Human Shield

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Human Shield

A military and political tactic in which civilians go to (or are placed in) a military target to dissuade an enemy attack. Human shields can protect military targets and have propaganda value if the enemy attacks anyway (which obviously could kill the civilians).
References in periodicals archive ?
The assumption of equality not only elides the reality on the ground, but is necessary for Israel to justify--through the human shielding argument--its destruction of Gaza within a liberal imagination.
A paradigmatic example of how Israel actually built its human shielding argument can be seen in "When is a House a Home?
In this way, the notion of human shielding erases existing distinctions between private and public spaces, including, as it were, homes and incorporates them within the bounds of legitimate targets by excluding their existing normative functions (Agamben, 1998).
One of the effects of the politics of human shielding is that one can no longer safely assume that the existence of masses of human bodies in civilian spaces can serve as defense against the lethal capacity of liberal hi-tech states.
Scholars of different stripes agree that the principle of proportionality--which requires belligerents to refrain from causing damage disproportionate to the military advantage to be gained--remains prevalent in cases of human shielding, but as Yoram Dinstein claims the "actual test of excessive injury to civilians must be relaxed.
Therefore it is not surprising that Israel, rather than the Palestinians, introduced the term human shielding in order to make sense of its violence in Gaza and used it incessantly.
Written in collaboration with Colonial Richard Kemp--former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan--the report argues that Hamas's human shielding and Israel's presumed deployment of its apparatus of discrimination legitimizes the extensive killing of Palestinian civilians that took place in Gaza.
Accusing the enemy of using civilians as human shields changes the status of these civilians, transforming them into quasicombatants that can be killed according to the law; but it also changes the broader moral economy of war, since accusing the enemy of human shielding is a way of charging it of immoral warfare.
The politics of human shielding lays bare a fundamental political antinomy informing liberal wars.
Human shielding seems initially to denote a practice of military protection, whereby the human body is conceived as a form of defense against potential attacks.