Practice Relating to Rule 39. Use of Cultural Property for Military Purposes
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) provides:
On the other hand, the protection of cultural property is accompanied by an express prohibition to use such property for assisting warfare activities (stationing a sniper on a museum roof, and so on), and once such use has been made, the other side is allowed to do anything required to neutralize the danger, even at the expense of damaging the cultural property. This particular rule in the laws of war was violated by Iraq during the Gulf War, by concealing its warplanes inside the ancient ruins of Nineveh. The Americans refrained from attacking the archaeological ruins, although the laws of war permit this.
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states:
The protection of cultural property is accompanied […] by a detailed ban on using such properties to assist in hostilities (such as positioning a sniper on the roof of a museum or mosque). If the monument is put to such use, it is permissible for the other side to do everything necessary in order to neutralise the danger even at the price of damaging the cultural property. The breach of this rule of warfare was committed by Iraq during the Gulf War, when Iraq hid warplanes inside the ruins of Nineveh. The Americans refrained from attacking the archaeological ruins despite the fact that such an attack would have been permissible under the rules of warfare.
The manual further states:
[I]f an anti-aircraft battery is positioned on the roof of a school or if a sniper takes up a position on the minaret of a mosque, the protection provided for the facility by the virtue of it being civilian target is no longer valid, and the attacker is permitted to attack it.
In addition, the manual states: “Protected places (hospitals, places of worship, etc.) must remain protected as long as military action is not being deployed therefrom.”
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
According to the Report on the Practice of Israel, it is a policy of the Israel Defense Forces not to establish military bases or positions in the vicinity of cultural property”.