Argument: Civilians were killed because Hamas locates rockets amid civilians
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Benjamin Netanyahu. "Militant Islam Threatens Us All". Wall Street Journal. January 7, 2009 - In launching precision strikes against Hamas rocket launchers, headquarters, weapons depots, smuggling tunnels and training camps, Israel is trying to minimize civilian casualties. But Hamas deliberately attacks Israeli civilians and deliberately hides behind Palestinian civilians -- a double war crime. Responsible governments do their utmost to minimize civilian casualties, but they do not grant immunity to terrorists who use civilians as human shields.
The international community may occasionally condemn Hamas for putting Palestinian civilians in harm's way, but if it ultimately holds Israel responsible for the casualties that ensue, then Hamas and other terror organizations will employ this abominable tactic again and again.
"National Post Editorial Board: Why Israel can't afford to hold back". National Post. December 31, 2008 - "even if we accept Hamas’s death tolls and concede that many innocent civilians have died in Israel’s air raids, the fault for these deaths lies clearly with Hamas.
International law recognizes a country’s right to defend its borders and population, with violence if necessary. It also places the legal blame for civilian deaths on combatants who attack a sovereign nation, then scurry back to bases hidden among the regular population."
Steve Huntley. "Israel's surgical strikes aim at reasonable goal". Chicago Sun Times. December 30, 2008 - Another plus is that Israel planned well for this offensive. Civilian casualties are unavoidable when killers like Hamas hide amid the innocent -- a war crime -- but the Jewish state has taken pains to surgically target the terrorists.
"Israel & Gaza: Poor Hamas? No!". Pittsburgh Tribune. December 30, 2008 - "Now, apologists for terrorists -- led by the likes of Russia, Egypt and the United Nations, of course -- have condemned Israel's decision to defend itself; innocents are being slaughtered, they cry. [...] Perhaps Hamas should stop installing missile launch pads in residential areas, using their own precious people as shields?"
Alan Dershowitz. "Israel's Policy Is Perfectly 'Proportionate'". Wall Street Journal. January 2, 2009 - In a recent incident related to me by the former head of the Israeli air force, Israeli intelligence learned that a family's house in Gaza was being used to manufacture rockets. The Israeli military gave the residents 30 minutes to leave. Instead, the owner called Hamas, which sent mothers carrying babies to the house.
Hamas knew that Israel would never fire at a home with civilians in it. They also knew that if Israeli authorities did not learn there were civilians in the house and fired on it, Hamas would win a public relations victory by displaying the dead. Israel held its fire. The Hamas rockets that were protected by the human shields were then used against Israeli civilians.
These despicable tactics -- targeting Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians -- can only work against moral democracies that care deeply about minimizing civilian casualties. They never work against amoral nations such as Russia, whose military has few inhibitions against killing civilians among whom enemy combatants are hiding.