Israel using palestinians as Human Shields


“”” During a recent raid on the West Bank city of Nablus, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) operating in the Sheikh Munis neighborhood surrounded a house and began demolishing it, though the man they had come to arrest was not present. Below the scene, on the main road from Huwarra Checkpoint toward Balata Refugee Camp, soldiers in armored vehicles patrolled in an effort to prevent residents and journalists from accessing the area. Soldiers fired tear gas, percussion grenades and rubber-coated ammunition as local youths responded to the incursion by throwing stones.

As a young man passed a military humvee, soldiers reached out and began attempting to pull him into the vehicle. The boy protested and was soon joined by second man who spoke with the soldiers in an effort to secure his release. Subsequently, both men were made to stand in front of the humvee to discourage the stone throwers. The incident was caught on tape by a human rights activist and has set off a fresh round of intense media scrutiny into the use of human shields by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

Sam Neil, of the Research Journalism Initiative, a human rights organization based in the West Bank, filmed the incident and was shocked by the international reaction.

“I’m surprised by the debate this footage has sparked,” said Neil. “The international community is treating this as if there is a chance the Israeli military might be using human shields. There is no doubt they use human shields, and have as a standard practice for a very long time.”

The use of human shields has long been forbidden by international law under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the practice was even banned by Israel‘s own supreme court in an Oct, 2005 ruling. The decision forbids using civilians for military purposes even if they have agreed to do so, as the dramatic imbalance of power in such situations renders genuine consent impossible to obtain. In an affidavit presented by Adallah, an Arab Israeli human rights organization, an Israeli reservist admitted, “No civilian would refuse a ‘request’ presented to him at 0300 by a group of soldiers aiming their cocked rifles at him.” Despite the clear requirements of the court rulings, Israeli forces have routinely violated human rights law and continue to employ civilians during military operations.”””


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