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July 10th, 2014
05:19 PM ET

Former Palestinian adviser denies reports of human shields

(CNN) – A new wave of Israeli airstrikes battered areas of Gaza early Thursday, continuing the deadly onslaught aimed at stopping militant rocket fire into Israel.

But there was no sign that Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza were backing down as rockets continued to streak over the border into southern Israel. No Israelis have been killed so far in the rocket attacks.

"There have been attempts to stop all of this, but the fact of the matter is, is that the Israelis have indicated they are not interested in brokering a cease fire," said human rights attorney Diana Buttu, former legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Israel says Hamas has launched rockets every month for the past year, saying that since it pulled out of Gaza in 2005, about 8,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel.

"There have been ceasefires that have been brokered in the past, and each ceasefire that's been broken has been broken by Israel, it hasn't been broken by Hamas," Buttu said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

The rockets fired by Hamas are "very primitive" compared to the "F-16s and F-18s the Israelis are using against the Palestinians," she added.

"This is not an equal war, this is a one-side atrocity. And this is why I think it's very important for us to be putting civilians in the center of this, and try to make sure civilians are protected," said Buttu. "(We need to) have an international protection force that is brought in to ensure that civilians are not being targeted, and not being hurt."

Israeli government officials say they are trying to avoid civilian casualties. But there are reports of the spokesman for Hamas urging people to serve as human shields for the homes of Hamas leaders targeted by Israel Defense Forces, and the Hamas-run Palestinian Interior Ministry urging residents of Gaza to stay in their homes even if the IDF warns them to leave.

Butto has not seen the video, but says such calls would be "reprehensible, I think that the bigger picture is that this isn't the case. What we have seen over the course of the past couple of days, more than 80 Palestinians killed, the population of the Gaza strip – 43% of it is under the age of 14, and we've seen that half of the people who have been killed are women and children."

"The idea that Palestinians use their children as human shields is racist and reprehensible," said Buttu.

"I do not believe ... that people are going to listen to somebody who says stay inside while you're house is bombed," she said.

"This constant refrain of a culture of martyrdom is very offensive, Palestinians just want to live their lives as normal human beings," said Buttu.

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