Is Hamas Still a Terrorist Organization After Political Victory? - Legal Expert Dr. Avi Bell





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Published on Feb 19, 2009

Dr. Avi Bell explains why, despite their victory in the elections, Hamas is still a terrorist organization and should be treated as such by the international community. To view the entire briefing, visit the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' website, http://www.jcpa.org
Global Law Forum: http://www.globallawforum.org

Hamas' War Crimes
Avi Bell | Gaza

I have yet to see any of the major NGO's or other players in the internation law field turn any serious attention to Hamas war crimes and other violations of international law committed during the current fighting in Gaza.

To fill in the gap, I will, as I get to it, list reports of Hamas war crimes, primarily as reported by media outlets outside of Israel. I will update the list as I run across items, and will be delighted to get emails from readers with further suggestions.

Just to get things rolling, here's a start:

On January 7, the Washington Post reported that Hamas "opted for a tactical withdrawal, with its fighters melting away into the strip's sprawling cities and refugee camps, according to Gaza residents and Israeli military analysts and officers. Now, Hamas appears to be daring the Israeli troops to follow." This appears to be a deliberate and illegal attempt to use Gaza's urban population as civilian shields.

This December 29 story from the New York Times quotes a Hamas spokesman calling on Hamas terrorists (and others) to murder Israeli civilians. In the wrods of the Times, "Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, told reporters that Israel had started a 'war' but that it would not be able to choose how it would end. He called for revenge in the form of strikes reaching 'deep into the Zionist entity using all means,' including suicide attacks." This violates the rule of distinction, and is arguably incitement in violation of article 6 of the Genocide Convention.

This December 29 story from the New York Times describes Hamas death squads murdering Palestinians in Shifa Hospital in Gaza: "At Shifa Hospital in Gaza, the director, Dr. Hussein Ashour ... was not the only official in charge. Armed Hamas militants in civilian clothes roamed the halls. Asked their function, they said it was to provide security. But there was internal bloodletting under way. In the fourth-floor orthopedic section, a woman in her late 20s asked a militant to let her see Saleh Hajoj, her 32-year-old husband. She was turned away and left the hospital. Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Hajoj was carried out by young men pretending to transfer him to another ward. As he lay on the stretcher, he was shot in the left side of the head. Mr. Hajoj, like five others killed at the hospital this way in 24 hours, was accused of collaboration with Israel." Murders like this are generally considered crimes against humanity.

The same story also described Hamas rocket attacks on civilians in Ashkelon that killed a construction worker, wounded several others and otherwise forced civilians into shelters. These attacks violate the rule of distinction. Curiously, the New York Times story described all this in the passive voice, without identifying the persons shooting off the rockets.

Finally, the same story described another instance of illegal civilian shielding by Hamas and the tragic consequences to five Palestinian civilians: "In the Jabalya refugee camp on Sunday, an attack on a mosque where militants were hiding also struck a nearby house, killing five girls under the age of 18, health ministry officials said."
See the full updated webpage:


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