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Are Israeli settlers of occupied Sderot combatants or human shields of IDF?

Though both Israel and Hamas are accused of war crimes during last year's Operation Cast Lead, Human Rights Watch confirms its role as US policy whip by admonishing Hamas to account for its killing of civilians, yielding the AP headline: Human rights group: Hamas targeted civilians. February 5th is the deadline imposed by the UN for both parties to respond to charges made in the Goldstone Report. Fair enough, Hamas rockets killed three residents of Sderot while the IDF killed 1,400 in Gaza. But confusion always resurfaces about Sderot, formerly the Arab town of Najd. Can settlers deliberately mobilized to occupy Sderot, be excluded as legitimate targets of their dispossessed victims? Is Israel hiding behind civilian settlers which it moves illegally to advance its hold on conquered land? 14113

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