Hamas confirmed for the first time on Monday that between 200 and 300 members of the organization's military wing were killed during Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008, Israel Radio reported.Ha'aretz' headline is slightly misleading, because Hamas is admitting that 250 of its members were killed on the initial day of Cast Lead (Israel's response to Hamas' own Operation Oil Stain) - but the total number of Hamas militants killed during the war was much higher.
Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 in efforts to curb missile fire from the Palestinian territory into Israel's southern communities. Immediately following the operation, Hamas reported that less than 50 of its men had been killed.
Hamas' Interior Minister Fathi Hamad, who was confirmed the figures in an interview with the London-based Arabic language daily Al-Hayat, said that the so-called "police officers" who were killed during the first day of the operation were actually 250 Hamas fighters, and that 150 additional "security personnel" were also killed.
Israel Radio indicated that these figures were consistent with the numbers initially reported by the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson's Unit immediately following the operation, which Hamas denied.
Hamas' al-Qassam website has been steadily listing these hundreds of "policemen" as Qassam Brigades "martyrs" and we have been documented that since April, 2009.
The intriguing part is that we have only documented 210 policemen (defined by the PCHR) as terrorists - so we may have undercounted. As it is, we already have proven that 75% of the "policemen" killed during the fighting were, in fact, Hamas militants and that there Hamas never distinguished between the al-Qassam Brigades and its police force.
If indeed some 250 of the policemen that were killed in only the initial day were al Qassam members, that would indicate that far more than 75% of the policemen were terrorists - because PCHR only documented 282 total policemen killed during the entire operation, plus two policewomen.
Now would be a good time to re-visit the Goldstone Report, which said:
417. Except for the statements of the police spokesperson, the Israel Government has presented no other basis on which a presumption can be made against the overall civilian nature of the police in Gaza. It is true that the police and the security forces created by Hamas in Gaza may have their origins in the Executive Force. However, while the Mission would not rule out the possibility that there might be individuals in the police force who retain their links to the armed groups, it believes that the assertion on the part of the Government of Israel that “an overwhelming majority of the police forces were also members of the Hamas military wing or activists of Hamas or other terrorist organizations” appears to be an overstatement that has led to prejudicial presumptions against the nature of the police force that may not be justified.Israel was right. Goldstone was wrong. And Goldstone believed Hamas' lies about the police without reservation while being skeptical of the accurate Israeli side.