Human shield is a military and political term describing the deliberate placement of non-combatants in or around combat targets to deter the enemy from attacking these targets. It may also refer to the use of persons to literally shield combatants during attacks, by forcing them to march in front of the combatants. A third meaning is when a combatant holds another person in front of him or her to shield him or her from projectiles (usually bullets), often by holding that person in a headlock or nelson hold.
- 1 20th century
- 2 21st century
- 2.1 War in Afghanistan
- 2.2 Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- 2.3 Iraq War
- 2.4 Lebanon War
- 2.5 Siege of Lal Masjid
- 2.6 Sri Lanka
- 2.7 Libyan Civil War
- 2.8 Syrian Civil War
- 2.9 Crimean crisis
- 3 Other use
- 4 See also
- 5 References
World War II
After World War II, it was claimed by German SS general Gottlob Berger that there was a plan, proposed by the Luftwaffe and approved by Adolf Hitler, to set up special POW camps for captured airmen of the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces in large German cities, to act as human shields against their bombing raids. Berger realized that this would contravene the 1929 Geneva Convention and argued that there was not enough barbed wire—as a result, this plan was not implemented.
At the Wola massacre in Poland on 7 August 1944, the Nazis forced civilian women onto the armored vehicles as human shields to enhance their effectiveness. In Belgium in May 1940, at least 86 civilians were killed by the German Wehrmacht known as the Vinkt Massacre, when the Germans took 140 civilians and used them as shields to cross a bridge while under fire.
During the Battle of Okinawa, Japanese soldiers often used civilians as human shields against American troops.
When the Japanese were concerned about the incoming Allied air raids on their home islands as they were losing their controlled Pacific islands one by one to the Allies in the Pacific War, they scattered major military installations and factories throughout urban areas, therefore, historians argued that Japan was using its civilians as human shields to protect their legitimate military targets against Allied bombardment. As a result, the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) was unable to strike purely military targets due to the limitations of their bombsight, the mixing of military installations and factories with urban areas, and the widespread of cottage industry in Japan's cities. This led the USAAF in early 1945 to switch from precision bombing to carpetbombing which destroyed 67 Japanese cities with incendiary bombs and the use of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Persian Gulf War
One of the most famous uses of human shields occurred in Iraq in 1990, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that precipitated the Gulf War of 1990-1991. Saddam Hussein's government detained hundreds of citizens of Western countries who were in Iraq for use as human shields in an attempt to deter nations from participating in military operations against the country. A number of these hostages were filmed meeting Hussein, and kept with him to deter any targeted attacks, whilst others were held in or near military and industrial targets.
In 1991, during the operations in the Gulf War, the U.S. submitted a report to the UN Security Council denouncing Iraq for having “intentionally placed civilians at risk through its behavior”. The report cited the following examples of such behavior:
- (a) The Iraqi Government moved significant amounts of military weapons and equipment into civilian areas with the deliberate purpose of using innocent civilians and their homes as shields against attacks on legitimate military targets;
- (b) Iraqi fighter and bomber aircraft were dispersed into villages near the military airfields where they were parked between civilian houses and even placed immediately adjacent to important archaeological sites and historic treasures;
- (c) Coalition aircraft were fired upon by anti-aircraft weapons in residential neighborhoods in various cities. In Baghdad, anti-aircraft sites were located on hotel roofs;
- (d) In one case, military engineering equipment used to traverse rivers, including mobile bridge sections, was located in several villages near an important crossing point. The Iraqis parked each vehicle adjacent to a civilian house.
War in Afghanistan
According to various accounts—including that of the American ambassador to the U.N., the Taliban used women and children from their own population as human shields against coalition forces in 2006, and 2007, and when the British attacked during August 2008 during the war in Afghanistan.
Prior to 2008-2009 Gaza War
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said the Israel Defense Forces used Palestinian civilians as human shields during the 2002 Battle of Jenin. The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said that "for a long period of time following the outbreak of the second intifada, particularly during Operation Defensive Shield, in April 2002, the IDF systematically used Palestinian civilians as human shields, forcing them to carry out military actions which threatened their lives". Al Mezan reported the systematic use of "human shields" during the invasion of Beit Hanoun in 2004.
