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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gazans who died naturally called "martyrs"?

The New York Times writes, in an article about the internal IDF report on Gaza:
Gaza health officials said more than 1,300 Palestinians died during the war, but Israel disputes Palestinian claims that most of them were noncombatants. By the Israeli military’s count, 1,166 people were killed, of whom 295 were noncombatants, 709 were what it called Hamas terrorist operatives and 162 were men whose affiliations remain unidentified.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza put the number of dead at 1,417: 926 civilians, 236 combatants and 255 police officers. Israel says that about 400 Gazans die of natural causes every month, possibly accounting for the discrepancy in numbers.
This is an interesting possibility.

One indication that it may be true could come from the Palestinian Ministry of Health website. They routinely list "martyrs" of Gazans who have supposedly died as a result of not getting adequate medical attention because of the "siege." This list started last July and now has 325 "shahids," many of whom had cancer and other incurable diseases.

A quick look at the numbers of these martyrs by month is interesting:

November - 10
December - 14
January - 3
February - 13
March - 23

That's right - during the war, when one would expect that ill patients would be dying in much higher numbers, the sick of Gaza suddenly gained a reprieve! - Only three of them died, a much lower rate than before and after the war!

So how many of the "shahids" listed by the PCHR were really people who died of natural causes?