“Hamas. … deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people. … This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage — or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb — will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.” [Emphasis added.]
We’re all familiar with this argument, made in this case by Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post today. You often hear it from those who reflexively support Israeli offensives, as well as conservatives in general on the subject of urban warfare.
It occurs to me that I’ve heard it so often, I just assume it’s true. But let’s take a look at this story in Israel’s Ynet. . .
The air strike killed Nizar Rayyan [who was considered the Hamas leadership's liaison with the group's military wing] along with nine other people, including his wife and three children, Hamas said. … Security sources told Ynet that the house was also used as an arms cache, a communications headquarters and concealed a tunnel’s opening.
Prior to striking Rayyan’s house the IDF tried to warn his family about the imminent attack and urged them to evacuate the place, but they refused to do so.
The army has recently held deliberations regarding the legality of striking homes used as weapons storages when sufficient warning is given to the residents. It has been decided that this falls within the boundaries of international law and is therefore legitimate.
Most of Hamas’ leaders have gone into hiding since the Israeli operation in Gaza began, but Rayyan recently pledged not to leave his house under any circumstances. …
He also sent his son to carry out a suicide attack in the community of Eley Sinai in 2001 in which two Israelis was killed.
It’s possible that a man alleged to have sent his son off to meet his maker may have forced his family to stay in a home deemed a target. But is it likely that Rayyan was willing to risk his family — not to mention himself — just to increase worldwide antagonism against Israel for killing innocent Palestinians? S&R readers, kindly respond.