The BBC reports that Palestinians stopped a planned air strike because protesters surrounded the house that was to be hit (link). The IDF decided not to strike, because it didn’t want to kill all the civilians (or it didn’t want the publicity headache of killing them).
It’s unclear (because the article left it unclear) whether this was just a house of a militant, or was actually a suspected storehouse of weapons.
How did the protesters know that the house was going to be hit? Israel told them. Apparently, “very often the air force telephones a warning 10 minutes before the strike to give the occupants time to escape and keep down casualties.”
Israel decided not to strike because of all the “innocent” civilians. Imagine if civilians gathered around a house that Hamas was targeting. They’d drool all over themselves, and load up to hit it harder. Because they’re AIMING for civilians.
What is Israel supposed to do now? When they warn residents of an attack, they gather around. When they don’t warn them, civilians die. The article also mentions that two weeks ago, women purposely went to a mosque to act as human shield for some militants who were holed up there.
I’m torn about how to treat volunteer human shields in a conflict. I mean, as a world-wide phenomenon, whether combatting terror, or in a real war.
My first thought is that volunteer shields are no longer innocent civilians. I don’t have a second thought right now, though I may come up with one later.
No easy answers (apologies to my friend Charlie, who likes resolution).