There is ample proof that Hamas is using Palestinian civilians - even children - as human shields. From situating military objects in the middle of homes/in schools/hospitals etc.., to using ambulances, to outright deliberately assembling children near a rocket launch points so Israel can't bomb the rockets, as this video shows: http://mignews.com/mobile/article.html?id=180714_84241_99129

Question: Has there been ANY official condemnation (from UN, any other international organization, or any government aside from Israel or USA/Canada) of Hamas specifically for the use of children and other civilians as human shields, which violates both Geneva convention and any form of human decency?


4 Answers 4


The EU condemned Hamas' rocket fire and use of human shields. From the EU statement:

The EU strongly condemns calls on the civilian population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields.

The leader of the Australian Labor Party issued a statement condemning Hamas' use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes:

Labor deplores the abuse of civilian facilities for military purposes, including a Gaza school that was used to hide rockets.

I had trouble finding other governments or government officials (other than those in the US and Canada) condemning Hamas for endangering its own civilians, though a PA official did condemn Hamas' firing rockets at Israeli civilians as a war crime.

Not that this may not be a comprehensive list (it's just what I heard about and could find), and that these statements were usually coupled with criticisms of Israel or general calls for restraint, but nevertheless there have been non-US and non-Canada governments or government officials condemning Hamas' use of human shields.

  • +1. But I would quibble a on EU statement (condemning "calls" is different from condemning actual use - which includes placing weapons in living areas, hospitals etc...).
    – user4012
    Aug 20, 2014 at 0:47
  • Also, is Australian Labour party at this time running Australian foreign policy? (I thought that Liberals held PM and thus formed the government and formulated foreign policy, with Labor in opposition, thus not really being in any position to say anything official?)
    – user4012
    Aug 20, 2014 at 0:47
  • @DVK The liberals are currently the opposition in Australia, though I figured such a statement might interest you regardless. I think the EU's statement answers your question even by a strict interpretation, though I may not have understood what you had in mind. You can read the article for more from the EU and see if what you're looking for is there. Primarily it's just the US (and since the Harper government, Canada) that condemns these things. These are all the statements I could find. Maybe there are others but I kind of can't prove a negative.
    – Publius
    Aug 20, 2014 at 1:40
  • EU one is... on the fence. Not exactly what I was looking for - too narrow - but worded unambiguously enough that it mostly fits.
    – user4012
    Aug 20, 2014 at 11:15

This shares a flaw with the previous answer, in that it's not quite official, although due to the large numbers I thought it was worth posting. US Congressman Israel, Ros-Lehtinen, Deutsch, and Cole sent a letter to the UNHRC with official support of over 100 other members of congress (the release on congressman Israel's official website: http://israel.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/more-than-100-members-join-reps-israel-ros-lehtinen-deutch-and-cole-to. The letter http://israel.house.gov/sites/israel.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/UN%20HRC%20Letter%20on%20Hamas%20Human%20Shields%20-%20FINAL%20SIGNATURES.pdf calls on the UN to condemn Hamas for its use of human shields.

  • 1
    US Congress is not authorized to conduct foreign policy, so this is not "official", really. Just political domestic posturing.
    – user4012
    Aug 19, 2014 at 18:04
  • True, but if congress were to pass a resolution (rather than just send a letter) condemning Hamas, wouldn't that count as official, despite its lack of authority?
    – ewkochin
    Aug 19, 2014 at 18:06

Is it? Last time around, claims about using human shields were investegated by UN and others, and they found that Hamas had not used human shields... Israel on the other hand had - as they've forced children (youths) to go infront of their soldiers when they were clearing areas.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/impunity-war-crimes-gaza-southern-israel-recipe-further-civilian-suffering-20090702 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1155800.html http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-soldiers-convicted-of-using-11-year-old-as-human-shield-in-gaza-1.316867 http://www.btselem.org/human_shields/20060720_human_shields_in_beit_hanun

The Genava Convention makes it clear that even though the presense of civilians does not make a legitimate military target immune to attack, it is the agressor's (here Israel) duty to minimize the loss of civilian life and damage to civlian property. Do you really think Israel has honered that duty, when 80-90% of the killed are civilians - almost half children?! This is one of the most heavely populated areas on Earth, and Israel do things like dropping bombs in the middle of residental areas to kill one single police-chief - and ends up killing 10 civilian members of his family in addition... That is not "minimizing the loss of civilian life".

