frontlines – it is normal for the injured or civilian evacuees to be escorted for their safety by military, in Syria by the Syrian Arab Army. I do not know if this was the case in Gaza but it is a legitimate reason for military escort. The civilian bodies that were brought from the ambulance into hospital however contradict Israeli claims. Israel has, so far, failed to provide evidence of its claims that resulted in the deaths of civilians including children.

Gaza is a strip of land 40km by 12km. It is a densely populated enclave with buildings arranged in close proximity, schools, hospitals, residential areas all on top of each other. Israel claims that the Palestinian Resistance is using their own families, children and civilians as “human shields” while carpet bombing entire residential areas to allegedly wipe out ‘Hamas’.

The denials of Hamas using human shields

2014 – BBC’s Jeremy Bowen wrote for the New Statesman – ‘I saw no evidence of Hamas using Palestinians as human shields’. Bowen described his experience in Gaza:

I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields. I saw men from Hamas on street corners, keeping an eye on what was happening. They were local people and everyone knew them, even the young boys.

Also in 2014 a Truthout article was published – ‘Congress utilizes myth of human shields to justify [Israeli] war crimes’

According to the report ‘no Gaza eyewitness found evidence of Hamas using human shields’ during the 2014 Israeli aggression against the Gaza strip which followed a similar pattern to the ongoing 2023 mass bombing of civilian infrastructure – a war crime in itself. From the report:

Human Rights Watch cited evidence of Israel “blatantly violating the laws of war designed to spare civilians,” including attacks on heavily-populated neighborhoods and shooting at fleeing civilians. Similarly, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem challenged its government’s claims that they had “no intention of harming civilians,” noting how after “weeks of lethal bombardments by Israel in the Gaza Strip which have killed hundreds of civilians and wiped out dozens of families, this claim has become meaningless.” United Nations officials in the Gaza Strip also charged Israeli forces with engaging in serious violations of international law, following a series of attacks against six UN schools where Palestinians were seeking refuge, and where no Hamas weaponry or fighters were present, killing 46 civilians.

None of the claims by the US State Department or individual Representatives that Hamas used civilians as human shields have been evidenced according to the Truthout report.

Again in 2014 the Belfast Telegraph correspondent, Kem Sengupta, based in Khan Younis, southern Gaza reported on the ‘myth of Hamas’ human shields’ – Gazans deny being put in the line of fire. Sengupta writes:

What used to be a three-storey house had been turned into debris sunk into a deep crater with twisted steel rods jutting out. Twenty-six people were killed in the mostly deadly air-strike so far in this bloody conflict. Twenty-four of them were from one family, the Abu Jamaa.

Around the same time that attack was taking place on Sunday evening, Benjamin Netanyahu was charging Hamas on TV with using “human shields” to gather “telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause”.

Amnesty International, following an extensive investigation after the 2014 war, found no evidence that “Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to ‘shield’ specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks.”

In 2018 the Independent ran a headline – ‘Israeli army edits video of Palestinian medic its troops shot dead to misleadingly show she was ‘human shield for Hamas’

The edited clip was condemned by Palestinians and rights activists as attempt to ‘justify’ 21-year-old Razan al-Najjar’s death – an IOF sniper shot her in the chest during protests on the Gaza-Israel border on 1st June 2018 as she attended to wounded and unarmed protestors also targeted by IOF snipers.

Israeli government and military officials tweeted out a video labelled ‘Hamas use of human shields must stop’ showing an excerpt of an interview with Al Najjar. The reality is that the young nurse does not mention Hamas and states clearly that she was there to save the wounded at the front lines.

“The IDF always accuses Palestinians and Israeli human rights orgs of editing documentation of it human rights abuses. But it edited this video of Razan al Najjar to discredit her after murdering her. Absolutely despicable and hypocritical,” Israeli-American writer Mairav Zonszein said on Twitter.

From personal experience, Hamas officials have always been very against civilians protesting at the border areas because of the high risk of injury and sniping by the IOF.

In 2013 I went with protestors to Beit Hanoun, north-east Gaza, to confront the IOF prison guards who encircle the Gaza strip with apartheid walls and barbed wire – converting the enclave into an open air concentration camp.

The automatic gun turrets that are found along the walls are set to fire at a varying distance. Israel changes the distance without ever informing Gazan farmers -so one day the safe distance is 4 meters, some days it is 6 meters – when farmers cross the red line, they are fired upon by the automatic machine gun turrets.

