Sunday, the Israeli military informed Hamas leaders identified as masterminds behind some of the ongoing bombings of Israelis that their homes were going to be bombed. This is common Israeli practice, intended to let innocents escape. Instead, hundreds of Palestinians flocked immediately to those houses as volunteer human shields.
In response, the Israeli military called off the attack. From the Associated Press:
The standoff over the homes of the militants began late Saturday when Mohammed Baroud, local leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, was informed by the army that his house would be hit. The three-story building is home to 17 people from Baroud’s family. Another militant from Hamas also received a warning.
Instead of fleeing, though, the two decided to stay in their homes and called in reinforcements. They were quickly joined by crowds of supporters, including dozens of armed men, who gathered on balconies, rooftops and in the streets outside.
The crowds are reportd to have chanted “Death to Israel. Death to America,” and local mosques and Palestinian TV and radio stations helped to mobilize supporters. Baroud said that he and his fellow militants had organized this response because they feared retaliation for their involvement in rocket attacks on Israel when another house was destroyed by a missile strike.
The Israeli Army called off the nighttime airstrikes because of the risk to the gathered crowd. It described the action as cynical exploitation “by the terrorists of uninvolved people as human shields.”
I hate to judge the Israelis on matters of defense, cause I know they’re in a very tough spot right smack between Iraq and a bunch of hard places. Plus, I’m sure there are a lot of strategic considerations that it wouldn’t even occur to me to ask. So then, and considering the fact that this crowd was chanting “Death to America,” I’ll answer it hypothetical to such a situation involving us here at Team America.
If it were MY government, I would consider this forbearance not just inappropriate, but immoral and unconscionable — a dereliction of duty. Again, we have a specific person who has been organizing the murders of Israeli citizens. It is the main one inarguably legitimate job of a government to stop people from coming in and killing their citizens. Therefore, it is their top duty to kill him.
That a bunch of Hamas supporters and even Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas purposely flocked to the place, that’s gravy. They have self-identified as your enemies, lending not just comfort and aid but their very bodies to pledge allegiance and shout “Death to Israel, Death to the US.”
The Israeli army spokesman seems to have been simply wrong and making excuses for lack of resolve when they say that these human shields were “uninvolved people.” The word went out that Israel was going to bomb this guy, so hundreds of people flocked to the place specifically and on purpose. That seems to pretty unambiguously constitute choosing to get involved.
This is substantially different from other involuntary uses of human shields, for example in the 2006 raids into Lebanon. I question how “innocent” many of those civilians were, but certainly there were a good many people got killed accidentally because they simply had the bad luck of living in the neighborhood.
This story today, however, was nothing like that. The whole Palestinian tactic here hinges exactly on people purposely trying to get killed. They’re trying to commit mass suicide-by-cop. They should have been accommodated.
Thus their self-declared enemies gathered together there daring the Israelis to wipe them out as an orgiastic fulfillment of their culture of death. I could understand if the Jews lamented like the Ed O’Neill character, “Why do they always come to me to die?” Nonetheless, it is the responsibility of the military to kill people who are actively engaged in trying to kill all Jews and destroy Israel. They should have absolutely obliterated the block full of volunteers, down to the lizards, as Borat would say. Not killing all those people appears to be a gross dereliction of duty.
We and the Israelis get a lot of this just because we accept it, and we are understandably and to a large extent appropriately squeamish about killing people. But of course, that goodwill is not reciprocated, but instead understood as weakness. We recoil from striking down even those plotting murders against us.
If flocking to a known terror mastermind like this still isn’t regarded as sufficient reason to take them out, then what would be? If you let stuff like this go by, then you’re just not serious about doing whatever is necessary to defend your country and your family.