Hezbollah and Hamas militants, on the other hand, are difficult to distinguish from those “civilians” who recruit, finance, harbor and facilitate their terrorism. Nor can women and children always be counted as civilians, as some organizations do. Terrorists increasingly use women and teenagers to play important roles in their attacks. The Israeli army has given well-publicized notice to civilians to leave those areas of southern Lebanon that have been turned into war zones. Those who voluntarily remain behind have become complicit.
Irish and British readers may find this line of reasoning familiar. It was advanced by the IRA at the height of its murder campaign. According to the IRA, civilian bystanders, including women and children, who were killed when bombs blew up police officers or soldiers should have known better than to be associating with the security forces or socializing in places that they were known to frequent. These bystanders were complicit in their own deaths. It was an utterly contemptible argument then. It’s just as contemptible today.