Today, the Israeli army released images of a raid on a residential building in Gaza, where a facility for building and storing weapons was located. This is not the first time that the existence of workshops or makeshift depots used by Hamas for military purposes has been revealed. Israel has been accusing the Palestinian organization for decades of using civilians as human shields, hiding underground in refugee camps or operating near public places.
For example, the UN is aware of the activities of Hamas terrorists inside and next to its facilities in the Gaza Strip. In 2015, the United Nations published a lengthy report, signed by the then Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to shed light on some incidents that occurred within schools administered by Unrwa, the international agency for Palestinian refugees. The investigation covered 13 schools managed by the UN in the Strip, reaching the following conclusion: in two schools, the investigations confirmed the presence of weapons belonging to Palestinian armed groups, while near one of the buildings, there was a launch site from which rockets were launched that hit Israel during the 2014 escalation. The events in question date back to the summer of that year.
At the Gaza Beach Elementary School, investigators found two mortar tubes with ammunition wrapped in a blanket and kept in a locked classroom. In a press release, Unrwa also reported about 20 rockets hidden in an empty school. The investigation then established that the security personnel had received death threats and definitively decreed the occupation of the schools by an unidentified Palestinian armed faction. The same discovery was reported in another institute in Nuseirat.
In Jabalya and Ayyobiya, in two schools still under the control of Unrwa, the UN acknowledged that it had not conducted the necessary investigations. Here, on July 22, nine years ago, 300 people took refuge in the building after receiving a warning of an imminent bombing by the Israeli air force. Amidst the chaos of the displaced, witnesses immediately alerted officials of the Agency to the presence of an unidentified weapon. And in this case as well, the report ends with the recurring admission: Palestinian fighters kept their arsenal safe in spaces that should be sanctuaries for innocent people fleeing rockets and missiles.
The strategy of Hamas described by the Israeli armed forces is not a legend or a pretext that the government and generals use to justify attacks on Gaza. The terrorists blend in with the population, and quite successfully, forcing Tel Aviv to respond with violence in areas where not even a bomb should fall. There is, therefore, more than a grain of truth in Israel’s version. Hamas members do not follow the rules of war, and if they know them, they ignore them.
The goal of the Palestinian extremists is to delegitimize the self-defense of a country under attack and convey to the world the message of a tenacious resistance to a nation without scruples, intending to commit genocide against an oppressed and stateless people. But the reality is different. And the whole world should know it.