Israel-Hamas Conflict: Unveiling the Cynical Use of ‘Human Shields

In this fifth week of war between Israel and Hamas, hospitals are the demonstration of an immense cynicism: that which consists of no longer considering civilians other than a means of pressure on the enemy. This observation applies both to the Israeli government and to Hamas, as shown in the press release on Sunday from the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, condemning “Hamas’ use of hospitals and civilians as human shields” while calling on Israel for “maximum restraint.”

Of all the establishments in the coastal strip, Al-Shifa is the one that best embodies the cold calculation of both parties. The largest hospital in Gaza, its basement houses, according to Israel, the main Hamas complex. Some of the 240 hostages would be held there, Islamist fighters would be housed there and weapons and ammunition stored, not to mention that Hamas would divert the electricity for its own benefit. The Geneva agreement establishing that the immunity of hospitals can be lifted if they are used for belligerent purposes, this would be a war crime. Hamas is also accused of preventing civilians from fleeing to the south of the coastal strip as they sought to escape Israeli strikes.

Sparing the lives of non-combatants does not represent a priority for the Jewish state either, which is an understatement considering that, out of 11,180 killed, at least 4,609 were children according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. . Israel is also putting pressure on Hamas by pushing the population of Gaza to the limit: in a few hours, all UN humanitarian operations will stop for lack of fuel. After all, “in this war, all options are on the table,” Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari said recently. No move seems forbidden in the face of a “people of darkness”, as Prime Minister Netanyahu described the Palestinians at the end of October. A people whose innocent people have not finished paying for the cynicism of those who took them hostage, on both sides of the conflict.

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