Saturday, February 7, 2009

UN to probe Hamas for use of children as human shields

Interesting news story in the Jerusalem Post:
The United Nations is ready to address Hamas's use of children as human shields during last month's IDF offensive in Gaza, the UN special representative for children and armed conflict told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

"We have not yet dealt directly with the human shield issue, but we will now mention it in our reports," Radhika Coomaraswamy said in an exclusive interview following a four-day visit to the region.

"It is still very difficult for us to say that it was actually happening and we still need to conduct a full investigation into what exactly took place... but we are not denying that it happened; it is absolutely possible that Hamas was using its civilians as human shields," she said.

Towards the end of the story, Coomaraswamy talks about the children of Gaza and the children from Ashkelon, in the part of Israel most affected by Hamas rocket fire.
The situation in Gaza is still "very raw because it's only been two weeks," she said, adding that many of the children she met there on Tuesday were "obviously very angry at Israel, but they have been guided that way by their parents and others."
"My sense in Gaza is that after this conflict there seems to be greater identification with Hamas," she said.

However, she stressed, "my observations are based on only a one-day trip
to the area, and many times children surprise us."

Compare that with this regarding Ashkelon:
"The scale [of trauma and destruction] is nothing like in Gaza, but that does not take away from the fact that a lot of the children we met there expressed to me a great deal of fear," she said. "We met a lot of children who were so traumatized that they did not even want to go to school."

However, "While their speeches were quite tough at first, when I asked them if they were interested in meeting Palestinian children, the response was unbelievable. They said, 'Yes, of course we want to meet with them and play with them or hear their stories.' It was a response from the heart," Coomaraswamy said.

This reveals another way Hamas uses children, teaching them to hate. We can see it in the contrast between the children of Gaza and the children of Israel.

Hat Tip Little Green Footballs

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