Interview:Travers – We found no evidence for the human shield phenomenon but, to be honest, I did expect to come across it.
HC – So who made these allegations (against Hamas) in the first place?
DT – The Israelis.
HC – But if they weren’t co-operating, how did they tell you about it?
DT – It was in the media reports. They made no formal statements. Here’s a little thing nobody has ever raised and I want you to think about this. There were functionaries in combat uniform and in civilian attire, Arab speaking, operating in Gaza. These were Israeli combat troops specially trained to operate in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in civilian attire. They worked as ‘franc-tireurs’ (literally “free shooters”) and could have been in a position to cause confusion among the population. It is for this reason that if there was evidence of Hamas intimidation of any kind, it would have been necessary for me, an investigator, to determine by identification who the perpetrators were.
The Israelis themselves have admitted it; if you go to military websites, there are reams of stuff about special Israeli combat troops trained to work in the West Bank and in Gaza infiltrating into the area and working behind the scenes before, during and after the actual ground invasion. What I’m saying to you is, if somebody tells me there is a Hamas operative doing something on some street corner I have to ask, can you identify him for me because, we don’t know.