We stood on high ground next to the wall. We could see the IOF vehicles and guns trained on us. After about an hour of protests, Hamas cars arrived and asked us to leave the area for our own safety.

Razan Al Najjar was shot in the chest deliberately by the IOF. She presented no danger to the IOF. She was attending to the wounded during the Great March of Return that began in March 2018. The peaceful march demanded the end of the blockade on Gaza and the right to return for Palestinian refugees.

The IOF responded to these unarmed civilian demonstrations with the use of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition. ‘Among the casualties of the first year are 227 UNRWA students who were injured and 13 who were killed.’

Watch this video – Great March of Return, a mother’s perspective:

6 months after the start of the Great March protests, Amnesty International reported:

According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, since the start of the protests, over 150 Palestinians have been killed in the demonstrations. At least 10,000 others have been injured, including 1,849 children, 424 women, 115 paramedics and 115 journalists. Of those injured, 5,814 were hit by live ammunition. According to Israeli media, one soldier was moderately injured due to shrapnel from a grenade thrown by a Palestinian from inside Gaza and one Israeli soldier was killed by Palestinian sniper fire near the fence that separates Gaza and Israel outside of the context of the protests.

Legitimate calls for Israeli authorities to lift their 11-year illegal blockade on Gaza and to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their villages and towns have not been met.

The claim that Al Najjar was a Hamas human shield is a cynical ploy by the Zionist forces to provide justification for their targeting of unarmed civilians who have a legally justified cause to protest under international law. Those that so often call for Palestinians to protest peacefully should understand that there is no effective ‘peaceful’ protest against the IOF.

In 2021 Law4Palestine – ‘Under Scrutiny: Allegations of Use of Human Shields by Palestinian Armed Groups and the International Criminal Court Investigation’

What is certain, so far, is that the allegation that the armed groups are using human shields is unsubstantiated, and even the Prosecutor’s Office does not seem to have evidence on this regard, because the evidence at our disposal is the same as that which was available to the Prosecutor’s Office at this stage of the investigation.

Israel will try to defend itself – whether through the Court or through its political discourse – regarding the commission of war crimes by claiming that the PAGs are terrorist groups and that the war on Gaza was a war on terror where terrorists do not shy away from using civilians as human shields. However, it will face obstacles relating to the characteristics of the Palestinian situation in the Gaza strip and the possibilities of taking “all the possible limits of necessary measures and precautions” to protect civilians and spare them from military attacks.

Detailed investigations following the 2008-2009 and 2014 conflicts by Human Rights WatchAmnesty International, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and others have failed to find a single documented case of any civilian deaths caused by Hamas using human shields.

Not one.

The following video by journalist Abby Martin demonstrates the hypocrisy of ‘human shield’ claims by Washington and Tel-Aviv:

Now let’s look at Israel’s proven use of Palestinian children and civilians as human shields

So not only is the Palestinian use of human shields a myth lacking any evidence, it is in fact Israel who is infamous for using human shields in its oppression of the Palestinians. Examples of this are incredibly easy to find even with the most rudimentary of research. Like much Israeli propaganda, it seeks to turn reality upside down and accuse the Palestinians of the crimes that Israel so often commits. This is a prime example of baseless dehumanization that many eagerly embrace because they have come to internalize a demonized image of Palestinians based on Israeli propaganda.

Decolonize Palestine

The evidence of Israel using Palestinians as human shields is voluminous, I will cite a number of cases and then offer links to additional reports.

May 2023 in Ramallah – a report by Defence for Children (DCI) claims that Israeli forces have used at least five Palestinian children as human shields so far this year, including two toddlers.

Israeli forces then threatened his sons Nidal, 9, and Karam, 11, in addition to his twin nephews, Ahmad and Mohammad, both two years old, and forced them to stand in front of Israeli military vehicles while Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and live ammunition at Palestinians confronting the group of soldiers.

Israeli special forces forced Anas to stand and walk in front of them for several minutes while handcuffed as they confronted two Palestinian men and fired live ammunition. Before killing the two Palestinian men, Israeli forces forced Anas to sit on the floor of a house next door, blindfolded.

“International law is explicit and absolutely prohibits the use of children as human shields by armed forces or armed groups,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Israeli forces intentionally putting a child in grave danger in order to shield themselves constitutes a war crime.”

