Israel is pleading with more than one million Palestinian civilians to flee Gaza City. The vile terrorists in control of that doomed metropolis are telling innocent people to stay put.

Hamas has used the Palestinian people as pawns for decades. It’s no surprise they’re now using them as human shields.

On Thursday, the Israeli Defense Forces, massing 360,000 troops on the border of Gaza in preparation for the grim task of rooting out and dismantling Hamas, dropped fliers from planes instructing non-combatants to get out.

‘Civilians of Gaza City, evacuate south for your own safety and the safety of your families and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields,’ the IDF said.

Hamas responded: ‘Our Palestinian people reject the threat made by the leaders of the occupation and its call for Gazans to leave their houses and leave to the south or to Egypt.’

Like clockwork, the United Nations and America’s left-wing, anti-Israel media took up the Hamas narrative.

The U.N. called for the IDF evacuation request to be ‘rescinded’ and warned that a mass evacuation could be ‘calamitous.’ The Washington Post desperately described the Gaza Strip as a ‘kill box.’ The ridiculous phrase was later edited out of the article, but this twisted narrative cannot be ignored.

Bordering the Mediterranean Sea on its west and Israel on its north and east, the Gaza Strip is 140-square miles. Gaza City is the most populous area in the region, but there are large cities in the south near its border with Egypt.

Israel sees no military utility in indiscriminate bombing. They want to evacuate as many civilians as possible from the immediate warzone.

Hamas’ information warfare strategy requires them to remain.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken alluded to this on Friday. ‘Efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza are complicated by the fact that Hamas continues to use innocent civilians as human shields and is reportedly blocking roads to prevent Palestinians from moving to southern Gaza out of harm’s way.’

Indeed, Hamas thrives on tragedy. And one can see where this is all headed as the U.N. and a complicit press attempt to gradually erode global support for Israel’s offensive and force them to stop short of eliminating the terrorist threat in Gaza once and for all.

But in all of this, it must be understood that the ultimate blame for the despair of the Palestinian people falls not on Israel, but on Hamas and its Islamist benefactors in Tehran.

For it’s them who for decades have valued their own political purposes over the lives of innocents.

In 2005, Israel withdrew all of its citizens – some voluntarily and some by force – from Gaza City and turned over governance to the Palestinians.

A Palestinian unity government soon collapsed after Hamas waged a bloody civil war against the opposition party Fatah. The struggle concluded with Hamas agents throwing rival politicians to their deaths from high-rise buildings.

Since then, local Palestinian elections have been held just three times – though only in the Fatah-ruled West Bank – while Hamas has rededicated itself to the destruction of Israel and always at the cost of its own people.

Under the scourge of indiscriminate rocket strikes, Israel and Egypt agreed in 2007 to prevent arms, ammunition, and other goods that could be turned into weapons from entering Gaza.

In response, Hamas turned their land into an arms factory. Whatever they couldn’t smuggle in from Iran, they made themselves.

Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades posted videos online of militants digging up water pipes to cut them down and convert them into rockets.

Is it any wonder that today only 10 percent of Gazans have access to clean drinking water?

Hamas rockets rain down on Israeli cities like Ashkelon — whose power plant provides Gaza with electricity for free because Hamas has prioritized war over civilian improvements. The lights are typically on for about half the day in Gaza – now the city is dark.

Despite all of this, in 2010, Israel began allowing importation into Gaza for humanitarian projects like the building of schools, hospitals and housing. But Hamas seized the concrete to construct tunnels under the border to stage attacks on Israel.

One such terror tunnel – said to have required 500 tons of concrete – was discovered by Israel in 2013. ‘Instead of building reservoirs for water or kindergartens, Hamas is investing in tunnels,’ an IDF spokesperson said at the time.

And of course, the lives of Gazans don’t appear to hold much value for their Hamas wardens.

It is well-known that Hamas’ de facto military headquarters is located inside al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, because they know Israel will not bomb it. The IDF cares more about Palestinian civilians than Hamas does.

Why else would Hamas store and fire rockets from inside Palestinian schools? The United Nations agency dedicated to helping Palestinian refugees exposed this practice in 2014 when they discovered 20 rockets hidden in a single schoolhouse.

In the coming days, there will be horrific images broadcast out to millions that will surely shake the world’s conscience.

War is terrible.

But we cannot lose sight of the truth that Israel is attempting to protect innocent lives no matter the nationality – and Hamas is the Palestinians’ worst enemy.