Israeli ‘human shield’ claim is full of holes - The National Newspaper A recent study by the International Committee for the Red Cross, the widely recognised arbiter over questions related to the laws of war and war crimes, said the use of human shields generally involves cases “where persons were actually taken to military objectives in order to shield those objectives from attack,” with the individuals often held against their will. As in previous wars, Israel has used the term “human shield” more loosely during its current operation in the Gaza Strip, which today enters its 18th day. In the deaths of at least 39 Palestinians at the UN’s Al Fakhoura school last week, it was a default position, apparently designed to blunt criticism that its forces were acting too cavalierly towards civilians in Gaza. Justifying Israel’s attack on the school, Israeli officials at first claimed that their fighters were responding to mortar fire from that location. Then the spokesman for the UN relief agency in Gaza, Christopher Gunness, said the organisation was “99.9 per cent certain” that there had been no militants or militant activity within the school compound. The agency also said that all its schools and other facilities were clearly marked and that their locations had been provided to the Israel Defense Forces.