While Israeli forces used the Shalloun family as human shields in Aqbat Jabr refugee camp, one soldier ordered mother Samia to put her two-year-old nephew Mohammad on the ground and raise her hands. Mohammad cried as an Israeli military dog approached him, and as Samia lowered her hands to move him away from the dog, the Israeli soldier put his gun to Mohammad’s head, saying, “Move again and I’ll shoot him.”

Since 2000, DCIP has documented at least 31 cases involving Palestinian children being used as human shields by the Israeli army. Last year, Israeli soldiers forced 16-year-old Ahed Mohammad Rida Mereb to stand in front of an Israeli military vehicle in Jenin as armed Palestinians fired heavily in their direction.

A 2013 report by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child describes a litany of abuses of children by the IOF and security forces including their use as human shields:

Almost all those using children as human shields and informants have remained unpunished and the soldiers convicted for having forced at gunpoint a nine-year-old child to search bags suspected of containing explosives only received a suspended sentence of three months and were demoted.

Further details of this case can be found in this Guardian report.

Two Israeli soldiers who used a nine-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield were given suspended sentences and demoted after being convicted of “inappropriate conduct”.

The unnamed soldiers, from the Givati Brigade, ordered Majeh Rabah, from the Tel al-Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza City, to check bags for explosives in January 2009, towards the end of Israel’s three-week offensive.

Also in the report from Human Rights Watch.

2014 – a report from ReliefWeb based on the original report by DCI Palestine:

Ramallah, August 21, 2014—Israeli soldiers repeatedly used Ahmad Abu Raida, 17, as a human shield for five days while he was held hostage during Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Ahmad, from Khuza’a, near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, was just 16 years old when he was taken from his family on July 23. He was forced at gunpoint to search for tunnels for five days, during which time he was interrogated, verbally and physically abused, and deprived of food and sleep. Ahmad told DCI-Palestine in a sworn testimony that Israeli soldiers attempted both to extract information from him regarding Hamas members, and recruit him as an informant, before releasing him on July 27.

“The Israeli military has consistently accused Hamas of using civilians – particularly children – as human shields, but this incident represents a clear case of their soldiers forcing a child to directly assist in military operations,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “Israeli officials make generalized accusations while Israeli soldiers engage in conduct that amounts to war crimes.”

A report in Mondoweiss at the same time records accounts of Israeli forces using civilians as human shields:

Ayman Abu Toaimah, 32, a resident of Khuza’a recalls, “As Israeli invading troops advanced to the village they besieged it and used residents as human shields. When the Israeli army arrested people and then released some of them, they were told they are free to go back to the village, but as they were fleeing they came under fire and some of them shot dead. These people were used as human shields.”

Abu Saleem, 56, a resident of Khuza’a echoed Abu Toaimah, “Israelis claim that Hamas is using us as human shields– how? This is a lie, we do not see fighters in the streets. It’s them, the Israelis who used us as human shields in Khuza’a and Shuja’iyeh. They turned our houses into military posts, terrified residents in the houses. They attacked innocent civilians with their bombs, and missiles, they attacked chicken farms, they burned our crops, they have no mercy.”

May 2022 a Palestinian teenage girl was used by the IOF as a human shield during a military raid in Jenin:

According to DCIP, during a raid on the morning of May 13th, Israeli soldiers forced 16-year-old Ahed Mohammad Rida Mereb, to stand in front of an Israeli military vehicle for two hours as the vehicle came under fire from Palestinian gunmen, while Israeli soldiers sat inside the vehicle.

Breaking the Silence documents abuses of Palestinians by the IOF based on accounts from former IOF soldiers. A ‘moving human shield’ is one such report:

Apparently, that captain had gone to Takua, which is a pretty hostile village—they were throwing stones at the jeep. So he just stopped a Palestinian guy who was passing, forty-something years old, and tied him to the hood of the jeep, a guy just lying on the hood, and they drove into the village. No one threw any more rocks. A human shield. Yes. But not just a human shield—first of all, a human shield is bad enough—this was a moving human shield. Tied to the hood of the jeep and they drove with him tied there. Drove with him through the village, it’s horrific.

