Hamas doesn't need to fire rockets from populated areas. It chooses to.
Hillary Clinton didn't come up with this. This excuse has been making the rounds.
The strange thing is that Hillary Clinton begins her answer by unexpectedly and correctly pointing out that the conflict really began with Hamas rocket attacks, implicitly correcting Jorge Ramos' emphasis on the kidnapping.
It's an unexpected moment of accuracy which suggests that she's getting good briefings from foreign affairs people. 90 percent of her response is adequate to fine, until the end where she unexpectedly says this...
“I’m not a military planner but Hamas puts its missiles, its rockets in civilian areas, part of it is Gaza is pretty small and its densely populated,” she said as neglecting the question of whether or not Hamas should have rockets in area to begin with.
This is followed by referencing Israel's warnings, but it's still fundamentally wrong.
Hamas has a policy of using human shields. If Hillary Clinton is well enough briefed to emphasize the rockets rather than the kidnapping, then this is a basic factoid that it's hard to believe she doesn't know.
Gaza is small, but it's nowhere near so small that you need to fire rockets from civilian areas.
The population density excuse is an attempt to distract from what Hamas is doing and then blame the whole thing on Israel by portraying the density as some form of oppression.
Using population density to excuse or explain the Hamas tactic of firing from civilian areas is as grossly misleading as suggesting that ISIS has to attack civilians because of Baghdad's population density.
The constant photos of explosions in Gaza City create the false impression that the strip is one long metropolis. It most certainly is not.
Hamas has plenty of areas that it used to operate in under Israel and that terrorists sometimes also fire rockets from. They don't need to fire rockets from populated areas.
They choose to.