Lester Golden
10 min readMay 18, 2024


Watch Hamas terrorists embedded with children playing soccer in a schoolyard and how the Israeli drone targeting soldier says he can't fire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYepsX1_MKA

The children are not the targets. The war crime is committed by Hamas using them as human shields. Children recruited by Hamas to carry supplies and to report information to terrorists lose their protected status, but the war crime lies with their Hamas recruiters. Hamas admits to using children in these roles, which is a confession of war crimes. That's what the UN statute says.


Here’s how this double standards shell game works:

Double Standard #1:

Strip out the legal meaning of “proportionality” as defined by the UN Office of Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect and replace it with its colloquial and heuristic meanings: use the same degree of force as the enemy. The UN defines “excessive” force in relation to military advantage derived from the attack, not by a “proportional” casualties taken or in relation to the defenders’ use of force standard:

“iv. Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated;”

“v. Attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives;”

French elaborates on this point: Israeli soldiers don’t have to respond to an RPG with an RPG or to a rifle with a rifle.

“Proportionality does not require the Israel Defense Forces to respond with the same degree of force or take the same proportion of casualties as Hamas. In addition, as the manual states, “the proportionality standard does not require that no incidental harm results from attacks.” If you’re a soldier on patrol and someone fires at you with a rifle, you don’t have to respond with a rifle. You can use a tank round or a missile in response, unless you have reason to believe the tank round or missile will cause extraordinary collateral damage. But if you’re taking fire from a single house, proportionality prohibits you from destroying the entire block. Throughout the war on terrorism, American forces used powerful, longer-range weapons to attack individual targets. That does not violate the laws of war.”

Let’s return to the Mosul comparison since my critic plays a numbers game citing: 18 Gazan non-combatant civilian deaths per 1 Israeli non-combatant civilian deaths (or an 18:1 ratio is “proportional?

This, of course, divorces numbers from intentions and behavior. No Gazan civilians killed by the IDF were INTENTIONALLY necrophilically raped, beheaded, burned in ovens, had their eyes gouged out, taken as hostages. This is the odious ideology of moral equivalence at work by laundering intentions through distracting with numbers.

Double standard #2 requires abstractly comparing Gaza to the 2016 Mosul ISIS siege case while ignoring that Israel doesn’t have the luxury of time that the US-led coalition had. So applying the Mosul casualty numbers to Gaza without applying a time to completing the operation coefficient is just another double standard shell game applied to a Jewish state, but no other:

“There is a model for Israeli victory in Gaza, but that model also illustrates the magnitude of the challenge. In the fall of 2016, around 100,000 Iraqi security forces and their allies massed outside Mosul and faced a daunting task: to remove the Islamic State from a vast, densely populated city when that army was deeply embedded in the city and had been able to prepare elaborate defenses.

Compounding the problem were that the civilian population, unlike during other recent urban battles in Iraq, largely remained in the city and that ISIS had no desire to facilitate a civilian evacuation….Mosul, by contrast (with Falluja), was largely fought in and around the civilian population and was at the time quite possibly the largest and deadliest urban battle since the end of World War II. Iraqi soldiers — supported by American air power — assaulted a city of more than one million people. The resulting battle took nine months to complete; killed thousands of ISIS fighters, by most estimates; cost the Iraqi security forces thousands of casualties; and, despite considerable efforts to protect noncombatants, killed up to 11,000 civilians. But Iraq won, ISIS lost, and ISIS no longer controls Mosul.

How does this fight compare with a battle in the heart of Gaza? The Israel Defense Forces will be better trained and more prepared than the Iraqi security forces — with a greater capacity to protect noncombatants — but if Israeli military history informs the present situation, the Israel Defense Forces will not have the luxury of time. It will almost certainly have to execute its major combat operations in much less than the nine months it took to defeat ISIS in Mosul.”

