guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 10 February 2009
"........Both sides endangered civilian lives during the conflict, but obviously the behaviour of Israel was massively more destructive. There were reports from Amnesty International of Israeli Defence Forces units commandeering Palestinian homes, forcing families to remain in a ground-floor room while then using the property as a military operations point. In other words, Palestinian families were used as human shields or, at the very least, were exposed to quite unacceptable risk.
Hamas is also accused of using local civilians as human shields, but since this excuse was used for every Israeli attack on civilian targets, we must await objective reports on whether this allegation is true. Even more shockingly, evidence has been growing of the IDF's use of white phosphorous shells in residential areas – a clear war crime in exposing civilians to horrendous deep-burn injuries that have shocked and bewildered burns unit doctors in Gaza's overrun hospital wards. Moreover, as the new BBC Panorama programme on Gaza asks, was the colossal destruction of roads, houses, factories, farms and ordinary civilian infrastructure right across the Gaza Strip (creating what an Amnesty researcher called "total devastation") an act of "wanton destruction" and therefore itself a war crime........"