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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Report: Vast majority of Hamas "police" terrorists

From YNet (h/t t34zakat):
An independent research company revealed Sunday that 90% of the Palestinian "security personnel" killed in Gaza during the IDF offensive there in January were members of terror organizations.

The IDF says 709 gunmen were killed in the fighting, of which Hamas has claimed 343 were innocent police officers.

But the independent Israeli 'Orient Research Group', hired by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to investigate the identities of those killed, has released a report challenging Hamas' claim.

The report says 286 of the 343 "police officers" killed were members of terror organizations, the vast majority of them belonging to Hamas' military wings.

It also states that the official list of names provided by Hamas includes one traffic officer, who was a member of the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and 27 members of various forces trained to battle Israel.

"The statement that Israel attacked innocent policemen was apparently rushed and made without an investigation by the organizations into the identities of the slain policemen," the report says, adding that the organizations did not wait until the publication of the IDF's report on the matter, "which relies on intelligence regarding the targets that were struck".

The report also refers to the claim that the first Air Force strike of the Gaza offensive hit a ceremony attended by members of a Hamas traffic police training course.

It says almost 88% of those present were terror operatives, many of them belonging to the al-Qassam Brigades. Altogether they numbered 78 of the 89 Hamas reported dead.

The report also goes into detail regarding the names published in Hamas' report. For example Mohammad al-Dasuki, said to have served as a "naval police officer", was also a member of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and was suspected to have been involved in a terror attack against American security guards in Gaza in October 2003.

Another victim mentioned, Khamza al-Khaledi, who was listed as a "captain of police", was also active in an al-Qaeda affiliated terror organization.

"The claims against the IDF, by which it had killed 'traffic officers' and 'innocent' officers fulfilling civilian roles, are incorrect," the report says. "The vast majority of the Palestinian 'officers' were active in the military wings of Palestinian terror organizations and warriors who underwent military training."

It adds, "The enlistment of al-Qassam Brigades operatives to official security positions allows the Hamas government to pay their wages with the government budget, thus increasing Hamas' manpower and permitting the investment of private funds in other needs such as weaponry."
I can't find this group online, and would love to see the detailed report. It does dovetail with our own research, where we had already identified some 62% of Hamas policemen as being members of terror groups.

An email correspondent has sent me the legal justification for the IDF targeting the Hamas policemen, from Yoram Dinstein's "The Conduct of Hostilities under the Law of International Armed Conflict," where he writes:
Can police officers and other law enforcement agents be subsumed under the heading of armed forces (who are legitimately subject to attack)? The answer to the question depends on whether the policemen have officially incorporated into the armed forces or (despite the absence of official incorporation) have taken part in hostilities. If integrated into the armed forces, policemen - like all combatants - 'may be attacked at any time simply because they have that particular status'.
My correspondent asked Dinstein in an email
1) In the case of Hamas police would it be enough to constitute that all police could be targeted? and 2) where is the line of 'taking part in hostilities'?"
to which Dinstein replied
1. In a non-State entity the difference between police and other armed groups is hardly perceptible. This is true not only of Hamas. In the Palestinian Authority, the "police" is the army.

2. In any event, direct participation in hostilities (the alternative) includes also training prior to combat engagement.
- (email Dated: 27/01/2009)
And we have definitely seen pictures like these from Hamas "security forces":Members of the Hamas-led Government Executive security force participate in war games as some 1200 new members participate in a graduation ceremony on March 25, 2007 in Rafah, Gaza Strip. The executive Force was created by the Hamas-led Government to support the police with Gaza Strip security.

So are these people practicing "war games" considered civilians because they are supporting the police? Is there a reason why the "police" wear camouflage?

The legal basis for attacking the Hamas "police" seems to get clearer and clearer.