Jews, Arabs, and Human Shields

                                                                                                  by Gerald A. Honigman



     Reading The Daytona Beach News-Journal on April 12th while getting ready for work, I was unfortunately not shocked at seeing an extensive AP article titled, in large bold print, “Israel’s human shield practice draws fire.”

     This is the same newspaper which, despite continuous deliberate targeting of Israeli civilian buses, restaurants, pizza parlors, teen nightclubs, pregnant women, shopping malls, Passover Seders, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and so forth never once mentioned the word “barbarism” until one of its editorialists, Pierre Tristam, wrote his extensive op-ed, “Barbarism Under Israel’s Boot.” After all, how dare those Jews have checkpoints and such to try to deal with the above!

     The News-Jazeera, as it is locally known to not a few of us, unfortunately has lots of company among the world media and other practitioners of the moral double standard when it comes to the conflict between Jews and Arabs.

     The April 12th article focused on Israeli troops entering a town in Judea or Samaria (the “West Bank”), and awakening a “terror-stricken” Arab civilian to lead them on their hunt for Arab “militants.”

     Please notice the selective use of words here.

     The Arab was “terrorized” by Jews, but those who deliberately murder, disembowel, and target Jews whom the Israeli soldiers are hunting down--hiding amid their own non-combatant population-- are “militants.”

     No accident here…


     While I regret any civilian being put in harm’s way, where has the outrage been at what Arabs typically have been doing for years?

     After deliberately blowing Jewish teens up out for a night’s fun in Israel proper--not disputed territories--such “militants” have typically run back to their rat holes in Arab towns…in the same apartment complexes as their non-combatant neighbors. And when suicide/homicide bombers were involved, their handlers were at home there as well.

     After deliberately disemboweling Jewish families at pizzerias, shopping malls, and so forth, those “militants” did likewise. Arabs would set up a museum honoring such heroism not long afterwards, complete with model body parts of Jews.

     Sick…and do you recall extensive articles about this in the mainstream media? Perhaps my memory fails me.

     America, itself, has become all too familiar with such Arab practices in Iraq.

     So, given all of this, a bit more detail and perspective are called for…especially since the April 12th article had the audacity to quote the Geneva Conventions prohibiting placing civilians in harm’s way.

     Arabs have typically set up shop on/in their own school grounds, mosques, hospitals, apartment buildings, and so forth. Pictures of Arab antiaircraft guns placed on top of apartment buildings, in alleys between buildings, and the launching of rockets and such from such sites are indisputable…as are tons of other evidence.

     Indeed, Arab “militants” have made a practice of deliberately setting up offices and holding meetings in the middle floors of civilian apartment buildings, counting on the moral qualms of the Jews to protect them.

     Again, think of the irony of the “villain” of the April 12th article.

     After the Jews went after Hamas’ Sheikh Yassin the first time (despite his physical disabilities, he got to visit his 72 virgins on the second attempt), they only wounded him and other top Hamas commanders because they made the decision to use minimal explosives to avoid killing Arab noncombatants.

     Since the News-Journal and the Associated Press are such fans of the Geneva Conventions, lets see what they really have to say about all of this.

     The Geneva Conventions make perfectly clear that “militants” are not permitted to use their own non-combatants as human shields; that those non-combatants do not prevent an army from pursuing combatants; and that any harm occurring to the civilian population as a consequence falls on the heads of those using their own people this way.

     Here are some excerpts from the Preamble and the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977...

     The High Contracting Parties,

…Believing it necessary nevertheless to reaffirm and develop the provisions protecting the victims of armed conflicts and to supplement measures intended to reinforce their application…

Art 37. Prohibition of Perfidy

1. It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. Acts inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe that he is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, with intent to betray that confidence, shall constitute perfidy. The following acts are examples of perfidy:

(a) the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or of a surrender;
(b) the feigning of an incapacitation by wounds or sickness;
(c) the feigning of civilian, non-combatant status; and
(d) the feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.

2. Ruses of war are not prohibited. Such ruses are acts which are intended to mislead an adversary or to induce him to act recklessly but which infringe no rule of international law applicable in armed conflict and which are not perfidious because they do not invite the confidence of an adversary with respect to protection under that law. The following are examples of such ruses: the use of camouflage, decoys, mock operations and misinformation.

     This knowledge has been available for all to see and literally at our fingertips in the computer age for a long time now. So why the deafening silence from Israel’s detractors?

     Where have the articles been in the News-Jazeera and elsewhere? Where are The Associated Press reports?

     Where have the academics--so great at putting Israel under the high power lens of moral scrutiny--been on all of this? And our own State Department, frequently claiming an alleged moral equivalence between those murdered and those attempting to stop the murder?

     While I don't advocate blowing up Arab buses, restaurants, schools, and such the way Arabs deliberately do, any building, town, or whatever harboring murderers and their collaborators must be recognized for what the Geneva Conventions say it is: A fair military target.

     Article #51/7:

The presence of the civilian population shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attack...

     Article #58b:

The parties to the conflict shall...avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas.

     The rats' dens are typically set up in or adjacent to civilian apartment buildings, hospitals, schools, etc., as America has learned for itself in Iraq.

     Article #51/2:

The civilian population...shall not be the object of attack. Acts of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited...Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited.

     Arabs typically target Israeli civilians.

     It is obvious by now--especially after the recent Mecca Accord and the resurrection of the Saudi Peace (of the grave) Plan--that Arabs don’t just want to create their 22nd state--and second, not first, Arab one in “Palestine,” but wish (as many of us have always known) to destroy the sole, miniscule, resurrected one that millennially persecuted and victimized Jews have finally lived to see reborn.

     Shame on the media and others who, in this month commemorating the Holocaust and Jewish suffering in the Muslim East as well as the Christian West, hold Israel up to such hypocritical double standards.

Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Middle Eastern Affairs. He has created and conducted counter-propaganda programs for college youth, has lectured on numerous university campuses and other platforms, and has publicly debated many anti-Israel spokesmen. His articles and op-eds have been published in hundreds of newspapers, magazines, academic journals and websites around the world. His official website is:

Our special thanks to the author for submitting this article. A. G. S.