Former Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) legal adviser and negotiator Diana Buttu, who currently acts as a human rights attorney, was given some hard questions by CNN's Jake Tapper in a Thursday televised interview.
Buttu spoke from Nazareth, representing the PLO which has never renounced terrorism. In the interview she was confronted with video statements by a Hamas spokesperson who this week on TV called for Gaza residents to act as human shields, staying in their homes despite IDF warnings.
While admitting she hasn't seen the video, Buttu claimed "this isn't the case," adding "the idea that Palestinians use children as human shields is racist and reprehensible."
A visibly perplexed Tapper responded "Diana it's not racist. We have video of the Hamas spokesman on television telling people to stay in their homes, that it’s an effective way to make sure, to fight off the Israelis. That’s not racist. That’s just a fact."
At that Buttu changed direction, saying she didn't "believe" people would follow such orders, and then denying that there is a "culture of martyrdom," despite it being a very well documented phenomenon.
Indeed, the IDF has exposed video and photographic evidence showing Gaza residents following Hamas orders and acting as human shields in the ongoing operation, standing on the rooftops of the homes of terrorists before imminent strikes.
When asked why Hamas is firing on Israeli population centers and if "any other Palestinians (are) trying to stop them," Buttu claimed that there have been Arab attempts to stop "all of this" but that Israel is not interested in a ceasefire.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said before the operation stated that "quiet would be met with quiet," even as Hamas refused to stop its missile escalation.
Another point brought out by Tapper in the interview is that the IDF has recorded 8,000 rockets fired from Gaza since the 2005 Disengagement plan, showing the constant attacks from the Hamas enclave.
In response, Buttu denied the the assessment, and then claimed that Israel has broken ceasefires. It should be noted that Hamas has breached each ceasefire, continuing a steady trickle of rockets; as of June, before the recent escalation, over 450 rockets had been fired at Israel since the previous ceasefire was brokered at the end of 2012.
Another tactic taken by the PLO spokeswoman was to downplay the potentially lethal projectiles as "very primitive rockets," while accusing Israel of committing a "one-side atrocity."
The operation appears set to expand in scale, as a senior IDF source told Arutz Sheva on Thursday that the usage of human shields is hampering airstrikes and making a ground invasion inevitable.