Israel Resource Review 1st January, 2008


Israeli Civil Rights Lobby And Human Shields In Gaza
David Bedein

As the war in Gaza continues, the issue of the possibility of Palestinian civilian deaths hovers over the conscience of the people of Israel and the judicial system of Israel, at a time when officials of Israeli intelligence confirm that the Palestinian military targets are surrounded by at least 90,000 Palestinian villages and/or United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) refugee camps.

In that context, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has issued a statement warning Israeli armed forces to refrain from killing civilians in Gaza.

However, the Sderot Media Center has filmed and confirmed that Hamas fighters fire lethal rockets from the roofs of housing projects in Beit Hanoun, strategically located in Northern Gaza, half a mile from Sderot.

The Israel Intelligence Information Center has similarly filmed and confirmed found that Palestinian fighters use UNRWA schoolyards in Gaza as cover for firing their deadly rockets against Israel.

Dan Yakir, ACRI legal counsel, said he would not object to strikes against such targets as long as Israel was certain that the civilians had evacuated the buildings.

Mr. Yakir said Israeli troops should refrain from firing on such structures if civilians had not been evacuated. But he agreed when asked if the Palestinians were using civilians as human shields and if they were manipulating Israel's human rights laws for propaganda purposes.

He, however, refused to answer whether or not his organization provided a propaganda tool for Israel's sworn enemies during a time of war, and Mr. Yakir repeatedly said ACRI's role is to prevent Israel from causing civilian deaths.

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