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Hamas ‘disciplines’ army officers over Gaza

February 5, 2010 – 4:08 pm9 Comments

Some nice young gentlemen from Hamas' diplomatic corp. Source: shawarmamayor.blogspot.com

By David Werdiger

A Hamas army report on its conduct in Gaza last year has revealed that two officers were ‘disciplined’ for insufficiently endangering human life when they authorized three hundred civilians to be moved to a UN school that was being used to fire rockets.

Hamas division commander Mohammed el-Hafiz, known as Abu Gosh, and brigade commander Bilal Diya-al-Din, known as Abu Falih, were summarily executed for exceeding their authority in approving the use of human shields in a dense residential area that had already been seconded by resistance fighters.

The details of the disciplinary action were in a Hamas report handed to the UN at the weekend in response to last year’s report by Justice Richard Goldstone, on behalf of the UN Human Rights Council, alleging that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza, during Operation Cast Lead.

The incident in question occurred on January 15 last year in Tel al-Hawa, a heavily built-up residential neighbourhood of Gaza City.

During the battle, there were fears that the Hamas rocket launch facility built underneath a popular school would be harmed and, as a result, three hundred civilians, including fifty UN aid workers, were moved there and ordered to stand outside on both the ground floor and first floor, in clear view of Israeli forces who were attempting to storm the launch facility. Hamas forces then started a fire in the adjoining food warehouse of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the organisation responsible for distributing food to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, and fanned the smoke from the blaze toward the school, so as to make it more difficult for Israeli forces to see the civilians.

A UN employee and two Palestinian civilians were injured during the subsequent attack by Israeli forces.

Gaza military officials explained at the time that the fire was intended to create a smokescreen so as to trigger a huge civilian massacre when Israel struck the rocket launching facility. But a subsequent Gaza inquiry showed that Abu Gosh and Abu Falih acted against the rules of engagement, which forbid the forcible movement of civilians into the line of Israeli fire unless their martyrdom was considered “near certain”. They were executed by public hanging for their unsuccessful attempt to contrive a massacre.

International human rights organisations led by the US-based Human Rights Watch accused Hamas at the time of ineffectively using human shields, which it said had caused burn injuries to hundreds of Palestinian civilians, rather than their intended death and martyrdom.

Hamas has steadfastly denied that its human shield policy, used in heavily populated areas, was ineffective.

There are now 28 criminal investigations open in Hamas. Its judge advocate general is yet to decide whether to exile suspects to Egypt, make do with summary lynching, or close the cases.

Meanwhile, Hamas media reported last night that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh had told ministers at a regular cabinet meeting on Sunday that he had decided to establish an independent investigation into the war crimes allegations.

“I don’t want officers and soldiers to get into a situation where they have to retain an attorney,” Mr Haniyeh reportedly said. “Our system of justice is very effective and there is no need for it to be bogged down by due process”.

With thanks to The Age.

For those who haven’t realized it yet, this article is pure satire and parody. It is based on the report in The Age of the Israeli response to war crimes allegations. It highlights how absurd we would consider the notion of a formal Hamas response to their own atrocities.

This article by David Werdiger was originally published here.

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  • frosh says:

    There are now 28 criminal investigations open in Hamas. Its judge advocate general is yet to decide whether to exile suspects to Egypt, make do with summary lynching, or close the cases.

    …There’s always knee-capping – or perhaps that is reserved only for political opponents.


  • Chaim says:

    Or to save humility to the family they could also force them to be  suicide bombers..

  • ariel says:

    How do they train the young to be suicide bombers?
    I would like the heads of Hamas to gather all their disciples on top of a hill and have them all press the trigger simultaneously – teachers and students.

  • Amazing to see Amnesty International investigating and speaking out against Hamas atrocities! I see that CNN & The Times Online (UK) picked up the story, but not too many others. Of course, The Age would never publish a story like this, would they?

  • ariel says:

    David, when you have groups like NIF siding with Hamas, the message is “see, even Israelis deny the legitimacy of their own country!”

  • Problem with the likes of NIF is that their advocates seem to roughly fall into two categories: the Zionist left who are fighting for human rights and whose priority is to make Israel the best possible democracy in the world over and above protecting its own citizens (and its future as a Jewish state), and the anti-Zionists who see it (and perhaps use it, hijack it) as an excellent vehicle for Israel-bashing.

    So for many, the NIF is categorized under “my enemy’s friend is also my enemy”

  • Henry Herzog says:

    David, you just lost me. Your labeling of the Zionist left is unjustified, narrow and simplistic. Who are you to judge that the Zionist left’s priority is beyond and above protecting Israel’s citizens and the state? There are many on the left side of politics, both here and in Israel, who have sacrificed much for the state, while the ultra-orthodox right, in Israel and the west bank, get exemptions from the army and live off welfare. Give me a break.

  • Henry,

    We are both guilty of generalizing and stereotyping. There are so many shades of both left & right that any label must be qualified down to near meaninglessness. Please replace “the Zionist left” with “some members of the Zionist left”. Equally, there are plenty (just not enough *sigh*) of ultra-Orthodox who do army service and staunchly support the state.

  • Joel Lazar says:

    I recently read an article by our lovely Jason Katsousis in The Age that dealt almost entirely with Israel’s seemingly inneffectual investigation into human rights accusations post Goldstone, but contanted a mere footnote regarding the PA’s intention to investigate warcrime accusations against Hamas. And it is of no surprise. Katsousis is justified when he targets Israel with his moral magnifying glass because Israel’s moral obligation is clear to all. Israel is obligated to implement the democratic systems of justice it holds in such high regard. It is obligated, as are all democratic states, to constantly engage in moral self-reflection and uphold humane war activity.
    Not so with Hamas. No one expects such standards from Hamas. They don’t even expect it from themselves. They make no apologies for their murderous charter that openly advocates the destruction of Israel, together with its Zionist inhabitants. They make no apologies for indiscriminately firing rockets from school buildings and hospitals, using children and the sick as human shields. They publically applaud such ‘innovation’.
    If Hamas’ professed ideology is to annihilate Israel and indeed all Zionists, whilst deliberately endangering the lives of the citizens it governs – what merit could possibly arise from an investigation into Hamas war crimes? They would be the last political group on earth to sign a document such as the Geneva Convention that imposes strict guidelines on wartime protocol and ethical levels of combat and interaction with the enemy. Conventions such as these are founded on universal moral and ethical values, the likes of which do not exist in an fundamentally idelgocal belief sysem such as Hamas’. When “right” means the just killing of those who do not support Islam and a new Caliphate in Palestine, an idea that is diametrically opposed to our perception (and indeed, I will claim, the objectively correct perception) of “right” – that is, not purposefully murdering and endangering the lives of innocent people, how can one expect such an organisation to be held accountable for acting in an unjust way? We’re not engaged in the same discourse. We’re speaking differnet moral languages. Try and get an Indian man and a Swedish man to speak to one another when neither speaks the language of the other. It’s laughable. The proposition borders on farcical – especially to Hamas.

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