Friday, March 9, 2007

Israeli soldiers use two Palestinian minors as human shields

Report, B'Tselem, 9 March 2007

"Testimonies taken by B'Tselem reveal that during the army's operation in Nablus in late February, soldiers used two Palestinian children, a fifteen-year-old boy and a eleven-year-old girl, and a twenty-four-year old man as human shields. The use of human shields constitutes a flagrant breach of international humanitarian law and is explicitly and clearly prohibited by Israeli military orders. B'Tselem wrote to the Judge Advocate General and demanded that he immediately order a Military Police investigation into the matter......

According to the testimonies, on the first day of the operation, around five o'clock in the morning, soldiers came to the house of the 'Amirah family, in the Old City, and removed all the occupants from the house and took them to a nearby house, where other Palestinians were also being held. Then the soldiers ordered one of the family, 15-year-old 'Amid to accompany them in their search of three other houses. According to 'Amid's testimony, the soldiers pushed him with the barrels of their rifles and forced him to enter rooms of the house in front of them, open cabinets and empty out the contents, and open windows. In one instance, according to the testimony, a soldier shot several shots into the room......

The picture that emerges from the testimonies, and particularly the description of the firing into the rooms in the testimonies of 'Amid and Samach 'Amirah, indicate that the soldiers feared the houses they searched hid armed militants or that explosives had been planted in them. In other words, the mission the two minors and the adult were forced to conduct undoubtedly included an element of danger and it seems clear that the soldiers were aware of this......"

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