The Take-a-Pen activist movement has launched a petition demanding that the United Nations place Hamas on trial for war crimes. The move, which already has gained more than 40,000 signatures, counters recent calls from Arab and Western countries that Israel be charged with war crimes in the Cast Lead campaign against terror in Gaza.
The petition charges Hamas with "shooting rockets and grenades purposely on civilian targets in Israel [and] from within Palestinian civilian compounds, such as schools or in close proximity of hospitals or residential buildings."
Among other charges are "storing weapons and ammunition in schools, mosques, public offices and buildings and... regularly using their own civilians as human shields, particularly children, often forced to be in the most dangerous spots."
The appeal also reminds U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Hamas has not respected international law by refusing to provide information or allow the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to have contact with kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
It warns that failing to prosecute Hamas will "lead to their war crimes growing to become normative behavior, and to more of the same humanitarian catastrophes, to millions of victims of oppression and killings undefended by the U.N."
Take-A-Pen, founded by Endre Mozes, describes itself as a "group of European and Israeli citizens concerned with the increasingly anti-Israel dominated media." It adds, "We are not part of any religious or political organization," and that its goal is "to educate at all levels, balance the media, improve public relations for Israel and perfect our Christian-Jewish alliance."
The group claims success in forcing several media outlets to apologize for slanderous articles and in deterring several anti-Israel movements.
The petition states, "In the recent years and in the present ongoing military conflict, the Hamas terrorist organization ruling in Gaza has committed a large number of diverse war crimes, as defined by International Law….
"The Hamas regime has fired 6,300 rockets targeting Israeli civilians. In Gaza, the Hamas stored rockets and other weaponry and ammunition primarily in residential areas; in houses, mosques, and schools. Thousands of rocket and mortar grenade attacks were launched from within these areas, obliging Israeli military response which inevitably led to great suffering of the population and damage to property.
"According to International Law any source of fire on civilian targets is a legitimate target itself…. In this case, Hamas is fully responsible both for the deliberately targeted Israeli civilian casualties and for the civilian casualties of its own population used by Hamas as a human shield."