Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Hamas cynically flouting Geneva Convention

LIKE Mustahfiz Gani (Write Back, August 6), I am "ashamed at our Prime Minister's eerie silence" on the deaths of civilians in Gaza.

However, I must disagree with him that "If the international community took Israel to task for broken UN resolutions, the Palestinian people would not have to resort to firing rockets" (as if targeting Israeli civilians is not a war crime).

May I draw his attention to the provisions of the Geneva Convention, which make the placing of military forces in civilian areas a war crime?

Furthermore, the incidental killing, or injuring, of civilians is not a war crime – provided they have been given warning to leave areas used for military purposes, as the Israeli army does. That Hamas tries to prevent such evacuation is in itself a war crime on its part.

Mustahfiz Gani may not be aware that Hamas uses schools, hospitals, mosques and apartment blocks for storing munitions, digging attack tunnels and rocket launching with the deliberate intention that, in any conflict, there will be civilian casualties, as proved by its policy document captured by the Israelis this week.

Furthermore, its command centre is located in the basement of the main hospital in Gaza.

These war crimes are the primary reason for the civilian death toll and David Cameron should have condemned this cynical policy pursued by Hamas for propaganda purposes.

MARTIN D STERN

Salford, Greater Manchester

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