ADC Condemns Israel’s Use of Human Shields: Holds Israeli Army Responsible for Palestinian Death

WASHINGTON DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) condemned Israel’s continued practice of using innocent Palestinian civilians as human shields in its military operations in occupied Palestine.
A spokesperson for the Israeli Army confirmed yesterday that Israeli soldiers used Nidal Abu Muhsen of the village of Tubas as human shield in a military operation on August 14, 2002, that resulted in the death of the 19-year-old Palestinian teenager.
The practice by the Israeli Army and security services of using civilians as human shields, sometimes called “neighbor practice,” is not new. According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, Israeli soldiers have routinely used Palestinian civilians to enter buildings suspected of being booby-trapped, to remove suspicious objects from public roads, and to shield Israeli soldiers and military positions from gunfire.
On May 5, 2002, seven Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups, including B’Tselem, Adalah, ACRI and LAW, petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice to enjoin the Israeli government from using human shields during military actions in the West Bank and Gaza. Yet, the practice continues unabated despite the promise made last May by the Israeli State Attorney’s Office to the High Court that it would prohibit the use of Palestinian civilians for this illegal and immoral purpose.
ADC Executive Vice President Khalil E. Jahshan stated that “Once again, the Sharon government gets away with murder. The use of civilians as human shields is ample evidence of the moral bankruptcy of Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians.” Jahshan questioned Washington’s silence on this issue and urged the Bush Administration and the U.S. Congress “to condemn this clear violation of humanitarian international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, which gives ‘protected populations’ the right to respect, humanity, and protection from violence.” Jahshan characterized the attempt by senior Israeli Army officers to defend and justify the use of human shields for the sake of saving lives as “inhumane and utterly profane.”
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