posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 04:24 PM
Dion Nissenbaum – McClatchy Newspapers February 2, 2009
The Israeli soldiers outside Majdi Abed Rabbo's home were after the three Hamas fighters holed up next door, and they wanted Abed Rabbo to be their
point man. For the next 24 hours, Abed Rabbo said, the soldiers repeatedly forced him to walk through the battle zone to see whether the militants
were dead or alive.
Abed Rabbo wasn't alone. Eight other residents in this northern Gaza Strip neighborhood told McClatchy in separate interviews that Israeli soldiers
had conscripted them to check homes for booby traps, to smash holes in the walls of houses so that soldiers could use them as escape routes or to try
to pull dead Palestinian militants from the rubble. Conscripting Palestinians during the recent fighting in Gaza would appear to violate not only
international law, but also Israel's court-imposed ban on using civilians as human shields.
"The laws of war make it clear you must distinguish between civilians and combatants and you cannot force a civilian to take on a combat role," said
Daniel Reisner, a legal scholar who spent nearly a decade as the head of the Israeli military's international law department. "Using a human shield
Human shields. Israel uses human shields to protect themselves from irregular fighters despite the immense quantities of arms they have.