Did an official Guardian editorial justify Hamas’s use of human shields?

The Guardian editorial team recently decided that readers needed to hear their sage reflections on the killing of children during wartime – no, of course, not just any war, but one fought by a political actor which (based on their documented history of obsessive, some would say ‘disproportionate, criticism) is especially in need of moral advice on the sanctity of childhood.


Here are the opening paragraphs of the July 31st Guardian editorial, with the most important sentences emphasized in bold.

Wars kill people, including teachers in their classrooms, nurses in their hospitals, and farmers in their fields. But when children die in the hail of steel soldiers direct at one another there is a special kind of obscenity. Children have no agency, not even the slightest shred of the responsibility or complicity that adults to one degree or another may possess.

They know nothing of propaganda, they did not cheer in angry rallies, they did not send off their menfolk to fight with a blessing, they did not sit at meetings where the pros and cons of making war were gravely discussed by middle- aged men. No, they just die. Or lose their little legs, their arms, their eyes. The scenes at Jabaliya elementary school had seasoned United Nations officials, who have seen and endured much, in tears. The rapid transference of images to the world soon made this tragedy everybody’s property and everybody’s burden. Then, of course, a familiar game begins. Mournful spokesmen explain that the other side is to blame, because it has hidden its fighters, mortars and rockets in populated areas. They take great care, but mistakes can happen. They do not explain why that other side might be reluctant to put its fighters into, say, the local soccer stadium so that they could be mown down without risk to civilians.

If you read that last underlined sentence carefully, it’s difficult to avoid concluding that the Guardian is essentially acknowledging the Hamas use of civilians as human shields, but then asking: ‘howevergiven the group’s limited alternatives, who can really blame them?‘!

In case the Guardian needs reminding:

  • Geneva Convention IVArticle 28 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides: “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations
  • Additional Protocol IArticle 12(4) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides: Under no circumstances shall medical units be used in an attempt to shield military objectives from attack. Whenever possible, the Parties to the conflict shall ensure that medical units are so sited that attacks against military objectives do not imperil their safety
  • Article 51(7) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
    The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations
  • ICC StatutePursuant to Article 8(2)(b)(xxiii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[u]tilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts

Indeed, no doubt much to the chagrin of Guardian editors and their fellow apologists for terror, it seems clear that international legal prohibitions against the use of human shields definitely do not include loopholes for Palestinian ‘resistance’ movements.

13 replies »

  1. More Sui Generis laws and standards for Israel. I noticed that the UK in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan did not adhere to that standard and the Guardian said nothing whatsoever. Nor did the US or France and the silence is deafening.

    There more children under the age of 5 killed in each of Syria and Iraq this year alone than all the casualties in Gaza and there is nothing but silence. Guess the Arabs in Gaza are also Sui Generis, too bad the children in other countries don’t seem to matter to leftists.

  2. The moment the Media can differentiate between “unarmed women and children” and “Hamas” in their death tally is the moment I will begin considering the Media’s coverage of this crisis somewhat meaningful. As it is, with the Breaking News “reports of another Israeli air strike hitting a UN school” which concludes that “Israel is looking in to the allegation” just leaves me skeptical. As it is, the Media may very well be playing the game in which their own actions lead to the justification of Hamas to kill their own people either directly (by shooting up the UN school themselves) or indirectly (by shooting their missiles at Israel from these grounds, thereby demanding a response).

    In other words, Dear Guardian, Hamas is playing you like the skin flute you are.

    • …Dear Guardian, Hamas is playing you…
      I think you are exceedingly benevolent to them. They are not fools and know very well what they are doing. They don’t give glass of stale latte about Hamas and especially not about the Palestinians, they are just using any imaginable venue to incite against Jews and Israel. The British chattering classes en gros (with a small exception) returned to the good old happy thirties. Read the other article quoting “the child murderer community” rant published by the Independent Julius Streicher would be very proud of them…

  3. Ah, the anti-Israel crowd and their alleged dedication to the law exposed once again as a fake.
    Perhaps the Guardian should rename itself “The Potemkin Village News.”

  4. I believe that the Guardian did give Hamas a pass. I do not know of any group that hides behind women and children the way that Hamas does. We call these people COWARDS! No civilized person stands beside a child, woman or hospitalized person to protect themselves. Is this what leadership of the Palestinians respect. They either are afraid of Hamas or agree with them! I question their integrity and bravery.

  5. Before I start, here is a disclaimer. Hamas is responsible for the deaths in Gaza. It fires at Israeli civilians, and tries to create casualties on its own side to win the political side of the war.
    Having said that, soldiers fire from cover. If they were to fire from an open field, they probably would get one rocket off, and be killed. To me the war crime does not come from hiding behind a building to fire a rocket, the war crime is trying to populate the building with innocent people. This is the distinction.
    Of course firing a rocket from anywhere at a civilian population should be a war crime, but that is a different topic. So the Guardian does have a logical point, but you countered it very well with legal protocols citing the illegality of Hamas’ intent to have as many of its own citizens killed (especially children).
    The other question that needs to be asked is “what is Hamas’ strategy”. It is clear that they cannot defeat Israel militarily. So, either they are very stupid, or they are using the “dead baby” tactic to gain a political victory. The “dead baby” tactic is so morally perverse, that it fully exposes Hamas for what they are.


  6. I said it before and I’d say it again.
    If UNRWA cared about Palestinians more than about it’s job BCM programme it would have merged with UNHCR long ago and place preassure on Israel and Egypt to create tent cities inside Israel or Egypt so that population can flee Gaza strip for a short period to let the fighters sort it out.
    Just like in Syria.

    They know this would never happen because much of the population will refuse to move, are scared of Hamas reprisals and are being used as human shields, some times willingly.

    Only the Palestinians have the power to stop this.
    Will they miss another chance to get this sorted?

    • lots of jews killed in the holocaust were bad jews, so Hitler not taking any chances decided to kill them all, because he had to stop the bad jews, the good jews were just collateral damage. he was sorry about this

      • Now, now Baroness just because you’ve resigned from your day job it doesn’t mean you have to post anti-Semitic drivel under an assumed name.

        • if you cannot tell a “good” palestinian from a “bad” one , the answer is not to kill them, but Gerald agrees with the idea its better to kill them all, just in case, there stands the lunacy of the human shields bullshit, it is accepted now that all peoples are fair and legitimate targets in the so called war on terror, because you, Gerald, dont know who the terrorists are, so kill evryone. thats called war crimes and organised state terror. what you sow you reap

          • noamy cry baby why didn’t you use your time while you were hiding under your rock with all the other Hamas Fascist scum to learn English.
            You are still the illiterate anti-Semitic twat you were before you slithered off to cower in a pool of your own excrement and urine.