The most extensive, detailed, and documented survey of Hamas' use of civilians as human shields and associated violations of the laws of war that endanger civilians. Published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 29, 2009, and submitted to the Goldstone Mission. They refer to it a number of times, always to reject its claims.
THE OPERATION IN GAZA: FACTUAL AND LEGAL ASPECTS
29 Jul 2009
V. THE USE OF FORCE -Â Hamasâ€™ Breaches of the Law of Armed Conflict
B.Hamasâ€™ Breaches of the Law of Armed Conflict and War Crimes
142. Both prior to and during the IDF operation in Gaza, Hamas flouted the Law of Armed Conflict, terrorising Israeli citizens through an endless barrage of rocket and mortar attacks, and deliberately using Palestinian civilians, as well as protected U.N., educational, medical, administrative (so-called governmental) and religious facilities, as a cover for its operations.Â In adopting such methods of warfare, members of Hamas committed internationally recognised war crimes, and made it impossible for the IDF to avoid collateral damage to civilians and civilian objectives in pursuit of legitimate military objectives during the operation.
143. As the evidence discussed below illustrates, the tactics andÂ modus operandi of Hamas and other terrorist organisations offend the most fundamental legal and moral norms of human behaviour.
144. While the examples of Hamasâ€™ violations of the Law of Armed Conflict cited in this report are far from exhaustive, they illustrate the extraordinary challenges that the tactics of Hamas posed for the IDF, as a military force committed to respecting its obligations under international law.Â As explained below, Hamas has violated a myriad of basic norms of International Humanitarian Law.
(1) Deliberate Rocket Attacks Against
Israeli Population Centres
145. As described in Section IV.B above, for many years Hamas engaged in deliberate, systematic and widespread use of rocket attacks, mortar attacks and suicide bombings intentionally directed at civilian targets in Israel.(139)Â The international community, including the United Nations, the Quartet of Middle East mediators,(140) the European Union,(141) the United States,(142) the United Kingdom (143) and many other States and international bodies, have condemned Hamasâ€™ rocket attacks.
146. Hamasâ€™ rocket attacks directed at Israelâ€™s civilian population centres deliberately violated the basic principles of distinction.(144)Â Any doubt about this is resolved by the fact that Hamas itself has boasted of its intention to hit population centres.Â It is well accepted in customary international law that â€ś[i]ntentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilitiesâ€ť constitutes a war crime.(145)
147. In this case, numerous international observers have recognised that Hamas was intentionally engaging in deliberate attacks, in violation of the Law of Armed Conflict.Â Even well before the escalation of rocket attacks in 2008, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs condemned Hamas rocket fire on Sderot as â€ślegally and morally wrong.â€ť(146)Â The United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs stated that â€śthereâ€™s no justificationâ€ť under the law for the firing of the rockets, because â€ś[t]hey are indiscriminate, thereâ€™s no military target.â€ť(147) And the U.N. Secretary-General confirmed his view that the rocket attacks in Israel were â€śtargeting and injuring civilians.â€ť(148)
148. HamasÂ deliberately targets rockets and mortar rounds at Israeli population centres and specifically intends to cause the maximum amount of civilian death and suffering.Â Hamas cheers when one of its rockets or mortars succeeds in hitting a civilian target, whether that be a private home or public institution.Â For instance, the following Hamas poster boasts of homes destroyed by missiles in Southern Israel:
Hamas poster depicting Israeli civilian homes destroyed by rocket fire
149. It is therefore clear that theÂ purpose of Hamasâ€™ incessant rocket attacks on Israelâ€™s southern towns and cities, in addition to causing death, injury and destruction, is to spread terror among Israelâ€™s civilian population.Â This also constitutes a serious violation of the Law of Armed Conflict.Â As discussed above, it is a core principle of customary international law that: