Hamas understood how to exploit the war, which it had provoked and started, as a war between Islam and Jews or Christians.
Israel had struck a UN-run school in northern Gaza, killing at least 15 people. This came after an Israeli air strike on an ambulance, also killing 15 people. If that was not bad enough, Israel had also targeted Jabalia, reported to be Gaza’s largest refugee camp, for the second time in two days. The Hamas-run health ministry claimed that more than 50 people were killed.
Besides schools, ambulances and so-called refugee camps, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) had also bombed mosques, residential buildings, civilian infrastructures and whatnot. Has Israel gone mad by deliberately targeting innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip? It doesn’t make sense that the world’s smartest people – Jews – would be so dumb to openly butcher women and children.
There is only one explanation – Hamas was using women and children as human shields. In fact, the terror group actually admits its strategy is to use Palestinian civilians as human shields. An interviewer recently asked Mousa Abu Marzouk, a senior member of the Hamas Politburo – “Since you have built 500 kilometres of tunnels, why haven’t you built bomb shelters where civilians can hide during bombardments?”
Mousa replied – “We have built the tunnels to protect ourselves from getting targeted and killed. These are meant to protect us from the aeroplanes. Protecting Gaza civilians is the responsibility of the United Nations (UN) and Israel.” Of course, “ourselves” and “us” here mean the Hamas militants – definitely not the Palestinian civilians. And this is how Hamas cleverly wins the propaganda war.
Not only has Hamas refused to build bomb shelters in Gaza to protect civilians, it has instead built tunnels underneath civilian infrastructures to hide military assets such as weapons and its members. By strategically putting civilians above its military positions, the Israeli military had to attack or kill ordinary Palestinians first before it could reach Hamas terrorists located underground.
If Israel attacks Hamas, who cowardly hide right below schools, hospitals, residential buildings or even mosques, the human shields will guarantee high civilian casualties. Hamas would then blame the death toll on Israel to generate sympathy. Besides storing essential supplies like food, water, medicine and fuel, the tunnels were used to train terrorists and transport weapons and ammunition.
Rejecting fuel as part of humanitarian aid into Gaza, the Israel Defence Forces have published aerial imagery supposedly showing Hamas storage tanks containing “more than 500,000 litres of fuel”. A recording of a call by a Gaza health official confirms that not only Hamas is hoarding fuel but has more than 1 million litres under the Shifa Hospital, the largest medical centre.
That explains why Hamas has turned hospitals into command centres and hideouts for terrorists and commanders, knowing it is a lose-lose situation for Israel – damned if it attacks and damned if it doesn’t. The tunnels are so massive that it is known as the “Gaza Metro”. If fuel shipments are allowed into Gaza, Hamas will just steal it and divert the commodity to power its terror infrastructure.
Even though the strategy of using civilians as human shields is both disgusting and shameless, it works like a charm. The terrorists can always fire missiles into Israel and quickly go back to hide inside the tunnels. And when Israel retaliates, it will always get the blame because innocent Palestinians will definitely get killed. Israel is simply powerless against such a tactic.
Is there any proof? During the 2014 conflict, the UN reported weapons were found inside two UN schools and there have been numerous reports of Palestinian armed factions in Gaza firing rockets and other weapons at civilian locations. Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhari told al-Aqsa TV in 2014 – “Hamas despises Palestinians who criticise the high number of civilian casualties.”
In May 2004, an ambulance marked with the UN designation was used to transport Hamas militants. In Nov 2006 and July 2014, Hamas told civilians to climb the rooftop of Hamas leader Muhammad Baroud’s house, following IDF’s early warning. In June 2007, accidental explosion during the assembly of an explosive device IED at a residential house, which collapsed and killed 10 civilians.
Yes, as far as the terror group is concerned, it doesn’t care about Palestinians. Soldiers are supposed to protect civilians, but Hamas has been using civilians to protect militants since 2007. It won’t fight face-to-face or soldier-to-soldier as it can’t win against the powerful Israeli forces on the battlefields. Hence, it fires rockets, artillery, and mortars from or in proximity to heavily populated civilian areas – and then hides.
Hamas understood that if the IDF limits its use of military power in Gaza to avoid collateral damage, it will be less vulnerable to Israeli attacks, and thereby able to protect its assets underground while continuing to fight. It also knew that to maximise Israeli casualties, it had to fire more rockets to provoke the Jews, who had no choice but to retaliate with equal force, which would lead to international condemnation.
As in previous wars between Israel and Hamas – in 2009, 2012 and 2014 – the major casualties were civilians, including innocent children. But due to Israel’s vast military superiority, the toll of death and destruction is always disproportionately felt by Palestinians. This is where Hamas cleverly manipulates and exploits the civilian deaths to its advantage.
In the recent Oct 7 terrorist attack in Israel, which killed 1,400 people, including women, children and babies, Hamas knew from the beginning what would happen next. As expected, Israel – furious – had declared war, bombing Gaza to rubble. So far, the deaths in Gaza near 10,000 people. People don’t remember the death of 1,400 Israelis but slams the Jews for killing 10,000 Palestinians.
Photos of Palestinians carrying survivors under the rubble of a building, or mourners carrying the body of children are repeatedly being broadcast on TV and social media. It creates a perception as if Israel did not incur any loss while victim Palestine had lost many lives. However, people did not ask one burning question – where are the photos of Hamas casualties?
Like Houdini, magician Hamas manipulates what is to be captured before sending it out for propaganda purposes. Because foreign press and TV journalists face hurdles to getting on the ground, largely due to the danger of relents airstrikes and communications blackouts, they depended on Hamas’ propaganda. A lack of access to foreign press has made it difficult also to verify the number of people killed.
Crucially, the terror group understood how to exploit the war, which it had provoked and started, as a war between Islam and Jews or Christians. Islam, with over 1.8 billion people practising the religion, is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity. The global Jewish population, meanwhile, was estimated at 16.1 million, or merely 0.2% of the 8 billion worldwide population.
It didn’t take much convincing for Muslims to scream, whine and bitch till foaming at the mouth about the Israelis’ brutal massacre. Islam’s huge population ensures their protest is being heard, so much so even President Joe Biden has called for “pause” in the Israel-Hamas war, which Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decisively and promptly rejects.
Hamas’ propaganda was so successful that there was a bigger protest in the US and Europe than in the Arab World. Amusingly, Saudi Arabia and its allies such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman saw some mild protests. Even Egypt and Jordan have refused to open up their borders to welcome Palestinians caught in the crossfire – suggesting that not every Muslim country likes the Palestinians due to past history.
It doesn’t matter that Israel had issued an evacuation order to more than 1 million people to leave northern Gaza ahead of an expected ground invasion in retaliation for Hamas’ stunning attack. Hamas was readily blocking roads on the route south, shooting at Palestinians attempting to leave the area. If everyone is allowed to leave, there would be no human shields to protect the terrorists.
Despite facing protests and demands for an immediate ceasefire, Israel – facing existential threats – was extremely focused on bombarding the terrorist targets in Gaza. It had struck more than 600 militant targets within 24 hours, translating to 1 bombardment every 2.4 minutes. It said there will be no pause unless all hostages are freed, which torpedoes Hamas’ plan for a prisoner exchange.
The Israeli’s retaliation was so fierce that Hamas was literally caught with its pants down. It reportedly agreed to release foreign hostages on the condition that wounded Palestinians are allowed to leave Gaza. But one-third of the Palestinians on the list turned out to be Hamas members – suggesting that the terrorists suffered heavy casualties and had underestimated the consequences of its provocation.
As Israel’s ground forces encircled Gaza City after its relentless bombing campaign in order to wipe out Hamas, the group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh announced in a televised statement that he is willing to engage in “political negotiations.” He said – “We are ready for political negotiations for a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine,”
But Haniyeh’s call for a ceasefire may be too little too late as the IDF advances deeper into the Gaza Strip. Dismissing the idea as equivalent to surrendering Israel to terrorism and barbarism, Netanyahu said – “Just as the United States would not agree to a ceasefire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas.”
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said there are only two options for Hamas – “die or surrender unconditionally”. Unable to change the perception of the Muslim world, Israel can only do what it does best – ruthlessly kill every single Hamas commander and member even if it means Palestinians are sacrificed as part of collateral damage in a war. – Finance Twitter