This clip from Fathi Hamad, the Hamas Interior Minister in Gaza, is a few years old, but all too relevant in this current conflict, as he boasts of Hamas’ willingness and even eagerness to use children and the elderly as human shields.
“For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘We desire death like you desire life.’”
The phrase “Industry of Death” is all too accurate and is an admission of the tactics of Hamas and Fatah. That is what we are seeing on the ground in Gaza.
Human shields does not just refer to a policy of using civilians as cover in firefights, but to deliberately planting civilians, including children, in locations likely to be targeted in order to manufacture atrocities. We will be seeing more and more of that as this conflict progresses.