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Israeli high court bars military use of Palestinians as 'human shields'

[JURIST] The Israeli Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday ruled that Israeli defense forces' use Palestinian civilians as human shields [JURIST report] during arrest raids violated international law. Human rights groups had petitioned to halt the practice after a temporary injunction was previously issued in August 2002. The court held that the use of civilians for such a purpose amounted to a "slide toward a severe violation of international law." The issue became a concern during Israeli raids on the West Bank in 2002, in which civilians were made to lead soldiers into homes of suspects and were wounded and killed by crossfire on several occasions. In response to the earlier injunction, Israeli military forces changed procedures to allow use of Palestinian civilians only if they agreed to cooperate and their lives would not be endangered. The Israeli high court held, however, that cooperation would rarely be voluntary. Haaretz has local coverage of the decision. AP has more.

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