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Qassam Rocket [Getty Images]

Following up on an earlier post, some people have asked: is it true that Hamas declares that their intended targets are Israeli soldiers and/or military targets before launching rockets or mortars into Israel, or crossing into Israel through “terror” tunnels? Aren’t all of their attacks intentionally indiscriminate and aim to target civilian population centers?

I cannot claim that every rocket or mortar launch into Israel is preceded by an explicit declaration of a military target simply because finding documented evidence of every instance is impossible, but I can claim that there are multiple instances where they have explicitly declared so, and instances where their rockets or mortars into Israel or cross-border crossings through tunnels specifically killed only soldiers (hard to chalk that up to pure luck; as such, good evidence that the intended target was indeed military in nature). Below, I’ve compiled several examples of such cases.

Also, I can refer to statements by Hamas and the Commander in Chief of the military wing of Hamas (the Qassam brigade) where he explicitly declares that Hamas does not seek to target civilians when engaging in rocket or mortar launches, or crossing into Israel through tunnels, but on the contrary, that their intended targets are military in nature (again, see below).

Finally, I want to also emphasize that the purpose of the post is expository in nature, and that I do not support certain means of resistance that Hamas has (historically) engaged in or their ideology. I do, however, support the right of any oppressed people to engage in (legitimate) armed struggle (i.e. hitting non-civilian targets), which is a right that is broadly acknowledged. In addition, I also support honesty in reporting. Too often, in major Western media and even in reports by respected Human Rights organizations, these things are simply not reported, and the blanket statement that “Hamas indiscriminately launches rockets at civilian population centers” or that “terror tunnels aim to kill civilians” are simply accepted as fact. Judge for yourself.

July 10

  • “Hamas claimed responsibility for the rocket fire on Jerusalem, saying the rockets were aiming for the Knesset.”
  • “Hamas also took responsibility for those attacks, and said it fired its long-range rockets for the first time since fighting began, in an attempt to hit an army base

July 17

  • “Like most other journalists, Jones is ignoring the fact that in their statements, Hamas and other resistance factions regularly declare military targets. As the brilliant Nazareth-based journalist Jonathan Cook often points out, tight Israeli military restrictions on reporting the landing locations of Resistance rockets makes this all hard to verify.”

July 22

  • “كتائب القسام تعلن قصف قاعدة التنصت الإسرائيلية 8200 ب3 صواريخ غراد

Translation: “Qassam battalions declare the rocketing of the 8200 eavesdropping base with 3 Grad missiles”. Note that unit 8200 is the Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) unit of the Israeli Intelligence Corps

July 28

  • “Four Israeli soldiers were killed when a mortar shell fired from Gaza struck southern Israel on Monday, the army said” […] “The Zionist enemy acknowledges that four of its soldiers were killed and 10 wounded in a Qassam shelling in Eshkol,” said a statement from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.”
  • “The four soldiers killed by the mortar belonged to the 7th Armored Brigade. They had been in a staging area in the Eshkol region when they were killed. The mortar attack represented the deadliest incident of cross-border shelling from Gaza since the beginning of the IDF’s operation to suppress Hamas rocket fire and tunnel attacks on southern regions.”

July 29 (this one is related to the “terror” tunnels)

  • “The Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV broadcasted Tuesday night a video allegedly showing militants of its Al-Qassam brigades attacking an Israeli military base, killing 10 soldiers and attempting to capture one. The video allegedly shows combatants belonging to Hamas’s military wing equipped with machine guns and portable rocket launchers going out of a tunnel and appearing next to what was reported as “an armored enormous military tower,” belonging to the Nahol Aouzunit of the Israeli army.”
  • “Hamas operatives aim primarily to abduct soldiers and not to penetrate into civilian communities along the border with Gaza, a senior intelligence source said Monday” […] The intelligence source, however, said that of the nine cross-border tunnels detected, none actually stretches into the grounds of a civilian community. “They could have gone 500 meters more, into the kibbutz,” he said. “Why didn’t they do that?

July 29 (Statement by Muhammad Al-Dayf)

  • This is the statement of Muhammad Al-Dayf, Commander in Chief of the Qassam Brigades (Hamas’ armed wing) The relevant statement starts at 2:14 in the above youtube video, where he explicitly declares that Hamas targets Israeli soldiers only, and that they do not seek to cause harm to civilians.
  • “The general commander of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian movement Hamas, said that Gaza fighters are only targeting Israeli soldiers and have not sought to hurt civilians […] Thirdly, he stressed that Hamas is targeting Israeli soldiers only, and is not seeking to cause harm to civilians. This is, he adds, despite Israel’s “deliberate” killing of Palestinian civilians”.

August 4

  • We Don’t Target Israeli Civilians’, Claims Hamas

“At the same time, the statement claimed, Hamas is not trying to harm Israelis with its rocket attacks, only military personnel and installations […] During the campaign we tried as much as possible to focus on targeting military personnel, soldiers and officers of the enemy, its military bases and airports, and avoided as much as possible targeting someone who is not a military person,” Hamas claimed”