22nd April 2004, a 13 year old boy called Mohammed Said Essa Badwan/Badran was used as a human shield. Mohammed was peacefully taking part in spontaneous demonstration in Biddo against the building of the Annexation Wall. Around noon, following the launch of sound bombs and teargas canisters by the soldiers, some nearby youth started throwing stones. At this point, two Israeli Border Guards arrested Mohammed, beat him and forced him to sit on the hood of their jeep, tying his arm to the windshield screen and then using him as a human shield.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, who heads the organisation Rabbis for Human Rights, was present and tried to intervene for the release of the child but was instead arrested and beaten. Mohammed was reported to have been repeatedly hit by the soldiers while he was tied to the vehicle. Although he begged them to release him because he was scared and in pain, they would not. He also reportedly suffered from exposure to the teargas used by the soldiers, since he could not move nor was he given any protection. After about four hours, Mohammed was untied, forced into the jeep and taken first to Al-Sahl, an area in which the Annexation Wall is being constructed. He was then questioned by a military officer. Finally the child was released in the neighbouring village of Al-Kalaileh where he had to wait, alone and in the dark, for a relative to come and pick him up.

Ramallah June 4th 2013 – ‘Israeli soldiers proudly paraded the handcuffed teen up and down the street, making a public spectacle of him in the occupied West Bank town of Abu Dis.’

Armed with live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas, on Friday, April 19, at least 10 Israeli soldiers confronted the crowd of protesters using 17-year-old Muhammad Rabea as a human shield. They forced him to walk at gunpoint with his hands raised in the air as they approached the protesters.

Prior to being abused as a human shield, Muhammad had been savagely beaten by the IOF forces that had grabbed him from the streets. He was hit on the forehead with a rifle stock, kicked repeatedly on the legs, hit at the base of his neck by steel helmets. He was bundled in the back of the military jeep, verbally and physically abused, his hands tied by plastic cords. He was forced to sit in a revolving chair while IOF soldiers kicked him as the chair spun in the back of the jeep.

“One of the soldiers sprayed the keffiyeh (scarf) I was wearing with pepper spray before tying it tightly over my eyes, burning them,” he says. “Each time I coughed, he told me to shut up and kicked me. I wasn’t allowed to cough.”

At the military camp, soldiers forced him to stand facing a metal pole. Muhammad said the soldiers ripped his jacket and searched him, while an army dog clawed his back and calves. Following the search, soldiers knocked him down on the ground where he laid for two hours in pain as they continued to kick him in his legs, back and stomach. One of the soldiers removed the keffiyeh over his eyes and poured gasoline on it, burning it in front of him. The soldiers re-blindfolded him with a black piece of cloth and continued to hit him on the head with their helmets.

Btselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) 2017:

Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, Israeli security forces have repeatedly used Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip as human shields, ordering them to perform military tasks that risked their lives. As part of this policy, soldiers have ordered Palestinian civilians to remove suspicious objects from roads, to tell people to come out of their homes so the military can arrest them, to stand in front of soldiers while the latter shoot from behind them, and more. The Palestinian civilians were chosen at random for these tasks, and could not refuse the demand placed on them by armed soldiers.

Using civilians to get wanted persons out of a house is known as “neighbor procedure.” This procedure does not differ significantly from other ways in which the military has used Palestinian civilian. It, too, too, constitutes illegal exploitation of civilians to perform military tasks and places them in real danger. This was made irrefutably clear in an incident that took place in 2002. On 14 August, soldiers sent Nidal Abu Mukhsan, a 19-year-old from the village of Tubas, to the home of Nasser Jarar, a Hamas activist, and ordered him to get Jarar out of the house. When Abu Mukhsan approached the house, Jarar, apparently thinking that the person knocking at the door was a soldier, shot and killed him.

2012 report from the Institute for Middle East Understanding:

  • In 2007, B’Tselem releases a report documenting 14 cases in which Israeli soldiers have used Palestinian civilians – including boys and girls as young as 11-years-old – as human shields to protect themselves in dangerous situations. In one case, a 14-year-old girl in Gaza is shot in the stomach and leg after soldiers used her as a human shield during an incursion.
  • In May 2011, two dozen former Israeli soldiers come forward to provide eyewitness accounts of the abuse of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military, including their use as human shields.

2021 – Human Rights Watch – A Threshold Crossed, Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.