Double standard #3: Ignore that the Israeli government practices the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants which Hamas ignores

Listen to the Hamas commander’s description of how it’s done:

Moment Hamas commander admits they use their own kids to handle EXPLOSIVES

A HAMAS commander told Israeli forces the terror group uses children to deliver explosives and spot IDF tanks. Mustafa…


When asked by the interrogator about the possibility of a child dying, Alkhair shrugged and said the terrorists use their kids “in order not to risk your own life”. He told Israeli interrogators they use children they know and trust to report back on IDF presence in the area….He also said Hamas uses children to transport explosives from one place to another. “For example,” he said, “someone wants to bring an explosive charge from one place to another.”

“The [IDF] would fire towards a grown up so instead he gives it to a small boy. “They use those plastic buckets for example that they use for vegetables to hide it. “And tell the child ‘because you are small, go and put this in a certain house, as in, in the entrance to the house and then come back”….”The boy transports it [the explosive] and returns.” The Hamas commander said “80 per cent” of the children sent out under these instructions were done so by close relatives, and claims the terror group was unaware of it until after the war began.

Next time you hear about Israel’s mass killing of innocent children, remember this testimony about Hamas’ recruiting child jihadi fighters:

He described “younger ones” as “Jihadists… with Islamic Jihad, Hamas, or another group.” He gave examples of an older male relative telling his 15-year-old cousin to go to a specific location and check for tanks.

Waving a white flag faking surrender is a war crime as defined by the Geneva Convention:

“They tell him, for example, to wave a white flag and go to a certain area and see where the [IDF] vehicles are, if there are any and how many vehicles there are. “They ask the child to describe them. “If they have artillery or if they don’t have artillery. How are they parked? Are there soldiers around the vehicles? Aren’t there soldiers around the vehicles?” Alkhair even said older

Recruiting child soldiers is also a war crime:

Hamas members bribe children with money “for ice cream” to return with specific information about tanks and other observations about the IDF. The chilling information comes just days after Israel claimed Hamas are using recordings of children screaming “save me, save me!” to lure IDF troops into death traps.

Government spokesman Avi Hyman spoke to The Sun about the particularly heinous methods used by the terror group and how Israeli troops are “struggling psychologically”. Children’s toys and belongings have allegedly been rigged with explosives to trick soldiers into entering deathly traps. Part of Hamas’ “military effort” also involves using kids as a go-between for communicating amongst commanders. When the Israeli interrogator asked about the risk to these children and whether they are “likely to die”, he replied in relation to one specific example: “That’s right, no one saved him”. “He died… he is a baby who died.”

Preventing civilians’ evacuation is Hamas’ war crime, not Israel’s:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFDszL9Assw Doha resident billionaire Ismail Haniyeh

Playing a numbers game to distract from Hamas killing civilians intentionally while abandoning the principle of distinction also kills all coherent legal analysis and discussion:

Hamas abandons the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants. Hamas itself has said civilians are its main asset:

There is a similar public ignorance problem with the concept of distinction, which “The Law of Land Warfare” defines as requiring combatants to distinguish “between combatants and military objectives on the one hand and civilians and civilian objects on the other in offense and defense.” Distinction requires soldiers to separate themselves from civilians by wearing uniforms, for example, or by fighting from marked military vehicles. It prohibits militaries from fighting from places like hospitals, schools and mosques.

Hamas disregards the principle of distinction. Its fighters take aim from civilian buildings while wearing civilian clothes and using civilian vehicles. This presents an attacking military with serious targeting problems. It is easy to identify, say, an armored personnel carrier as a military vehicle. But what if there are four Toyota Tacomas in the street and only one is full of Hamas fighters?

So who’s legally responsible for civilian casualties when one side abandons the principle of distinction? The legal answer you may not like: the side that erases the principle of distinction. When Hamas seizes aid trucks for its terrorists and then resells grain for $120/bag in street markets, it’s Hamas that should be charged with the war crime of starving civilians. When Hamas refuses talks to release hostages in exchange for a humanitarian pause, Hamas commits to being charged with what results from that because….

here’s the key point: When Hamas abandons the principle of distinction, then Hamas is responsible for the civilian damage that results. If Hamas fights from a hospital — or stores munitions in a hospital — damage to that hospital is Hamas’s responsibility. If Hamas fighters shoot at Israel Defense Forces from a home that contains a Palestinian family, then Hamas is responsible for the civilian casualties if that family is harmed in the resulting exchange of fire.

