The AP reports:
GAZA CITY, Gaza (AP) — Residents of a Gaza neighborhood are confirming Israel’s claim that Hamas militants had opened fire from the cover of a U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge.
Israeli forces fired back with mortars, and hospital officials says three dozen Palestinians were killed.
Two residents say a group of militants had fired their mortars from a street near the school, then fled into a crowd of people in the streets. The Israeli army says two of the dead were militants. It accuses Gaza’s Hamas rulers of “cynically” using civilians as human shields.
And here’s a video from 2007 of Hamas members firing rockets from the same location. Nobody who is being intellectually honest can dispute the fact that Hamas uses civilians as human shields to make Israel hesitate, or, alternatively, to gain a propaganda victory when civilians are killed. That forces Israel to make a choice. Either Israelis target Hamas militants — with the unfortunate consequences that civilians may be killed — or they never fire if civilians are in the area, which would send a signal to terrorists that as long as they hide among women and children they can fire their rockets with impunity.
As I’ve mentioned before, this is also another reason for the disproportionate death tolls. Israelis go to great lengths to protect their own civilians, while Hamas makes the strategic decision to place its own civilians in harm’s way.
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