When Palestinians Became Human Shields: Counterinsurgency, Racialization, and the Great Revolt (1936–1939) – Cambridge University Press

Using Palestinians as human shields began under the British Mandate in Palestine that ended in 1947. In frustration at the relative success of Palestinian rebels who rejected the influx of European Jews to dispossess Palestinians of their land, the British turned to the use of human shields to defuse Palestinian guerilla military campaigns from 1936-38.

The regularization of human shielding served as proof of “the dark path of repression” foreseen and warned against by the Peel Commission. Footnote125 It was also elemental to an ongoing process of colonial racialization that robbed the Palestinians of their humanity, stripped them of any figment of legal rights or protections, and denuded them of the most basic security of life. Indeed, with the systematic use of human shields, the colonial regime veered towards the “negation of all law” so feared by top civilian officials and took Palestinian society with it into the ensuing abyss.


US law requires Biden to impose sanctions on Hamas for using human shields.

The Hill

According to a report in The Hill, the “Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act” passed both houses of Congress unanimously in 2018. The Shields Act, as it is known, specifically requires the president to submit to Congress a list of persons he determines to be involved in the use of human shields.

Biden should move swiftly to impose the sanctions already required by his determination that Hamas is using human shields.

There is no evidence of Hamas using civilians as human shields – there is a plethora of evidence that Israel has historically exploited Palestinians as human shields putting the lives of children at risk on multiple occasions, torturing and traumatising them in the process. This is completely ignored by Washington. No sanctions on Israel?

It can be argued that Israel has deliberately put its own civilians in danger as human shields by facilitating settlement in contested zones beyond the green line – as for example in the case of the Kibbutz Be’eri when it is now proven that Israeli civilians were not only killed by the IOF gunfire during battles with Palestinian Resistance factions but were also shelled by Israeli tanks two days after the 7th October when the IOF took a decision to eliminate their own civilians alongside Resistance militants.

They [Israelis] are directly put in danger as a sacrifice to Israel’s expansionist colonial designs, which they can then blame on Palestinians to further accelerate this same project.

Decolonize Palestine

‘Israel justifies its violent attacks by continuously accusing Hamas of using human shields, desperately hoping to stir moral indignation while also trying to muster a legal defence for the indefensible.’

The subtext is that civilised people protect their children while Palestinians sacrifice them.

Under this pretext all Palestinians become legitimate targets and Israel can be exonerated of all blame. It is a criminal manipulation of reality to enable justification of genocide and the US and UK are upholding it – thus they are complicit in genocide.

The director of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Craig Mokhiber, resigned on Tuesday, writing:

“As a human rights lawyer with more than three decades of experience in the field, I know well that the concept of genocide has often been subject to political abuse. But the current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler colonial ideology, in continuation of decades of their systematic persecution and purging, based entirely upon their status as Arabs, and coupled with explicit statements of intent by leaders in the Israeli government and military, leaves no room for doubt or debate. In Gaza, civilian homes, schools, churches, mosques, and medical institutions are wantonly attacked as thousands of civilians are massacred. In the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, homes are seized and reassigned based entirely on race, and violent settler pogroms are accompanied by Israeli military units. Across the land, Apartheid rules.

“This is a text-book case of genocide. The European, ethno-nationalist, settler colonial project in Palestine has entered its final phase, toward the expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life in Palestine. What’s more, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, are wholly complicit in the horrific assault. Not only are these governments refusing to meet their treaty obligations ‘to ensure respect’ for the Geneva Conventions, but they are in fact actively arming the assault, providing economic and intelligence support, and giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities.”

See full letternews report and interview from Wednesday morning with Mokhiber.
Journalist Sam Husseini wrote on X – I asked the State Dept on Tuesday about the recent DAWN MENA report documenting the Biden administration’s efforts to pay for Israeli plans to “ethnically cleanse” Palestinians to Gaza. The spokesperson refused to comment on the funding request:

If you really want to understand Washington’s defence of Israeli war crimes and human rights abuses including a de facto genocide of the Palestinian people, you need look no further than this extraordinary admission by Robert F. Kennedy Jr:

Palestinian life is expendable if it ensures US unipolar supremacy. Heck, even the lives of Israelis are superfluous when faced with US protection of its global hegemony. If it is not yet clear that tropes such as “Hamas atrocities” and “Hamas human shields” are nothing more than fig leaves for US proxy war crimes in defence of US global military adventurism – then we are headed for a very ominous future.

Hasbara Strategy: The ‘Human Shield’ Justification with Vanessa Beeley