There is also the unique military legal doctrine of siege warfare. On Monday, Israel announced a “complete siege” and said that “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel” would be allowed inside the Gaza Strip. A siege is an ancient form of warfare, and the modern legal obligations of a besieging party are a matter of dispute, but again, “The Law of Land Warfare” is instructive. It explicitly declares it “lawful” to cut off “reinforcements, supplies and communications,” but it also states that the belligerents should “make reasonable, good-faith efforts to conclude local agreements for the removal of wounded, sick, infirm and aged persons, children and maternity cases from the besieged or encircled area.”

In other words, Israel has no legal obligation under the laws of war to reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing. Hamas, as the self-declared governing authority in Gaza, is responsbile for providing aid to Gazans. But Hamas has dropped this into UNRWA’s lap, as have Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt since 1948 in rejecting citizenship and integration for the Arab refugees tactically rebranded as “Palestinians” in the 1960s.

Sam Harris helps banish the odious idiocy of moral equivalence by imagining a behavioral counterfactual in which Israel would exhibit the same….

“Concrete behaviors behaviors that occur on only one side of this conflict we just consider how absurd it would be to reverse the logic of human shields in this case imagine the Israelis using their own women and children as human shields against Hamas recognize how Unthinkable this would be not just for the Israelis to treat their own civilians in this way but for them to expect that their enemies could be deterred by such a tactic given who their enemies actually are again it’s easy to lose sight of the moral distance here which is strange it’s like losing sight of the Grand Canyon when you are standing right on its edge take a moment to actually do the cognitive work imagine the the Jews of Israel using their own women and children as human shields and then imagine how Hamas or Hezbollah or Al Qaeda or Isis or any other jihadist group would respond the image you should now have in your mind is a masterpiece of moral surrealism…”

A hospital with a terrorist tunnel under it loses its protected status.

An UNRWA school storing weapons is an armory--no longer undefended.

A Hamas terrorist with an RPG in an apt block causes that apt block to be no longer "undefended" under the UN statute. That's the law of armed conflict.

If Israel is guilty of war crimes with a civilian to combatant death ratio of 3:2 then the Iraqi army in Mosul was guilty of the same only more so with its civilian to combatant death ratio of 3:1. Protest that. Oh, but I forgot. When it's not Jews doing the killing in self-defense then nobody protests or cares (Yemen, Syria, Kurdistan, Libya, Chechnya, the Syrian army killing Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria).

💥 BOMBSHELL REPORT - UN Cuts Gaza Casualty Numbers in Half:

A new report by The Washington Free Beacon reveals how the United Nations has been relying on inflated casualty figures provided by Hamas officials in Gaza.

On May 8, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs dramatically reduced its reported Gaza casualty figures, slashing child fatalities from 14,500 to 7,796 and the number of women killed from 9,500 to 4,959. The UN gave no source for its lower casualty figures in its May 8 update, but the data precisely matched those in a May 2 report from the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

These revised figures have been met with skepticism from experts and think tanks. An analysis by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) noted that in early April, the Hamas-run Ministry of Health had acknowledged having “incomplete data” to support more than 10,000 of the deaths it had previously claimed, according to the report.

Similarly, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s late March report concluded that the Health Ministry’s data was entirely unreliable, citing the repeated claim that 72% of casualties were women and children – a figure that would require an implausible 90% of media-reported deaths to be accurate. According to their analysis, 58% of Gazans killed since the start of the war were women and children, with the figure dropping to 48% for those killed since November 3.

Hamas’ inflated casualty figures have had significant political consequences, with the Biden administration using them to justify pausing weapon shipments to the Jewish state.

And you somehow think your legal expertise surpasses barrister Natasha Haussdorff:




Lester Golden

From Latvia & Porto I write to share learning from an academic&business life in 8 languages in 5 countries & seeing fascism die in Portugal&Spain in1974 & 1976.