Human shields were also employed by Israeli soldiers to subdue a stone-throwing protest in Hebron in 2003. One of the "human shields", a 32-year-old, told he was pulled from the barber's chair and forced to stand in front of soldiers along with two other men, also human shields, while soldiers fired rubber bullets on Palestinian protesters. He told he was beat up when he tried to cover his ears to protect them from the loud noise of the guns. The Israeli military committed to stopping the practice but Israeli human rights groups said the army only ended the practice selectively and were in breach of court orders.
In 2004, the Daily Mail reported that a boy was used as human shield use by the Israeli border police in the West Bank. According to the article, the 13-year-old boy was captured by Israeli police as he took part in a stone-throwing protest and put in front of the jeep in order to deter other youths from throwing stones at the vehicle. The story was led by an infamous picture of a boy in his early teens tied up to a military vehicle.
The practice was banned by Israel's High Court of Justice in 2005. The Israeli Defense Ministry appealed this decision. Specifically, while acknowledging and defending the "use of Palestinians to deliver warnings to wanted men about impending arrest operations", a practice known in Israel by the euphemism "neighbor procedure", the IDF denied reports of "using Palestinians as human shields against attacks on IDF forces", claiming it had already forbidden this practice.
In 2006, initial investigations by B'Tselem indicated that the IDF may have used civilians as human shields in Beit Hanun. In February 2007, Associated Press Television News released footage of an incident involving Sameh Amira, a 24-year-old Palestinian, who video showed serving as a human shield for a group of Israeli soldiers, entering ahead of them in apartments suspected to belong to Palestinian militants. A 15-year-old cousin of Amira and an 11-year-old girl in the West Bank independently told B'Tselem in February 2007 that Israeli soldiers forced each of them in separate incidents to open the door of a neighboring apartment belonging to a suspected militant, enter ahead of them, and open doors and windows.
The Israeli Army launched a criminal investigation into the aforementioned incident. In April 2007, the Israeli army suspended a commander after the unit he was leading was accused of using Palestinians as human shields in a West Bank operation. In April 2007 CBS News reported that Human rights groups said that there were still incidents of it in the IDF, despite a drop in the number of incidents.
During the 2008-2009 Gaza War
During the 2008-2009 Gaza War known as Operation Cast Lead, Israeli military forces were accused of continuing to use civilians as human shields by Amnesty International and Breaking the Silence. According to testimonies published by these two groups, Israeli forces used unarmed Palestinians including children to protect military positions, walk in front of armed soldiers; go into buildings to check for booby traps or gunmen; and inspect suspicious objects for explosives. Amnesty International stated that it found cases in which "Israeli troops forced Palestinians to stay in one room of their home while turning the rest of the house into a base and sniper position, effectively using the families, both adults and children, as human shields and putting them at risk". The UN Human Rights Council also accused Israel of using human shields during 2008-2009 Gaza Conflict.
The Guardian compiled three videos and testimony from civilians about alleged war crimes committed by Israeli soldiers during the 2008-2009 Gaza War, including the use of Palestinian children as human shields. In the videos three teenage brothers from the al-Attar family claimed that they were forced at gunpoint to kneel in front of tanks to deter Hamas fighters from firing at them and that they were used to "clear" houses for the Israeli soldiers.
An IDF soldier's testimony for Breaking the Silence told that his commander ordered that for every house raided by the IDF, they send a "neighbor" to go in before the soldier, sometimes while the soldier placed his gun on the neighbor's shoulder; according to the soldier, "commanders said these were the instructions and we had to do it". Gazan civilians also testified of being used at gunpoint as human shields by Israeli soldiers.
An Israeli military official responded to these allegations: "The IDF operated in accordance with the rules of war and did the utmost to minimise harm to civilians uninvolved in combat. The IDF's use of weapons conforms to international law." An Israeli embassy spokesperson alleged Hamas pressured the people of Gaza into making those accusations.
On March 12, 2010, the Israel Defense Forces prosecution filed indictments against two staff sergeants of the Givati Brigade for forcing a 9-year-old Palestinian boy to open a number of bags they thought might contain explosives in January 2009. The boy told he was hit by the soldiers and forced to work for them at gunpoint. The IDF said it opened the investigation after the incident was brought to its attention by the United Nations. On October 3, 2010, a conviction in this matter, accompanied by a demotion and suspended sentence, was handed down by the military court against both defendants, though neither soldier was actually jailed. The sentence was criticized as too lenient by Human Rights Watch and the boy's mother.
