June 11, 2021 | The Hill

How Congress can fight Hamas’s use of human shields

June 11, 2021 | The Hill

How Congress can fight Hamas’s use of human shields

Excerpt

ceasefire has halted for now the Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. But the conflict continues, including through campaigns at the United Nations and in the media to attribute victory and apportion blame.

During the May 2021 conflict, Hamas reportedly used civilians as human shields to protect its military assets from Israeli counterstrikes. For example, Hamas reportedly located military tunnels under a school and adjacent to a kindergarten, a mosque, and a hospital. It reportedly placed weapons stockpiles in several different houses and apartment buildings, situated pivotal intelligence research and operations facilities in the same building as the Associated Press and other foreign journalists, and installed its military intelligence headquarters next to a kindergarten. Hamas also reportedly used civilian apartment buildings for military planning and operations, positioned rocket launch sites next to civilian buildings, and situated weapons factories in the heart of densely populated civilian areas.

Following the ceasefire, a resolution, passed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), established a one-sided commission of inquiry designed to whitewash the use of human shields and otherwise portray the conflict’s tragic loss of life as entirely Israel’s fault. The Trump administration had withdrawn from the UNHRC in 2018, accusing the forum of having a “chronic anti-Israel bias.” But the Biden administration announced in February that it would “re-engage immediately and robustly” with the Council, explaining that a “vacuum of U.S. leadership” did “nothing” to reform the UNHRC’s “disproportionate focus on Israel.”

Orde Kittrie is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and law professor at Arizona State University.  Matthew Zweig is a senior fellow at FDD. FDD is a nonpartisan think tank focused on foreign policy and national security issues. Follow them on Twitter @OrdeFK and @MatthewZweig1.

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Issues:

International Organizations Israel Jihadism Palestinian Politics Sanctions and Illicit Finance