The IDF on Sunday posted an interview with Lt. Adam Landau, a combat soldier of the 188th Armored Brigade, who described the cynical manipulation of the civilian population in Gaza by Hamas and its effects on the IDF's operational ability.
Landau, in describing his experiences in the battlefield of Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, recalled a situation in which his unit was confronted with a terrorist who grabbed a child and ran to escape.
"Just because a terrorist enters into a civilian area, it does not give him immunity. On the other hand, we have to think very carefully before we act, because no one wants to injure innocent civilians," said Landau of the conundrum. "It makes it very difficult to complete your goal of eliminating a terrorist, because he is hugging a small child."
The testimony corroborates earlier statements by soldiers who like Landau fought in Gaza's Sheijaya neighborhood, and likewise described coming face to face with terrorists holding babies as they fought, as well as children sent against them with guns.
In summarizing the operation, Landau commented "there were a lot of threats to the residents, to the soldiers, to the people living near Gaza. Thanks to our activity they (the threats) no longer exist."
In fact, the threat still exists, as was tragically proven last Friday, when four-year-old Daniel Tragerman hy"d was killed by mortar fire in Kibbutz Nahal Oz. In the last five days over 570 rockets continue to pour down on Israeli civilian centers, causing several serious wounds.
Landau's appraisal that Hamas's use of human shields harms the IDF's ability to complete its goal mirrors statements by the commander of the IAF special reconnaissance Flying Camel Squadron, who recently said aborting airstrikes due to Hamas's tactics of embedding among civilians "sabotages" the operation.
There has been growing unrest against the government for not defining clearer goals in the operation to take decisive action and remove the security threat from Gaza, an unrest expressed recently by protesters, Former IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronski, ex-MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari and many others.