New York Times Drops the Ball on Hamas’ Human Shields

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Why is the Israeli policy of avoiding civilian casualties “contentious”? The New York Times reports ostensibly on Israeli measures to warn Gaza civilians of impending IDF attacks:

The call came to the cellphone of his brother’s wife, Salah Kaware said Tuesday. Mr. Kaware lives in Khan Younis, in southeast Gaza, and the caller said that everyone in the house must leave within five minutes, because it was going to be bombed.

 

A further warning came as the occupants were leaving, he said in a telephone interview, when an Israeli drone apparently fired a flare at the roof of the three-story home. “Our neighbors came in to form a human shield,” he said, with some even going to the roof to try to prevent a bombing. Others were in the stairway when the house was bombed not long afterward.

But faced with a watertight confession that Palestinians are using IDF warnings in order to act as human shields, Steve Erlanger and Fares Akram drop the ball. Instead of focusing on Hamas’ policy of deliberately placing civilians in harm’s way, the New York Times brands Israel’s measures to avoid civilian casualties as “contentious”:

But the events on Tuesday were another example of a contentious Israeli policy in which occupants of a building about to be bombed or shelled are given a brief warning in Arabic to evacuate. The Israelis have used such telephone calls and leaflets for years now, in a stated effort to reduce civilian casualties and avoid charges of indiscriminate killings or even of crimes against the rules of war.

What’s so contentious about avoiding civilian casualties? Shouldn’t the contentious policy be that of Hamas?

As former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp said of Israel’s previous operations in Gaza: “the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.” Despite the IDF’s extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties, the New York Times disparages these efforts as either ineffective or irrelevant as seen through the warped eyes of so-called human rights non-governmental organizations that accuse Israel of “war crimes” in any and every case.

The real war crimes are Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket launches that deliberately target civilians and the embedding of terrorists within its own civilian population. Unlike Israel, Hamas gives no warning and unlike Israel, which makes every effort to defend its population through measures such as warning sirens, bomb shelters and the Iron Dome system.

The New York Times should take a closer look at the IDF Blog, which details Hamas using human shields in Gaza. In addition to documenting the firing of rockets from within civilian areas, the IDF addresses the very example of rooftop human shields that the New York Times writes about.

In this photo from July 8, civilians gather on the roof of the home of a Hamas terrorist who was targeted by the IDF. They did so in order to act as human shields and deter an imminent IDF attack.

 

Civilians gather on the roof of the house of a Hamas terrorist.

Civilians gather on the roof of the house of a Hamas terrorist.

 

Hamas uses graphics such as the one below in order to assure Palestinians in Gaza that that they can become heroes by acting as human shields.

 

“A strong people” written in Arabic–word play on the name Hebrew name of Operation Protective Edge–encouraging Palestinians in Gaza to stand on the roofs of their homes to act as human shields.

“A strong people” written in Arabic–word play on the name Hebrew name of Operation Protective Edge–encouraging Palestinians in Gaza to stand on the roofs of their homes to act as human shields.

 

See the IDF Blog for more examples of Hamas’ use of human shields.

HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams said:

This is yet another example of a pattern of behavior on the part of the New York Times. Such is the paper’s moral blindness when it comes to Israel, its reporters cannot see the evil of Hamas even when it is presented to them on a plate. As far as The Times is concerned, Israel can simply do no right.

You can send your considered comments to the New York Times – letters@nytimes.com – remembering to include your address and phone number to be considered for publication.


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