In a recent report in the Washington Post, the article indicates that the UN is placing the entire onus of reducing civilian casualties in its war with Hamas on Israel.

In Washington, the Pentagon called on Israel to do more to protect Palestinian civilians. “The civilian casualties in Gaza have been too high,” Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said at a news briefing. “And it’s become clear that the Israelis need to do more to live up to their very high standards . . . for protecting civilian life.”

The White House condemned Wednesday’s deadly shelling of a U.N.-run school in the Gaza Strip that was sheltering evacuees, saying there was little doubt that Israeli forces were responsible.

It is not just the US either. The UN seems to be putting the onus on them as well:

Meanwhile, U.N. officials accused Israel of violating international law Wednesday after artillery shells slammed into the U.N.-run school. The shelling killed at least 20 people as they slept — one of the most shocking incidents of the war, which has ravaged the Gaza Strip, home to about 1.8 million Palestinians. The building was the sixth U.N. school in Gaza to be attacked during the conflict, U.N. officials said.

This is despite the fact that its own reports admit that Hamas is using these facilities as bases for troops and for launching attacks against Israel:

Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, told reporters in Geneva that Hamas was hiding rockets in schools and hospitals and launching them from areas where civilians live. Israel, she said, has attacked civilian structures including homes, hospitals, schools and U.N. facilities.

Hamas is the elected ruling party in Gaza, and it seems that the majority of the UN countries accept this. So why is it that no one is calling on Hamas to take actions to protect its civilians? The same would be, and is, expected of other governing bodies. There was great backlash against the US for its failures in dealing with the aftermath of Katrina. As well as the African nations for their failures to stem the violence against its people.


3 Answers 3


There are. United States Congress is passing resolutions condemning Hamas' use of human shields, and 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

John Kerry criticized Hamas for firing rockets into Israel, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called for Hamas to halt its terrorist attacks, saying:

We ... urge Hamas to immediately cease their indiscriminate attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.

Many of these statements have also been accompanied by criticisms of Israel, or calls for restraint or proportionality on Israel's side, but there are nevertheless there have been calls for Hamas to reduce civilian casualties.

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    That is different than what I am saying. Its one thing to condemn actions its quite another to call on someone to take responsibility for making things better. What I am trying to ask is instead of condeming what they are doing wrong. Why not call on them to do something right. Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 2:12
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    Like what? What do you think Hamas should be asked to do in terms of this conflict other than stop engaging in violence and use of human shields? The EU statement also calls for Hamas to disarm, if that's the kind of thing you're looking for.
    – Publius
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 13:07
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    @Chad I have no idea what your question is. What does "acting like one" entail that you're asking about?
    – Publius
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 14:10
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    @Chad Halting the use of human shields and sending rockets into Israel is what Hamas should do to protect their people, so calls for them to not do those things are calls for them to reduce civilian casualties, both for Israelis and Palestinians. If that doesn't answer your question then I do not understand your question.
    – Publius
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 18:22
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    @Chad I actually have no idea what you're talking about. Was this a response to the wrong question?
    – Publius
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 20:37

First of all, as Avi's answer stated, there actually are calls from the usual suspects (Canadians, USA, even some people in EU).

There are two fundamental reasons why there are no calls from others:

  1. The usual suspects (UN, left wing Europe) generally have anti-Israel bent and willfully choose to ignore any facts that make Israel look good and Palestinian militants of any stripes look bad. This includes:

    • ignoring sustained rocket attacks on Israel (that started from Gaza right after Hamas takeover); or terrorist acts against Israel.

    • ignoring violation of basic human rights by Hamas (or PA for that matter - imagine the furor if Israel made it illegal for an Arab to live in Israel the way PA makes it illegal for a Jew to live in PA territory... or the way gays and women are treated in Gaza).

    • ignoring the fact that Hamas officially declares their end goal the destruction of Israel

    • ignoring that most of their aid to Gaza is spent on either well-being of the powerful people there (or not there - see how Haled Mashal lives large) - or on militant infrastructure whose main goal is offensive against Israel (not defensive) - Israel-targeted rockets; tunnels leading to Israel where most of "for Palestinian homes" concrete and money is spent, etc...

  2. Various United Nations agencies specifically allows Hamas to use their facilities for weapons storage; as well as other warmaking purposes. They can't very well denounce Hamas for turning those facilities into valid military targets when that turning was done with their full agreement (notice that rockets that were "discovered" at UN facility were - surprise - turned over back to Hamas, not to Israel or UN forces).

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    This would be much better with references. Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 11:31
  • @Chad - you need reference to them ignoring everything in #1? References for #2 were amply presented in several of Avi's answers already.
    – user4012
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 13:49
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    I have no objection to the reuse of a third party reference in separate answers. Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 14:17
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    Reason 3: It's been proven time and again that Hamas gives only lip service to this concern. Asking them again is unlikely to result in cooperation.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 17:56

Only in a morally twisted world, the victim and the defender is asked to protect its civilians instead of the merciless aggressor!

