Israel responds to war crimes allegations

Jerusalem Post:

...

In addition to stressing the role of humanitarian instruction and legal counsel in IDF operational decision-making, the strategy involves a heavy dose of turning the tables on Hamas and emphasizing the terrorist group's own humanitarian violations.

Under the heading "distinction," the accompanying slide show emphasize Hamas's use of civilian structures with special status and protection such as mosques and medical facilities, describing it as part of Hamas's "modus operandi."

The use of such structures, the presentation emphasizes, "renders them legitimate military targets." It then stresses that this behavior by Hamas "is in breach of international law and amounts to war crimes."

The talking points blast Hamas for "intentionally and systematically endangering civilians by imbedding themselves within the civilian population," and condemn Hamas's "despicable methods of warfare" which "have forced the IDF to fight within densely populated areas."

"It is important to keep in mind," the slide show continues, "that the alternative to this warfare was not to carry hostilities in the open battlefield - this was not an option - but to abstain from responding to Hamas's attacks altogether. This is not an option for any democracy whose civilians are systematically and continuously under attack."

Hamas, the writers claim, seized the contents of "many humanitarian convoys" for its own use "or to be sold to Palestinian civilians on the black market."

Specific headings of the talking points convey the assumption that would-be advocates will face questions on proportionality, use of incendiary weapons, including white phosphorous, and treatment of detainees.

...


The arguments are sound, but the problem is the willful blindness and ignorance of those making the allegations in Europe and elsewhere and the willful deceit of those in Hamas which perpetrates a deliberate victim strategy. Hamas's entire plan of operation is a war crime that endangers civilians. Not mentioned is the deliberate removal of identifying uniforms by Hamas operatives which further endangers all civilians. It would be a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions if they were considered a high contracting party.

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