The Israeli Defense Forces and the Palestinian militant group Hamas have engaged in a spiraling cycle of violence for over a decade now, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties on both sides of the conflict. Recently, United States Senator Dan Sullivan called on Israel to protect Gaza civilians while Hamas has been making life difficult for the people in the Gaza strip through the use of human shields.
The use of human shields is a practice employed by Hamas wherein individuals and vulnerable civilians are used, often unknowingly, as a defensive and offensive cover for its operations and bases. This tactic has resulted in higher civilian casualties in the Israel-Hamas conflict; unsurprisingly, the death toll among the population in the Gaza enclave has been particularly alarming.
Senator Sullivan argues that despite all this, Israel has to protect the civilians in Gaza. He says that the safe and secure environment of Gaza civilians lies at the core of resolving the conflict and allowing Palestinians in the region to live as normal citizens. Sullivan also points out that Israel must respect the United Nations-sponsored ceasefire and the international law that has been established to protect civilians in conflict.
He believes that this respect for the law is what will ultimately bring peace and a sense of security to the region. Sullivan further encourages both sides to engage in negotiations and dialogue to implement a lasting peace. It is apparent that the presence of a ready-to-strike or militarily active Hamas in the area has led to intense Israeli response but it must not target innocent civilians.
In the ongoing attacks, hospitals, schools, and residential neighborhoods have become the ultimate casualties of war, making life hell for the already poverty-stricken population of Gaza. Therefore, Sullivan argues that it is in Israel’s mayor responsibility to protect the civilians in Gaza from the intentionally or unintentionally destructive forces even if Hamas is trying to make life difficult for them.
The Israel-Hamas conflict will only start dissipating when civilians on both sides are safe. Thus, Senator Sullivan believes in the need to urgently resolve the conflict between the two sides to ensure that civilians are not only kept out of the crossfire but can eventually lead a normal life. Regardless of whether the target is Hamas or non-action by Hamas, civilian protection should never cease to be a priority.