2009-2014 Gaza War
A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces in June 2013 of "continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields and informants", voicing with deep concern 14 such cases had been reported between January 2010 and March 2013. It says almost all accused soldiers involved in the incidents have gone unpunished.
According to a former Israeli soldier interviewed by Breaking the Silence, the commander of his unit employed the policy, despite acknowledging that it was banned, because he would rather that a Palestinian civilian be killed carrying out the duty than one of his men. He told young Palestinian boys were also used by this particular unit to carry out military duties for the Israeli army.
Defense for Children International-Palestine reported 17-year-old, Ahmad Abu Raida (also:“Reeda”), was kidnapped by Israeli soldiers, who, after beating him up and threatening him, at times with sexual overtones, used him as a human shield for five days, forcing him to walk in front of them with police dogs at gunpoint, search houses and dig in places soldiers suspected there might be tunnels. The New York Times stated that his assertions could not be independently corroborated; the Israeli military confirmed that he had been detained, noting his father's affiliation with Hamas, who was a senior official in the Gaza Tourism Ministry. No material evidence of the physical violence allegedly suffered by Raida, e.g. photos, medical reports or lingering wounds resulting from repeated blows, was produced.
The Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights announced to had gathered testimony that, during the 2014 Gaza War, Israeli soldiers used Palestinian civilians as shield in Khuza'a. A family, that also gave a video interview, recorded by Media Town, told the group that Israeli soldiers had killed the family's patriarch, a 65-year-old who was carrying a white flag, and had proceeded to place family members, including children, by the house's windows and had shoot from behind them.
Prior to 2008-2009 Gaza War
Israeli writer Amos Harel in Haaretz alleged that during the Second Intifada (2000–2005) Palestinian gunmen routinely used civilians and children as human shields and further alleges that there is photographic evidence.
During the 2008-2009 Gaza War
The Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center accused Hamas and other armed groups of making extensive use of human shields as integral part of their war doctrine, in order to prevent the IDF to target them, during the Gaza War (2008-2009). According to the ITIC, tactics that qualify as using human shields and which are used by Hamas include using children as human shield by "surrounding operatives with children to facilitate their escape from combat zones", hiding military infrastructure in civilian buildings - including "mosques, hospitals and educational institutions," firing rockets and mortar shells from civilian population centers, “summoning civilians to come to operatives’ houses to serve as human shields for terrorist operatives in danger of being attacked by the IDF" and using children as human shields by "surrounding operatives with children to facilitate their escape from combat zones." The IDF released a video accusing an alleged Hamas member of using civilians as human shield for allegedly walking away with children after an attack during the Gaza War (2008-2009). The IDF and Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a video accusing Hamas of a systematic use of civilians as human shields, including several photos of Hamas militants using children as human shields and two videos from the Gaza War showing Hamas militants grabbing children, using them as a human shield. The IDF also released a video taken from an UAV drone documenting Hamas militant launching a rocket from a roof of a civilian house and then using children to escort him out to avoid being targeted by IDF forces. The UN and Amnesty International concluded there was no evidence for the IDF's accusations of human shield use against Palestinian groups. Despite IDF footage allegedly showing Palestinian fighters using ambulances for military purposes, Magen David Adom, the Israeli ambulance and medical emergency service, submitted to the UN a report concluding the accusation was unfounded.
The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict that took place in 2008-2009 stated that it "did not find any evidence of civilians being forced to remain in their houses by Palestinian armed groups". The Mission "asked numerous witnesses in Gaza why they had stayed in their homes in spite of the shelling, bombing and Israeli ground invasion"; respondents stated they "did not think they would be at risk as long as they remained indoors or because they had no safe place to go".
In remarks related to the Al-Fakhura school incident during the Gaza War of January 2009, a Hamas spokesman claimed that no attacks were launched from the school though Israel stated that they had come from the school. 43 Palestinians were reported killed when a street outside the school was hit by Israeli fire. Israel accused Hamas of "cynically" using civilians as human shields. A report from the IDF brigade responsible for the attack stated that militants had launched a rocket into Israel from a yard adjacent to the UN building and the paratroop brigade had fired three rounds of mortars at the position. An IDF mortar hit the UN building. An IDF report claims that this was caused by a GPS error. An Amnesty International report in 2009 criticized Hamas for human rights violations, but found "no evidence Palestinian fighters directed civilians to shield military objectives from attacks, forced them to stay in buildings used by militants, or prevented them from leaving commandeered buildings" were found.
