Israel likes to claim it has a moral and ethical army - yet it uses civilians in a public relations battle against Hamas. Israeli media contest the government's long- standing claim.

Israeli attempts to persuade the world that its army is ethical while accusing Hamas of using human shields has been branded as nothing more than a lie in one of Israel's most influential media outlets, Haaretz.

In an opinion piece titled "It's Israel's leaders who are hiding behind civilians again", the author accuses Israeli officials of often using Hamas as a shield against accusations that it's killing civilians in Gaza.

Israel's wanton killings of civilians have led some to ask whether that's "actually the goal" of Israeli attacks, warns the piece.

More damning for the Israeli public relations machine is the revelations that the author makes about how Israeli military facilities are embedded in civilian areas, a tactic that Tel Aviv has accused Hamas of deploying.

Israel's military headquarters hide "behind the civilian residents of central Tel Aviv", and the officers of the country's chief of military staff are only 450m from Ichilov Hospital, says the author.

Whereas Israel can choose where to deploy its military facilities and hardware, people in Gaza often have no such luxury.

Gaza is widely considered as one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with more than 2 million people crammed into a landmass no more than 41 kilometres in length and at its widest only 12 kilometres.

Whereas Gaza's urban planning and demographic growth is primarily a result of Palestinian refugees fleeing ethnic cleansing at the hands of Israel when it was established in 1948 - Israel has had the opportunity to think about the growth of its cities.

In the Haaretz piece, the author says that one of the country's most important hospitals, the Sheba Medical Center, "protects" the Tel Hashomer military base, which is within walking distance.

The underlying claim is that Israel has deliberately integrated its civilian buildings with military facilities. If Hamas were ever to target the military installations and fall short - Israel would likely tell the world that Hamas targets civilian infrastructure.

Israel's undeclared military nuclear facility in Dimona is hidden in the vicinity of a rural community that would almost certainly be impacted by the fallout of an attack.

A study in 2020 found if the nuclear facility were to be attacked, the radiation would spread over the city of Dimona, a community of 30,000 inhabitants, and then toward Beersheba before scattering toward Israel's heavily populated coastal plain housing approximately four million inhabitants.

The Haaretz article asks whether Israel should be held to account for placing such dangerous military facilities in civilian areas.

But perhaps most damning of all for the Haaretz author is how the Israeli state has used instrumentalised Jewish settlers to colonise Palestinian land.

"Israel's chutzpah soars to unprecedented heights when you consider the celebrated settlement enterprise, which is entirely sheltered behind civilians," says the piece adding that "It's an enterprise that derives most of its power from launching civilians – men, women and children – into war zones."

There are more than 400,000 Israeli colonisers in the occupied West Bank and a further 200,000 in East Jerusalem.

Many Israeli settlers are heavily armed and are a quasi-occupying militia which the Israeli state tells the world are civilians.

The double standard warns the Haaretz author is portrayed by Israel either as "brave pioneers making the desert and their neighbors bloom" or when it wants suits it "tranquil civilians."

"It's quick to translate every injury to its people into more and more demands for land and funding," added the author.

Source: TRT World