There's actually a whole of of facts that go missing, distorted or covered-up in the Western pro-Israeli narrative of the Arab Israeli conflict which would be pages and pages to cover in this post. But here's an article covering important facts of Zionist foundational illegitimacy and persistent criminality that you hardly hear from western mainstream media. So before having any opinion on the situation you need to revise your pro-Israeli narrative of the event for a fair and accurate one.

But as for this particular situation, the fact is that Hamas is a democratically elected government (elected by very those who you describe as 'human shields') that represents the aspirations of the Palestinians and many other people around the world 1 for liberation of Palestine and the right to return for the dispossessed and expelled Palestinians which amount to hundreds of thousands.

To quote a critique of the western narrative of Gaza-Israeli conflict from Chomsky:

New York Times correspondent Stephen Erlanger reports that Israeli human rights groups are "troubled by Israel's strikes on buildings they believe should be classified as civilian, like the parliament, police stations and the presidential palace" - and, we may add, villages, homes, densely populated refugee camps, water and sewage systems, hospitals, schools and universities, mosques, UN relief facilities, ambulances, and indeed anything that might relieve the pain of the unworthy victims. A senior Israeli intelligence officer explained that the IDF attacked "both aspects of Hamas -- its resistance or military wing and its dawa, or social wing," the latter a euphemism for the civilian society. "He argued that Hamas was all of a piece," Erlanger continues, "and in a war, its instruments of political and social control were as legitimate a target as its rocket caches." Erlanger and his editors add no comment about the open advocacy, and practice, of massive terrorism targeting civilians, though correspondents and columnists signal their tolerance or even explicit advocacy of such crimes, as noted. But keeping to the norm, Erlanger does not fail to stress that unlike US-Israeli actions, Hamas rocketing is "an obvious violation of the principle of discrimination and fits the classic definition of terrorism." 8

Like others familiar with the region, Middle East specialist Fawwaz Gerges observes that "What Israeli officials and their American allies do not appreciate is that Hamas is not merely an armed militia but a social movement with a large popular base that is deeply entrenched in society." Hence when they carry out their plans to destroy Hamas's "social wing," they are aiming to destroy Palestinian society. 9

So the fair and accurate way of defining the recent conflict in the greater historical context is to define it as one of a last holdout of a displaced, oppressed, murdered and ethnically cleansed indigenous population facing the ruthless military attacks, from all directions, of an occupational entity financed and supported by the most advanced military equipments of the world super power, against a small, densely packed civilian population which has learned since long ago that they should tie no hope virtually to anyone in the institutions of power for liberation of their land and their lives from the hands of Israeli terrorist occupation, except leaders from amongst their own people.

Therefore Hamas that is branded as a terrorist organization by almost all pro-Israeli western governments is regarded as a courageous freedom movement by thousands of people familiar with the true historical facts of the conflict which is resisting yet another all out onslaught of the best funded and best equipped military in the region against a besieged territory that has barely any accesses to basic life necessities and relies on comparably ridiculous weapons in terms of destruction power to retaliate and deter the brutal aggression.

Therefore to answer your question in the light of this crucial historical context, the severe total siege against Gaza that is in place now for almost a decade disables Hamas from building effective shelters for a 1.8 million population trapped in a small area of land against relentless Israelis attacks that come from all directions. So it is unwise to expect Hamas which is just a popular resistance by an impoverished people against the 4th largest world military power to protect the civilians against relentless rain of death and destruction by the Zionist army, navy and air force!

So you really need to stop taking the western mainstream narrative of the conflict as the fair and truthful narrative of the events and turn to alternative media for unbiased information, those media that are not owned and influenced by a handful of mega corporations and their crude material interests.

Examples of worldwide rallies in condemnation of Israeli killing spree in Gaza and support for liberation of Palestine: 1, 2

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    I want to point out one error: the current Hamas regime is not democratically elected. Though Hamas won the 2006 PA elections, the current regime took power after purging all political dissidents in 2007.
    – Publius
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 0:32
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    @Avi, and you failed to mention that those political 'dissidents' were in fact Fatah officials and agents accused of treason against resistance, and cooperation and compliance with the Zionist occupation.
    – infatuated
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 19:33
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    I don't really think Hamas' accusations are relevant.
    – Publius
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 21:39
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    I am not taking any narrative. I simply asked a question. Which you did not even attempt to answer. Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 2:16
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    @infatuated - I actually agree with "one's man terrorist is another man's freedom fighter!" - The term terrorist has become more propaganda than descriptive. However your answer reads like propaganda and I am looking for something that reads plainly and clearly. You answer can and should explain why, but it should first say what the answer is, or at least include a clear and concise summary of the answer. I have the same issue with your answer that I have with Avi's the answer is not clear, it requires reading between the lines and assumptions. Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 18:02

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