Militant rockets can be seen launching from crowded neighborhoods, near apartment buildings, schools and hotels. Hamas fighters have set traps for Israeli soldiers in civilian homes and stored weapons in mosques and schools. Tunnels have been dug beneath private property.Of course, this being the NYT, it must offer some justification for the terrorists.
... There is no evidence that Hamas and other militants force civilians to stay in areas that are under attack — the legal definition of a human shield under international law.Oh, great - hide behind the fine print. But to the Times' credit, it goes on to state:
... it is indisputable that Gaza militants operate in civilian areas, draw return fire to civilian structures, and on some level benefit in the diplomatic arena from the rising casualties. They also have at times encouraged residents not to flee their homes when alerted by Israel to a pending strike and, having prepared extensively for war, did not build civilian bomb shelters.That last sentence about encouraging civilians to remain despite being warned that an attack is imminent, and failing to construct shelters, goes a long way towards explaining the “lack of proportionality” in civilian-to-military casualties on the Hamas side.
On a related note, here is a link to an excellent story documenting the ongoing conflict from the viewpoint of Israeli civilians. It reminds me, on a smaller scale, of the stories one hears from South Texas ranchers who are (unwillingly) on the front lines in the struggle against drug smuggling and human trafficking across the Texas-Mexico border. Do yourself a favor and spend five minutes reading it. It will provide insight into the plight of Israel's civilian populace, and some much-needed balance on the reporting coming out of that region.