Via CNN.com today comes this truly astounding article that purports to leave the question of whether Hamas is using human shields in Gaza up in the air. The opening four paragraphs here set the stage for the accusation that Israel is using the "human shield" argument as a PR ploy of questionable factual validity:
Tuesday's discovery of rockets hidden in a vacant U.N. facility is the sort of evidence that Israel cites when it accuses Hamas of using civilians and their institutions as shields in the ongoing Gaza conflict.
The rockets were found in a vacant school between two other U.N. schools being used as shelters for 3,000 displaced Palestinians, the United Nations said. It was the second such discovery at a vacant U.N. school in Gaza in a week.
As suggestive as those discoveries are, Israel's claims that Hamas uses civilians as human shields are difficult to prove in an active ground conflict, experts say.
"It would be impossible at this point to say how much truth there is to the human shield argument," said Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "That's not going to be possible to do in the heat of the conflict."
Get it? CNN first lays out indisputable facts that show that Hamas is, in fact, using human shields - to wit the fact that they have repeatedly hidden rockets in civilian structures, then complained to the gullible morons in the international press when the Israelis bombed those structures.
To counter these indisputable facts, CNN trots out an alleged expert who makes the claim that it's really impossible to say either way. Literally no basis is offered for the assertion that the evidence CNN just laid out in the previous paragraphs is insufficient to show what Israel claims is true.
In other words, the dichotomy is this: "Here are some unambiguous facts. On the other hand, here is an expert that you know nothing about who says that the facts are wrong. In conclusion, the facts are clearly all up in the air." Lest I be thought to exaggerate, CNN's continuation of this line of thought actually accuses Israel of playing fast and loose with the facts because they reject this completely unfounded (and even unsupported conclusion):
Possible or not, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advanced the accusations earlier this week when asked to comment about the brutal conflict, whose death toll has clearly hit Palestinians harder.
In fact, CNN has completely soft sold the massive stockpile of irrefutable evidence that Hamas is actively using the civilian population of Gaza as human shields. There is, for example, the open and public call by Hamas urging civilians to stay in their homes in Gaza when the IDF warned them to evacuate to safe areas. Absolutely no one argues that this did not occur. There is also the fact that Hamas's entire strategy for winning the war, even as openly stated, is to drive up civilian casualties in an effort to bring Western pressure to bear on Israel to extract more concessions. Hamas knows good and well that they cannot defeat Israel militarily; yet rather than accept a cease-fire (which has been offered to them repeatedly), they are continuing to press a futile offensive in the hopes that they can place civilians in the line of Israeli fire in order to get the international community to turn on Israel.
CNN and most of the rest of the Western media are clearly willing to play the useful idiot for Hamas in this effort.