update deskIsrael at War

Report: Hamas police granted immunity from IDF attack

Israeli forces may only target those who are also operatives of Hamas's military wing, or who pose a threat to Israeli forces.

Hamas "security" forces display their military skills during a police academy graduation ceremony in Gaza City, Feb. 27, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
Hamas "security" forces display their military skills during a police academy graduation ceremony in Gaza City, Feb. 27, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.

Israel Defense Forces troops operating in Gaza have been instructed not target members of Hamas’s police force unless they are members of the terror group’s military wing or pose a danger to Israeli forces, Channel 12 News reported on Monday.

Under the army’s interpretation of the laws of war, Israeli forces are only allowed to eliminate members of Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, according to the report.

In addition to the objective of destroying Hamas’s military capabilities, the government in Jerusalem has defined the collapse of the terrorist organization’s “civilian” rule in Gaza as one of its main war goals.

However, responding to the Channel 12 report, the military declared that it targets only “government officials who participated in Hamas terrorist activities and are legal targets for attack in accordance with international law.”

Over the course of the war, “The IDF attacked and hit militants who posed a threat to IDF forces, including operatives in the Hamas police,” the statement continued, adding that the army operates in keeping with political directives.

The Hamas-controlled Gaza police force was formed in 2007 by order of P.A. Interior Minister Said Seyam, who also served as a top leader in the terror group and was killed in an Israeli air strike in 2009.

In 2010, a spokesperson for Hamas’s government apparatus admitted to Time Magazine that “many of the Qassam operate within both the Qassam Brigades and the Internal Security. … We do not prevent any resistance fighter from joining the police or a security service.”

One Gaza civilian told the magazine at the time, “They’re all Qassam.”

Last week, Channel 12 reported that the IDF Military Advocate General’s Office had issued a directive forbidding the targeting of Palestinian “civilians” who participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas-led massacre.

The channel cited “more than five” sources in the army who claimed that intelligence information on the whereabouts of “non-affiliated” Gazans who invaded the Jewish state had not resulted in their elimination.

At least dozens of non-affiliated Palestinians joined in the Oct. 7 atrocities, abducting, murdering and burning Israeli civilians alive.

Video footage of the Oct. 7 attacks circulating on social media showed “regular” Palestinian civilians and even children accompanying the Hamas terrorists and stealing items such as television sets and bicycles from Jewish communities in southern Israel.

“The thing that broke me most was to see who came after the terrorists,” Adele Raemer, a resident of Kibbutz Nirim who spent hours hiding in a safe room during the terrorist invasion, told JNS in November.

“After the terrorists came the riffraff. Gazans of all ages, all sizes and shapes, and they came into our community and rampaged, destroyed and stole everything they could,” she said. “If they wanted something, they stole it, just out of meanness, out of hate and evil.”

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