Look at a map. Look at a map of the partition of Palestine the UN suggested... look at area the Zionists declared as Israel... and look at the situation now, with all the illegal settlements on Palestinian land and the illegal blockade! Look at how Israel destroys Palestinan property and life with impunity, and tell me the Palestinans have no reason to resist this agressive occupation by Israel... and then ask yourself, where they should resist, if not where their enemy is killing them and trying to steal their land!

  • 7
    Yes they honored that duty. They are pretty much the ONLY army in the world, ever, who openly announced to a civilian population that an attack is coming and to get out of the way. More than EVERY other army ever did (including all of Palestinian "militants" who specialize in TARGETING civilians)
    – user4012
    Jul 21, 2014 at 13:31
  • 1
    There are strong indicators that Hamas uses human shields e.g. theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/17/… or theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/human-shields-are-hamass-pr/… @DVK No, the Americans also did it before dropping the nuclear bombs. amnation.com/vfr/archives/008604.html
    – user45891
    Jul 21, 2014 at 17:34
  • 3
    @BaardKopperud - when military targets are deliberately built into civilian population, they have no choice. And the warning is DAYS in advance, not minutes.
    – user4012
    Jul 22, 2014 at 14:56
  • 4
    @BaardKopperud - are you dense or just refusing to read news outside of Al-Jazzeeera? When a rocket launcher - firing at a city - is in a school - that rocket launcher is a target. The school just happens to be where the launcher is. And the decision to use the school for rocket laucnher is deliberate violation of Geneva Convention by HAMAS, aimed at creating human shields.
    – user4012
    Jul 23, 2014 at 13:45
  • 6
    @BaardKopperud - I'd like to offer you the opportunity to answer the question I asked someone else above: Given a hypothetical hospital/school where there is definitive proof of militant activity (such as Hamas news broadcasts clearly showing where the militants and their rocket launchers were), would Israeli forces be justified in attacking the hospital/school? I'm asking this entirely in the hypothetical sense, not about any specific hospital or school. Either "Yes" or "No" is fine as an answer, provided you can explain your choice.
    – Bobson
    Jul 24, 2014 at 21:12

"To put it succinctly, Hamas is using its own citizens in the Gaza strip as shields. So it is no coincidence that Hamas is on the EU list of terrorist organizations."

said congressman Balder in European Parliament; see for example http://ejpress.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49818&catid=12# .

There were other congressmen of European Parliament (especially those from the Party of the European Left) who asked Israel to stop the slaughter, to knock down the West bank barrier, and to move away from Palestine.

  • Was he speaking on behalf of the Parlament, or merely expressing his personal opinion on the floor? If the latter, it doesn't fit what I was asking for (international organization or government). Great find though!
    – user4012
    Jul 19, 2014 at 0:10
  • @DVK A congressman is supposed to officially represent the (EU) people. One has to think that he was speaking as such. A parliament has many voices, no one can speak on behalf of it (unless there is unanimity, what is nearly impossible in an international institution with more than 700 members).
    – drake
    Jul 19, 2014 at 0:39
  • No. Official means it's a vote-on and passed resolution as far as parlament is concerned. Otherwise, it's not official, merely a private opinion of some official figure.
    – user4012
    Jul 19, 2014 at 13:15
  • @DVK After double-checking my English dictionary, I restate that it WAS official as those words were said by an authority (a congressman) during one session and they were recorded in the report of parliamentary proceedings. If you mean that that opinion does not represent the whole parliament's opinion, then I agree.
    – drake
    Jul 20, 2014 at 19:37
  • while it's official, I specifically restricted the question to "from UN, any other international organization, or any government aside from Israel or USA/Canada". A single parlament member making a personal speach doesn't make for a government statement, as he wasn't speaking for the government or on its behalf (the way a secretary of state would)
    – user4012
    Jul 20, 2014 at 20:43

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