Date: 18/10/2021
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Palestinians Accuse Hamas of Storing Weapons in Civilian Areas

by Hugh Fitzgerald

How satisfying it is to see Israel’s claims about Hamas deliberately storing weapons in residential areas is now being backed up by the Palestinians themselves – to wit, 133 Palestinian NGOs who have denounced this dangerous and cruel practice by Hamas. The story is here: “Palestinians accuse Hamas of storing weapons in residential areas,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, July 24, 2021:

Palestinian factions and human rights organizations have called on Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups to stop storing weapons in residential areas following another explosion that killed one person and injured 14 others on Thursday [July 21].

They also demanded a thorough investigation into the explosion in order to hold those responsible accountable.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said that the explosion took place in a warehouse used by Hamas for storing weapons.

The “warehouse” was, in fact, an ordinary three-story residential house in the Al-Zawiya market area in the middle of Gaza City. Scores of civilians would have been in and around the house at all times.

Hamas said it has launched an investigation into the explosion, but has not provided any details….

Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza views the explosion incident with grave seriousness, as there have been repeated incidents of internal explosions in houses in overcrowded residential neighborhoods for various reasons in the past, which resulted in the killing of a number of civilians and the destruction of homes and public and private properties,” the statement read.

From the Palestinian horse’s mouth: “there have been repeated incidents of internal explosions in houses in overcrowded residential neighborhoods” which “resulted in the killing of a number of civilians.” This was not the first such explosion of a Hamas weapons warehouse that killed civilians, but only the latest of many, all of which could have been avoided had the terror group placed its weapons well away from residential areas. But the terror group has always insisted on maximizing the danger to Palestinian civilians, by warehousing weapons in their midst, in the hope of avoiding Israeli attacks.

“Accordingly, Al-Mezan reiterates its call for a comprehensive and serious investigation into this incident and other similar events, to publish the results of the investigation publicly, and to take the necessary measures to ensure that it does not recur in order to preserve the lives and property of citizens.”

The “necessary measures to ensure that it [such an explosion] does not recur” would mean an entire overhauling of Hamas’ policy on weapons warehousing would have to take place. The weapons would be moved from populated places and placed far from civilian areas — where of course they will be more easily detected by the IAF. As far as Al-Mezan goes, that’s just too bad.

The Palestinian NGO Network, an umbrella organization comprising 133 member organizations, also called for a “serious and transparent” investigation into the explosion. “The Network stresses the need to expedite the provision of all forms of assistance and support to those affected,” the group said. “It also stresses the need to announce the results of the investigation and to take serious measures to prevent such explosions from happening again.”…

It looks like the Palestinians are at the end of their tether, fed up with Hamas’ practice of deliberately storing its weapons ammunition in the midst of civilian areas where the danger of unintended explosions and civilian casualties is high. And they are now making public their pent-up fury, even though their complaint about the terror group’s practices echoes, and buttresses, the claims made by Israel about Hamas.

Fadel Al-Manasfeh, a Palestinian writer, echoes the Israelis: “Hamas chooses popular markets as a safe place for its ammunition warehouses because it knows that Israel does not target such places.” The Israelis try to pinpoint their attacks on these warehouses so as to minimize civilian casualties, and before launching them the IDF makes sure to warn civilians to leave the immediate area, through telephone calls, emails, and the “knock-on-the-roof” technique. Not all the civilians always leave in time, and sometimes the hoped-for precision of the bombing is not achieved. But Israel never deliberately “targets” civilian areas. Al-Manasfeh has it right: “Israel does not target such places” as those “popular markets” within or near to which Hamas stores its ammunition and weapons.

The next time the Jewish state is attacked in the UN Genera Assembly for causing “civilian deaths,” Israel’s ambassador should read out the Jerusalem Post article posted above, taking care to point out that the Palestinians themselves have accused Hamas of deliberately storing their weapons in civilian areas, in the hope that either Israel will be forced to refrain from attacking or, if it does decide to attack, any civilian casualties that result – Hamas doesn’t give a damn about what happens to them – will make Israel look bad. Let the Ambassador read out to the General Assembly what the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has to say about this latest explosion at a house in the midst of the Al-Zawiya market area, and why the 133 Palestinian NGOs have called for a thorough investigation, and what the Palestinian writer Fadel Al-Manasfeh said about the terror group Hamas’ practice of deliberately placing weapons in civilian areas (like markets), because it knows that Israel would be unlikely to target them. Having read all that out – quoting only Palestinians themselves – he can then tell the stunned Assembly (and the furious delegate from the “State of Palestine”) that “I rest my case.”

First published in Jihad Watch.


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