A France 24 news report showing a Hamas rocket launcher in the shadow of a United Nations building in Gaza City has become the latest bit of evidence to substantiate the terrorist group's use of populated areas to launch attacks on Israel.
Correspondent Gallagher Fenwick reports that the site is roughly 160 feet from a hotel housing foreign journalists. Fenwick and his crew had a close call at the same site last week when a rocket was fired overhead and Fenwick had to take cover. See that video here.
"This type of setup is at the heart of the debate," Fenwick said in his report Wednesday. "The Israeli army has repeatedly accused Palestinian militants of shooting from within densely populated civilian areas and that is precisely the type of setup we have right here. Rockets set up right next to buildings with a lot of residents in them."
Rockets also have been found inside U.N.-run schools in Gaza at least three times in the past month.
Just last week, John Ging, director of the U.N. Office of Humanitarian Affairs, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that Hamas had been firing its rockets in close proximity to U.N. facilities in Gaza.
"The militants, Hamas, and the other armed groups, they are firing also their weaponry, the rockets, into Israel from the vicinity of these [UN] installations and housing and so on, so the combat is being conducted very much in a residential built up area," Ging said.
The France 24 video comes just a day after a crew from India's NDTV videotaped a Hamas crew assembling a launch site outside their hotel room in the minutes leading up to Tuesday morning's ceasefire. NDTV showed rockets being launched, but waited until after its crew was out of Gaza before doing so.
Hamas defenders argue that Israel's claims that the terrorist group uses densely populated civilian areas to fire rockets could not be verified. Now there are two examples on videotape taken by international journalists that prove the Israeli claim.
The two incidents demonstrate how Hamas places these rocket-launch sites in densely populated areas for propaganda purposes – ones discussed in a purported Hamas training manual captured by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
"The destruction of civilian homes: This increases the hatred of the citizens towards the attackers [the IDF] and increases their gathering [support] around the city defenders (resistance forces [i.e. Hamas])," the manual says.
The morality of Hamas' deliberate endangering of Palestinian civilians should be at the heart of the discussion, not Israel's right to defend itself from terrorist attacks against its civilians.