During the 2014 Gaza War
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay accused Hamas militants of violating international humanitarian law by "locating rockets within schools and hospitals, or even launching these rockets from densely populated areas." The European Union condemned Hamas, and in particular condemned "calls on the civilian population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields." Confirmation of urban warfare was produced by France24, whose team filmed a rocket launch pad which was placed in a civilian area next to a hotel where international journalists were staying. Peter Stefanovic of Australia’s Channel Nine News tweeted that rockets had been fired "over our hotel from a site about two hundred metres away. So a missile launch site is basically next door.” Janis Mackey Frayer of Canada's CTV reported seeing a Hamas gunman dressed in a woman's headscarf with a "tip of a gun poked out from under cloak.” Harry Fear reporting for Russia Today tweeted that rockets were fired from near his hotel.  His tweet was later deleted, and he was expelled from Gaza. Several journalists who alleged Hamas use of human shields and rocket locations close to civilian infrastructure reported being threatened by Hamas. 
In a September 2014 interview, a Hamas official acknowledged to an Associated Press reporter that the group fired at Israel from civilian areas. He ascribed the practice to "mistakes", but said the group had little option due to the crowded landscape of the Strip, with its dearth of open zones. In an 2014 interview, a Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal said to a CNN interviewer that the group did not use its people as human shields. Likewise, in a September 2014 interview, a Hamas official insisted that the Israeli army's accusations that Hamas launched its attacks from civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals were not true, adding that attacks actually came 200 to 300 meters away from those buildings.
According to observers from The Independent and The Guardian who interviewed Gazan refugees, it was a "myth" that Hamas forced civilians to stay in areas under attack against their will; they reported that the Gazans who refused to heed the IDF's warnings did so because even areas Israel had declared safe for refugees had been shelled by its forces. The BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen likewise said he "saw no evidence of Hamas using Palestinians as human shields". An Amnesty International document (dated July 25, 2014) asserts that they do "not have evidence at this point that Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to “shield” specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks." What's more, Amnesty International's assessment is that international humanitarian law was clear in that "even if officials or fighters from Hamas or Palestinian armed groups associated with other factions did in fact direct civilians to remain in a specific location in order to shield military objectives from attacks, all of Israel’s obligations to protect these civilians would still apply." The human rights group, however, still found that Palestinian factions, as in previous conflicts, launched attacks from civilian areas.
Hamas Arabic-speaking spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri specifically called up Gaza civilians on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV July 8, 2014 to stay put in areas under fire by Israel, prompting accusations from Israel and others — the European Union, for example — that Hamas was calling on people to volunteer as "in effect human shields". For Amnesty International, however, Hamas' call may have been "motivated by a desire to avoid further panic" among civilians, considering both the lack of shelters in Gaza and the fact that some civilians who heeded the IDF's warnings had been casualties of Israeli attacks. According to Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas is using human shields and rejoices in the effectiveness of the tactic, believing it as a necessary and valid means of resistance.
During the 2014 Gaza War, Israel also damaged hospitals, alleging they were concealing "hidden missiles". A Finnish reporter team from Helsingin Sanomat life at the Gaza Al-Shifa hospital reported seeing rockets fired from near the Al-Shifa hospital. However, two Norwegian doctors who have been working at the hospital for decades have denied there was militant presence nearby, saying the last armed man they saw by the building was an Israeli doctor at the time of the First Intifada. The Washington Post described Al-Shifa hospital as a "de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices."  Nick Casey of the Wall Street Journal tweeted a photo of a Hamas official using Al-Shifa hospital for media interviews, but later deleted the tweet.  French-Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagg reported being interrogated by an armed Hamas member inside Al-Shifa hospital and ordered to leave Gaza   
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah was directly hit at least four times, causing damages in the surgical ward and the intensive care unit. The IDF also gave out warnings to strike the Al Wafa hospital. An international activist told Haaretz that he was taken by Al Waffa hospital staff on a tour in all of the hospital's floors and did not "see anything resembling a rocket" there; his group volunteered to serve as human shields for the hospital. Nevertheless, its Rehabilitation Center was hit at least six times by Israeli forces. The IDF released a video showing flashes of light supposedly from the Waffa hospital; there is audio of IDF warning calls and checks that the hospital was evacuated, and finally the airstrike which the IDF said triggered secondary explosions from weapons cached inside the hospital. Solidarity International members who were in the hospital as human shields said that it was not Al-Wafa hospital that was hit but the Right to Life Society's building. Activists have accused the IDF of producing forged evidence to justify strikes on hospitals, and cite third party satellite imagery in their claim. A report, by independent journalist Gareth Porter, concluded that one of the footage used by the IDF to justify the shelling of the Al Wafa hospital was from 2009, and the audio was from an incident completely unrelated to the hospital. The report accuses the IDF of manipulating both the audio and the video for propaganda purposes. An article by Haaretz describes IDF footage as appearing to show "rockets flying out of residential neighborhoods, cemeteries, schoolyards and mosque courtyards" while criticizing other released IDF footage as being of bad quality and unclear.
