Originally Posted by Tulkas
Can't watch youtube at work so I will watch it later. From vinea's response, I am guessing it is a video of IDF soldiers using civilians as shields. That should be condemned and punished. I guess you were wrong in your predictions again.
Still waiting to hear something other than an excuse from you and your kind condemning Hamas for doing the same thing but with thousands of civilians. If the IDF soldiers are putting civilians in front of them, that is wrong. Even more inexcusable is stationing your launch sites on in very densely populated areas, using apartment basements as your stockpile depots and using inhabited apartment blocks as military tunnel entrances. Especially knowing full well that these sites will be targeted. We know you will never condemn these actions. The Hamas leadership certainly never will (you know, since it their idea).
Actually it makes perfect sense for a guerillia-organization to act that way. The total dominance of the air by Israel means that Hamas doesn't have any protection nor defense against air-raids, espescially because Hamas is pretty meagerly equipped with no radar nor antiaircraft-rockets.
Hamas' fighters are in comparison to Israel's airforce like civilians, since they have nothing to threaten the airforce with. It would be the same as if they had flowers in their hands.
So what does a guerillia-force do, knowing fully well that it has no protection nor defense-weapons against an enemy's airforce, and also no environmental protection to use, like a dense jungle or deep marshes? It uses civilians as cover, by mixing with them, changing clothes, firing from residential areas, calculating that Israel would not simply carpet-bomb against civilians, since Israel is bound by international treaties to not do that.
Israel is forced to pinpoint attacks, to make sure guerillia-fighters are in a specific target and not too many civilians around... and thus reducing the effectiveness a bit.
And since any attacks will most likely hit civilians as well, media-pressure can be built up. Sure, Israel has tried to counteract that by not allowing reporters into Gaza, but still pictures came out by the few local Gaza-reporters that work for BBC or the arabic broadcasters.
The media is the weapon of the weak guerillia-force while the civilians and the international signed treaties are its protection against the dominant airforce.
That means that the real fight will have to be on the ground in the midst of Gaza's cities, and on the ground Hamas has suddenly a potential to fight and inflict casualties among Israel's infantry, using run-and-hide-tactics, booby-traps, suicide-bombings... its rocketpropelled grenades and mines can work against jeeps and tanks as well as helicopters...
That's why Israel is so catious not to go in quickly with its groundforces, knowing that Israel's homefront can't accept high casualties among its soldiers, and instead trying to separate the Gaza-civilians from the Hamas-fighters by issuing leafletters calling for evacuation using pychological threats, so that the airforce can again come into use.
Meanwhile the groundforces react with dispropotionate force, firing tank-shells, to any incoming mortar-attack, in order to prevent casualties among its own froces at all costs, which means of course a high collateral damage.
But that also serves as a tool in Israel's policy against Hamas. The high collateral damage to infrastructure and the many casualties among palestinians are also meant to undermine Hamas' appeal and authority to rule, since it can't protect its people.
All strategy and tactics aside, who is the guilty one in this conflict?
During the truce, Hamas completely refrained from firing rockets and even reduced considerably the rockets fired by other groups inside Gaza, while Israel even strengthened the blockade and
attacked and killed Hamas members.
There is a strategy-paper from 1975 that thinks through what the US should do when the OPEC would put an airtight oil-embargoe on the US. Considering that the US has its own oil-ressources, the paper concluded that such an oil-embargoe would not threaten the US' vital interest, namely survival, but would bring economic hardship and maybe even economic chaos, and thus suggested to act militarily by conquering the oil-installations in the middle-east, in order to prevent these economic hardships and turmoils.
The paper also defined categories of foreign attacks on the US' interests: Beside direct military invasion or nuclear holocaust, it defined a blockade as the most serious threat, a threat justifying any military action to break the blockade, while defining an airtight embargoe as a lesser threat, but still suggesting military action in the case in order to prevent economic hardships for its citizens.
Gaza was subject to all these, embargoes, blockades and now invasion. In all these instances Hamas as the elected government had the obligation to do what it could to lift these again.
Its means are limited, leaving only guerillia- and terror-tactics:
- Kidnapping an israeli soldier to use to free palestinian prisoners in Israel.
- Since no israeli soldiers are at hand to attack, and the capability to invade Israel is not there, shooting rockets at Israel was the only course left. Hamas told Israel clearly that it would stop rocket-firing in exchange for a complete lifting of the blockade and proved its sincerity during the truce.
Unfortunately Israel didn't keep its side of the deal and strengthened the blockade during the truce.
According to international law, occupied people have a right to organize an armed resistance, and have a right to foreign aid of their choosing. Hamas chose to accept Syria's and Iran's aid in building up its weapon-caches and training its commanders.
Targetting and killing civilians though is against international law, Hamas justified it in the past, while it was on a suicide-bombing-campaign in Israel, by citing the five times as many killed palestinian civilians by Israel, ie. claiming a legal right for reprisals to achieve a sort of equilibrium so that the opponent gets deterred from killing its people.
The same right is invoked by Hamas with the use of rockets, as a reprisal against Israel's violations against the palestinians, espescially in the Westbank where military raids and extrajudicial executions were carried out, but lately also against Israel's actions against Gaza.
So, despite all condemning and Israel-cheering, Hamas is actually acting within international legality.