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Stelter on Hamas Using Journalists as Human Shields: ‘Incredible if True’

stelter-on-hamas-using-journalists-as-human-shields:-‘incredible-if-true’

During a Wednesday segment on CNN Newsroom on the latest developments surrounding the recently bombed building in Gaza that housed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, Brian Stelter declared that it would be “incredible if true” if Hamas did indeed attempt to use journalists as human shields.

Host Jim Sciutto apparently thought that Stelter was the man to go to for analysis of military operations, “Brian, in effect, it becomes a rules of engagement kind of issue, right? They literally blew up the entire building and collapsed it and I’ve been in these buildings in Gaza before. You have multiple news outlets often there. The question is, was there an alternative, right? If it’s an electronic issue, could you have targeted that office, that line rather than blowing up the whole building?”

After both noted that Israel gave time for journalists to evacuate, Stelter, at least initially, was the voice of reason for once as he played a clip of his Sunday interview with The Dispatch’s David French, who served as an Army lawyer during the Iraq War. French explained that once an army begins using buildings for military purposes, they cease to be a civilian facilities and therefore become legitimate military targets.

However, Stelter then reverted to his usual ways, claiming it be incredible if a terrorist organization used civilians as human shields, “That, once again, underscores the asymmetric nature of this conflict happening in urban areas, happening with Israel, this incredible technological and military might versus Hamas and the allegation is Hamas was using these journalists as human shields. Incredible if true and Israel is saying, here’s the evidence, we say it is true and it was happening.”

It would not be incredible, it would actually be very predictable. Former AP reporters have written in non-conservative publications that Hamas would fire rockets directly outside their office and that the AP would not report on it.

Sciutto, for his part, still wasn’t convinced of French’s logic, “It still raises other questions, though because even if it’s a military target, the U.S. military deals with this all the time, for instance, with drone strikes. You assess — at least U.S. military,, right? The potential human collateral damage of it, right? That factors into the decisions which have been adjusted over time in U.S. strikes and military and terror targets.” 

Of course, Sciutto did not mention the difference between individual terrorists and a group of terrorists who run what is essentially a pseudostate in Gaza. Nor did he acknowledge that if Israel didn’t take out the building, it just would have further incentivized Hamas to use more journalists as human shields. 

This segment was sponsored by Lincoln.

Here is a transcript for the May 19 show:

CNN

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto

9:52 AM ET

JIM SCIUTTO: Brian, in effect, it becomes a rules of engagement kind of issue, right? They literally blew up the entire building and collapsed it and I’ve been in these buildings in Gaza before. You have multiple news outlets often there. The question is, was there an alternative right? If it’s an electronic issue, could you have targeted that office, that line rather than blowing up the whole building. I do know that they gave a warning to journalists which is why we have that video so I they could get out prior to the attack. 

BRIAN STELTER: Right, which is why no one was killed, thankfully, but its still incredibly shocking to see a building housing journalists targeted by an airstrike and it is very unusual, that is why media groups have been calling for more information and this step by Israel to say some of the details about the intelligence is a step in the right direction. It does, as you said, Jim, come down to the rules of war, the law of war. In the aftermath of the attack, I spoke with David French, a former U.S. Army lawyer who did these same targeting decisions in Iraq during the U.S. Invasion in Iraq. Here is what he had to say about the laws of war in this case.

BEGIN CLIP 

DAVID FRENCH: I served as an Army lawyer and applied the laws of wars in these contexts. The laws actually that apply are pretty simple. The facts are complicated. The simple truth is that you do, in fact, convert a civilian target to a military target if a military force uses that civilian target or that civilian facility and that includes any kind of civilian facility. That includes a mosque, that includes a hospital, that includes a school. There are no targets off limits once an army decides to use it. 

END CLIP

STELTER: That, once again, underscores the asymmetric nature of this conflict happening in urban areas, happening with Israel, this incredible technological and military might versus Hamas and the allegation is Hamas was using these journalists as human shields. Incredible if true and Israel is saying, here’s the evidence, we say it is true and it was happening. 

SCIUTTO: It still raises other questions, though because even if it’s a military target, the U.S. military deals with this all the time, for instance, with drone strikes. You assess — at least U.S. military,, right? The potential human collateral damage of it, right? That factors into the decisions which have been adjusted over time in U.S. strikes and military and terror targets

What do you think?

Written by Newsman

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