Tony Blinken, the US White House's Deputy National Security Adviser, accused Hamas of using Palestinians as "in effect human shields." He called on world leaders to join condemnations of Hamas's actions, stating that "Hamas intentionally targets civilians. The Israelis do everything they can to avoid targeting civilians". US Secretary of State John Kerry and Blinken defended Israel against the charge that its assault on Gaza had been needlessly reckless with civilian lives.
During the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, a group of people chose to travel to Iraq to act as human shields. Their purpose was to prevent American-led coalition forces from bombing certain locations. Of about 200 to 500 human shields who traveled to Iraq before hostilities, at least eighty stayed. Of the human shields who stayed throughout the war, none were killed or injured and none of the sites where they were residing were destroyed.
Scott Ewing, Cavalry Scout, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, US Army, who served in Iraq in the 2005-2006 period, stated that US troops would give candy to Iraqi children so they would stay around their vehicles, thereby making more likely that "the bad guys wouldn't attack. We used the kids as human shields".
Australian journalist Chris Link reported and photographed incidents during the 2006 Lebanon War in which Hezbollah used Lebanese civilians as human shields to dissuade the IDF from firing at gunmen and rocket launchers, although Human Rights Watch then conducted its own investigation and reported that Hezbollah did not "deliberately" use civilians as a deterrent from IDF attack. HRW did however conclude Hezbollah stored weapons "in or near civilian homes" and fighters launched rockets within populated areas and near UN observers. HRW also accused Hezbollah of using Lebanese homes as sites for rocket launchers, usually without the homeowner's knowledge or permission, putting large numbers of civilians at risk.
Human Rights Watch conducted its own investigation on the 2006 Lebanon War, during which Israel accused Hezbollah of using civilians, and reported that Hezbollah did not "deliberately" use civilians as a deterrent from IDF attack, and that when violations happen it was not "routine or wide". HRW found that Hezbollah did not "routinely" stored weapons in or near civilian homes and that most often fighters launched rockets from rural, unpopulated areas that they declared no-go zones for Lebanese civilians. It did find that Hezbollah purposely endangered UN observers by launching attacks near them.
On July 25, 2006, Israeli forces attacked and destroyed an UN observer post in southern Lebanon, resulting in four deaths. One of the fatalities, Canadian Major Paeta Derek Hess-von Kruedener, had sent an e‑mail to his former commander, retired Major-General Lewis MacKenzie, several days before his death in which he described the Israeli bombardment, writing "The closest artillery has landed within two meters of our position and the closest 1,000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity". MacKenzie interpreted this language for a reporter: "What that means is, in plain English, 'We've got Hezbollah fighters running around in our positions, taking our positions here and then using us for shields and then engaging the (Israeli Defence Forces).'" A senior UN official,replying about Maj. Hess-von Kruedener's e-mail concerning Hezbollah presence in the area of the UN base said. "At the time, there had been no Hezbollah activity reported in the area. "So it was quite clear they were not going after other targets; that, for whatever reason, our position was being fired upon." He went on to claim that the Israelis were told where the UN base was and that it was clearly marked but they bombed it anyway.
Siege of Lal Masjid
On December 4, 2009, terrorists attacked a Friday prayer ceremony in a mosque in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, where Bilal Riaz, a graduate student, acted as a human shield to save his nephew's life.
According to a Human Rights Watch report published on February 19, 2009, the LTTE had been preventing Tamil civilians from fleeing out of rebel held area and using them as human shields against a Sri Lankan Army offensive.
