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Friday, February 13, 2009

"Two-thirds of dead Gazans were terrorists"

From Ha'aretz:
Israel says that about two-thirds of the Palestinians who were killed in the Gaza fighting were members of terror organizations who took part in the fighting, Channel 2 News reported Thursday.

These include the Hamas police cadets who were killed in an Israeli air strike at the beginning of the operation.

Channel 2 cited a report issued by Military Intelligence and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, listing 1,134 Palestinian fatalities, 673 of which belonged to Hamas and other groups.

Only 288 were innocent civilians, the report says.
If Israel is going to make these claims, with very precise numbers, they have to back them up with names and specifics.

PCHR, although it is quite biased and clearly calls terrorists "civilians," counted 1285 fatalities, including 280 children and 111 women, and almost always has names of the victims (although they didn't during the first, most bloody week of the war.) For the numbers to jive, we would have to assume that over a hundred of the women and children were fighting, that there were zero innocent adult males killed, or that many Gazans listed by PCHR - over 150 - were killed directly by Hamas actions, through executions, work accidents, Hamas cross-fire or the like.

(PCHR is more credible than the Gaza "medical officials" who kept a running count during the war that was slavishly repeated by the media.)

I would be quite happy to accept Israel's numbers, but they have to name names and dispute the PCHR figures line by line. It is possible that both sets of numbers can be reconciled, but it wouldn't be easy. For better or for worse, PCHR does not appear to be lying about the raw statistics, so it is up to Israel to explain not only their count but the differences.