Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Israeli Supreme Court bans use of human shields

Israeli politics are complex and my understanding of them is imperfect, but that anyone would endorse coercing Palestinians to act as human shields is hard for me to fathom.

The court ruled out both the placing of civilians in front of soldiers on operations and as well as an "early warning" procedure employed by the army.

In this practice the army forces local Palestinians to flush out wanted militants by making them approach their homes first and asking them to surrender.

The state argued that its rules were necessary to arrest wanted militants and did not endanger Palestinian civilians who - it argued - gave their consent to take part in the operations.

But that was disputed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Israeli Arab human rights organisation Adallah, who brought the case.

Adallah submitted an affidavit by one Israeli reservist who said: "No civilian would refuse a 'request' presented to him at 0300 [hours] by a group of soldiers aiming their cocked rifles at him." |BBC|
Israel's long experience with urban warfare has led to some innovative approaches, but this tactic seems egregiously immoral.

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