As part of its propaganda against Israel’s enemies, Israeli and neoconservative propagandists like to present Palestinian fighters as cowards that hide behind so-called ‘human shields’.
Neoconservative propagandist Jonathan Tobin, for example, today writes that, “having decided to escalate another round of violence by launching hundreds of rockets into Israel, the Islamist group is still hoping to use the presence of Palestinian civilians around legitimate military targets as a weapon against the Jewish state”. However, as Tobin concedes, the Gaza Strip is extremely densely populated and, short of making themselves sitting targets in open fields, Palestinian fighters have no option but to conduct the defence of their homelands from within the built-up areas of where they live. It is the nature of urban guerrilla warfare – especially if the Israelis decide to launch a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. Palestinian fighters are hardly going to stand out in open fields with their AK-47s and RPGs to face Israeli ground attack aircraft and squadrons of Israeli Merkava battle tanks.
But there is another side to the ‘human shield’ scenario. In fact, it is not the Palestinian fighters that resort to using human shields; it’s actually the Israelis who have been filmed and documented as having used children as human shields.