Hamas & IDF agree: Guardian wrong on usefulness of Israeli ‘knock on the roof’ warnings

post from about two hours ago at the Guardian’s Live Blog on the war dismissed as ineffective Israeli measures to warn Palestinians in Gaza before launching attacks on terror targets.

The post begins:

“warnings do not help save civilians lives as the Israeli military claims, according to the University of London’s Forensic Architecture centre at Goldsmiths which carried out a UN study into how the tactic operated during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.

The Guardian then quoted Eyal Weizman, director of the centre, who said:

The Israeli Defence Forces are again using a tactic in their attack on Gaza that they claim is aimed at saving lives—despite it having a track record of leading to the death of civilians, including women and children. So called “roof knock” strikes involve a drone firing a low- or none-explosive missile at the roof of a building that is to be destroyed. The missile is followed a short time later by a bomb that flattens the house—but exactly how long after is not known by the inhabitants.

The tactic first came to light after the 2008/9 offensive on Gaza. One of the case studies that we at Forensic Architecture produced for the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism’s inquiry into drone strikes focused on an attack on the Salha family in Beit Lahiya on 9 January 2009. A missile was fired at the roof of the family’s home, but they did not know that this constituted a warning. After moments of terrified confusion, the family began to leave the house. However, before they could all safely leave, a bomb was dropped, and six women and children were killed.

At a time when most attacks in Gaza are on houses, the Israeli military is anxious to present themselves as trying to avoid civilian casualties. Yesterday it released a video showing a warning missile being fired at a house that it then deciding not to strike. However, in the attack on the home of Odeh Ahmad Mohammed Kaware, Defence for Children International Palestine reported that a warning missile was followed by a bomb that killed seven people, including five children. This should be taken as further confirmation that the use of this tactic should be stopped immediately.

Not only is it illegal to fire a missile at a civilian to warn them, the missiles also frequently penetrate the roofs they are intended to bounce off, further endangering civilian lives. Israeli military lawyers argue that after residents of a building have been warned, they can be considered as combatants and legitimately targeted. This is a gross misuse of international law that enables the Israeli military to justify attacks on buildings in built up areas, populated by civilians, that they would otherwise be unable to legally carry out

Finally, the Guardian posted a video to explain the group’s findings about one incident in 2009.

Ok, now let’s watch the following IDF video which highlights such methods:

Just IDF propaganda, you say?

Now listen to a Hamas spokesperson, commenting on a clip of the very same IDF operation: 


The Hamas spokesperson not only admitted that they use Palestinians human shields, but also tacitly admitted – per the IDF decision to abort the attack after civilians crowded on the roof – that such warnings do in fact save Palestinian lives.

But, who needs to consider such evidence when you have the timeless wisdom of forensic architects to rely on instead?

17 replies »

  1. The Guardian keeps trying to make Hamas look pc – this time to agree with them that human life is to be valued. But they don’t appear to have managed to convince Hamas of this necessity.

    How sad!

  2. I don’t get it, why can’t we bring a case to the Hague against Hamas and Fatah? This makes no sense. It obviously can’t be about refusing to talk to terrorists anymore.

    • And who exactly will be suing?
      The Palestinians that are being terrorised by Hamas will not speak against them, let alone in court.

    • Read Daniel Greenfield’s excellent article, `The Myth of Israeli Collective Punishment’. It will answer your question.

    • They’re going to bring a case against Israel it seems, since Abbbas is ratifying the treaty’s to access the ICC.

      • Will be interesting how Abbas will get out from there free after part of his unity government commits war crimes.

      • Israel has little to fear from the International Criminal Court
        The ICC’s former chief prosecutor says the Palestinians wouldn’t have much of a case against Israel.
        ICC membership could be a double-edged sword for the Palestinians, since it would also open them up to investigation for alleged war crimes, such as rocket fire and bombings targeting Israeli civilians.

  3. There are other views about International law.

    “Israel hasn’t learned anything from Goldstone Report because there was nothing to learn”
    The amount of time ahead Israel should give residents of a building containing military target is ZERO (0) seconds

    As Israel launches a large-scale offensive on the densely-populated Gaza
    Strip, Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, an international law expert at
    Northwestern University, explains the possible legal implications for
    Israel. – Radio interview