Hamas, the terrorist organization that attacked Israel last weekend, is reportedly setting up roadblocks in Gaza to stop Palestinian civilians from leaving, according to Israel War Room. The report comes after Israeli officials warned civilians in Palestine about imminent attacks in an effort to ensure their safety.
At least 1,200 Jews – mostly civilians – were killed in the deadly terrorist attacks on Saturday, prompting Israel to declare war on Hamas.
The terrorist group is known for using civilians as human shields, and after Israel urged Gaza civilians to leave, Mosques started broadcasting messages in the Gaza Strip telling residents to stay, Reuters reported.
According to a NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence report, Hamas has been using human shields in conflicts with Israel since at least 2007.
“According to the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the war crime of using human shields encompasses ‘utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas, or military forces immune from military operations,’” the report explains. “Hamas has launched rockets, positioned military-related infrastructure-hubs and routes, and engaged the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from, or in proximity to, residential and commercial areas.”
“The strategic logic of human shields has two components. It is based on an awareness of Israel’s desire to minimise collateral damage, and of Western public opinion’s sensitivity towards civilian casualties,” the report continues. “If the IDF uses lethal force and causes an increase in civilian casualties, Hamas can utilise that as a lawfare tool: it can accuse Israel of committing war crimes, which could result in the imposition of a wide array of sanctions,” it continues.
“Alternatively, if the IDF limits its use of military force in Gaza to avoid collateral damage, Hamas will be less susceptible to Israeli attacks, and thereby able to protect its assets while continuing to fight,” the report adds. “Moreover, despite the Israeli public’s high level of support for the Israeli political and military leadership during operations, civilian casualties are one of the friction points between Israeli left-wing and right-wing supporters, with the former questioning the outcomes of the operation.”