Hamas gunmen used Palestinian children as human shields, and established command centers and Kassam launch pads in and near more than 100 mosques and hospitals during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last year, according to a new Israeli report being released on Monday that aims to counter criticism of the IDF.
The detailed 500-page report, obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post, was written by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam), a small research group led by Col. (res.) Reuven Erlich, a former Military Intelligence officer who works closely with the army.
The IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) cooperated with the reportâ€™s authors and declassified hundreds of photographs, videos, prisoner interrogations and Hamas-drawn sketches as part of an effort to counter the criticism leveled at Israel in the UN-sponsored Goldstone Report.
The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam) picked apart the Goldstone report in a big time way. A report issued today (pdf format) stands out from other response to Goldstone because Israel's security services cooperated to declassify a lot of photos, videos, interrogations, and more.
You can't help but be struck by Malam's depth. It zeroed in on how heavily Hamas combat doctorine relied on human shields, documenting tactics such as:
- Forcing residents to stay at home in neighborhoods where the IDF operated.
- Assimilating terrorist operatives into civilian neighborhoods.
- Exchanging uniforms for civilian clothing while fighting the IDF.
- Surrounding operatives with children to facilitate escape from combat zones.
- Making large-scale military use of civilian houses, which included constructing tunnels for assault and escape.
- Situating military infrastructure within civilian houses and public institutions, such as schools, hospitals, mosques and police stations.
- Deliberately turning residential neighborhoods into combat zones.
- Firing rockets and mortar shells from within civilian population.
- Summoning civilians to come to operativesâ€™ houses to serve as human shields for terrorist operatives in danger of being attacked by the IDF.
This declassified video's worth watching.
Human shields aren't the only eyebrow-raising issue. Malam also shreds any notion that Hamas' political and military "wings" operate independently of each other.