During the summer’s Gaza war, hundreds of Hamas militants surrendered to or were otherwise captured by Israeli forces. In the course of interrogation, many of these prisoners were candid regarding the unlawful tactics of their leaders.
A statement released by the Shin Bet, or Israel Security Agency (the local equivalent of the American FBI) noted that the investigation of these prisoners confirmed that “prominent use was made of mosques and hospitals as meeting points and hideouts. Worse still was the digging of tunnels and launch sites, and the placing of arsenals, near kindergartens.”
The Shin Bet went on to list a number of the more revealing testimonies, including the names and hometowns of the more chatty prisoners, a move that is certain to get them labeled as “collaborators” back in Gaza.
Abdel Rahman Balousha from Khan Younis revealed that the Alsafa and Alabra mosques in his hometown served as meeting and assembly points for Hamas terrorists.
Muhammad Ala’a from Khan Younis and Muwaz Abu Tim from Bani Suheila said that they were recruited for Hamas military activity at mosques in their respective hometowns.
Muhammad Ramadan from Khan Younis said that his February 2014 training as an anti-tank fighter took place in a hall located beneath the Alshafi mosque. He added that the hall serves as an Izzadin Al-Kassam Brigades training and instruction facility.
Muhammad Alqadra from Khan Younis said that several local mosques served as sites to conceal war materiel such as RPGs, heavy PKC machine guns and AK–47s. He added that local schools and hospitals, including the Nasser and Halal hospitals, were also arsenals.
Afif Jerakh and Amad Jerakh from Beit Lahiya said that an attack tunnel had been dug close to a kindergarten.
Muhammad Abu Daraz from Greater Ibsan said a tunnel in which he worked was begun next to the Alfukhari clinic adjacent to the Abu Daka family home. He said that in the area in Hazara in which he was arrested there is a kindergarten, next to a clinic, to which he was to bring prisoners in the event of a successful kidnapping.
Muhammad Alqadra from Khan Younis said that it was well known that senior Hamas leaders and their armed bodyguards, usually in police uniforms, openly hide in hospitals.
Marad Amr said that before he was arrested he saw a Hamas Toyota military jeep blocking the entrance to the European hospital in Khan Younis.
The Shin Bet insisted that given this evidence, “it is clear…that Hamas knowingly and intentionally operates in and adjacent to civilian areas… Hamas deliberately operates in these locales, thus turning the civilian population into human shields on the assumption that Israel will be blamed for any injury and loss of life.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor this week submitted a lengthy letter including the above and other evidence to the Security Council, and demanded that the world body hold Hamas accountable for its crimes.
“I expect the Security Council to loudly condemn Hamas’ activities,” Prosor wrote. “Despite the fact that the Council recognizes that Hamas has committed war crimes, nothing has been done yet about them.”