The IDF admittedly used Palestinians as human shields, a practice subsequently banned by Israel's High Court of Justice. The Israeli Defense Ministry appealed this decision.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch assert the Israel Defense Forces used Palestinian civilians as human shields during the 2002 Battle of Jenin. The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said that "for a long period of time following the outbreak of the second intifada, particularly during Operation Defensive Shield, in April 2002, the IDF systematically used Palestinian civilians as human shields, forcing them to carry out military actions which threatened their lives". The practice was outlawed by the Supreme Court of Israel in 2005 but human rights groups say the IDF continues to use it, although they say the number of instances has dropped sharply.
The Guardian has compiled three videos and testimony from civilians of alleged war crimes committed by Israeli soldiers during the Gaza war, including the use of Palestinian children as human shields, the targeting of medics and hospitals, and drone aircraft firing on civilians deliberately. Three teenage brothers from the al-Attar family have claimed that "they were taken from their home at gunpoint, made to kneel in front of tanks to deter Hamas fighters from firing at them and sent by Israeli soldiers into Palestinian houses to clear them".
An Israeli military official responded to these allegations: "The IDF operated in accordance with the rules of war and did the utmost to minimise harm to civilians uninvolved in combat. The IDF's use of weapons conforms to international law." An Israeli embassy spokesperson considers these allegations suspect because of Hamas pressure, adding: "Anyone who understands the realities of Gaza will know that these people are not free to speak the truth. Those that wish to speak out cannot for fear of beatings, torture or execution at the hands of Hamas."
However, in a report on the Gaza conflict, released July 2, 2009, Amnesty International wrote that Israel did use human shields in Gaza. Amnesty claimed to have found cases in which "Israeli troops forced Palestinians to stay in one room of their home while turning the rest of the house into a base and sniper position, effectively using the families, both adults and children, as human shields and putting them at risk. The report also criticized Hamas for human rights violations, but "found no evidence Palestinian fighters directed civilians to shield military objectives from attacks, forced them to stay in buildings used by militants, or prevented them from leaving commandeered buildings". The Israeli military responded only by calling the report "unbalanced" and saying that it ignored "blatant violations of international law perpetrated by Hamas".
On March 12, 2010, the Israel Defense Forces prosecution filed indictments against two staff sergeants of the Givati Brigade for allegedly forcing a 9-year-old Palestinian boy to open a number of bags they thought might contain explosives in January 2009. The IDF said it opened the investigation after the incident was brought to its attention by the United Nations. On October 3, 2010, a conviction in this matter was handed down by the military court against both defendants, though neither soldier was jailed