Libyan Civil War
Syrian Civil War
During the Syrian civil war, the Syrian Armed Forces and loyalists were accused by Human Rights Watch of using residents of towns as human shields when advancing on opposition held areas, forcing them to march in front of the army. Witness from different towns across the country said that the army had kidnapped people and forced them to march in front of them when attacking towns and villages. The purpose of this was to protect the army from attack. HRW said "The Syrian army should immediately stop this abhorrent practice." Witnesses stated that the army forcibly used children and elderly people as well to deter anyone from firing on the soldiers.
Use by anti-war activists
In recent years civilian volunteers have attempted to use themselves as “human shields” to prevent military conflict. In January 2003, anti-war activists organised Human Shield Action to Iraq in advance of the March 2003 invasion. Ultimately, Human Shield Action brought 200 people to Iraq. Many of them left as they ran out of money and the likelihood of war became greater. Several of these human shields had to be rescued by U.S. Marines after Iraqis threatened them for opposing the invasion of their country.
Use by pro-Palestinian activists
The human rights group Rabbis for Human Rights agreed to act as “human shields” during the annual olive harvest to protect Palestinian villages from settlers. Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, Western International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers in the Palestinian territories, who died in 2003 and 2004 respectively have been described as “human shields” campaigning against house demolition. ISM, however, strongly takes offence at the use of the term human shield to describe their work, preferring it be used only to refer to when the military uses civilians as shields. Not even Amnesty International defines volunteer activist's actions or activist's actions for non-military property as “human shields”, and regards only the direction of "specific civilians to remain in their homes as “human shields” for fighters, munitions, or military equipment" as “human shields”. According to the 3 definitions in the header of this article the 'volunteers to protect Palestinians' make them not “human shields outside the battlefield” but protesters or ordinary pro-Palestinian demonstrants.
- Human wave attack
- Falling on a grenade
- Civilian casualties
- Close Quarters Battle
- Human rights in Israel
- Human rights in the Palestinian National Authority
- Urban warfare
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-  UN Doc. Chronological Review of Events November 6, 2002, A military court in Israel sentenced two junior officers to 28 days imprisonment because they had used Palestinian civilians as "human shields", Israel Radio reported. A platoon sergeant who had made a navigation error and ended up in a Palestinian village with his soldiers had forced a villager to drive them to a safe place, the radio said. During the sergeant's investigation, a similar incident had come to light in the same battalion, during which a squad commander had made a Palestinian drive him and his soldiers to safety.
-  "A paper on the IOF Invasion of the town of Beit Hanoun (29 June – 5 August 2004)", Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, 12 August 2004. On 
"Another 36 homes were occupied by Israeli soldiers and used as watch posts. In every case of home occupation the IOF detained the inhabitants inside one room of the house"
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-  — "Human rights groups on the attack on Gaza B'Tselem: Israeli soldiers use civilians as human shields in Beit Hanun", B'Tselem, 20 July 2006
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- "Palestinian children tortured, used as shields by Israel: U.N.". Reuters. Jun 20, 2013.
- "Israeli soldiers testify about violence against Palestinian children" (in French). Le Monde. 2012-08-21.
One of the soldiers testifies that a procedure, though banned, [is still] used when the army comes to arrest a Palestinian suspect: soldiers send a neighbor, charged with asking the residents of the besieged house to come out. "I think that happened in Tulkarem. We made everyone come out, without finding the person we were looking for. So we sent the neighbors in, and afterwards a child. He had to make a tour inside the house, open all the doors and windows, lit all the lights." The commander of the unit said the procedure was illegal. "He declared he would rather that a neighbor be killed (…) if that made it possible to avoid one of his men from being shot while entering the house", said the soldier. The population has no choice but to cooperate. "When you knock on the door at night, with your gun shining under their face, your flashlight on their eyes, and you see he is not armed(…), he won't tell you he doesn't want to cooperate."
- Euro-Mid Documents Israel’s Use of Human Shields in Gaza (Report). Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights. 2014-08-10.
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- Bernstein, Prof. David (August 24, 2014). "Why would the NY Times publish an uncorroborated allegation from the son of a top Hamas official?" (The Volokh Conspiracy). The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
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The photographs from recent operations show that the armed Palestinians use the many civilians in the area, including children, as a "human shield". Since this is done routinely, harming children (some, it is possible, by Palestinian fire) becomes almost impossible to prevent.
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