Wednesday, February 21, 2024

A month ago, we looked at a Lancet article that used statistics from the first month of the October 7 war to shore up the idea that the Hamas ministry of health statistics were accurate.

Briefly, they compared the number of UNRWA deaths per thousand employees (about 7.5) with the number of total Gaza deaths per thousand residents according to the MoH (about 5) during the first month of the war. Based on that, they decided that the Ministry of Health statistics were largely accurate.

I pointed out the methodological flaws. As I noted,
It makes an assumption that everyone in Gaza has an equal chance of being killed, meaning that Israel is killing people randomly and indiscriminately. This is not only a false assumption, but an antisemitic one. 

Indeed, one reason UNRWA workers could have been killed at a higher rate is because none of them are children - and more than half of them are males of fighting age. About two thirds of the first 101 killed were men, a higher percentage than the percentage of male employees at UNRWA (about 54% across UNRWA, not sure about Gaza itself.) Chances are that at least some of the UNRWA casualties were also legal combatants, either actively participating or acting as "spotters" or other support. 
In other words, one would expect a much higher percentage of UNRWA employees, especially males, to be killed than the general population if you don't accept the antisemitic assumption that Israel is killing indiscriminately.

Which means that if UNRWA death figures are to be statistically meaningful, we must assume that they represent a higher death-per-thousand rate than the general population.

However, since that first month, the rate of UNRWA workers killed has dropped dramatically - far more than the drop in deaths published by the Hamas authorities.

If the Lancet felt that UNRWA's figures support the MoH figures in the first month, then why have they diverged so dramatically since then? Doesn't that indicate that the MoH figures have become increasingly unreliable?

If the UNRWA deaths can be used as a sample of total Gaza deaths, which the Lancet peer-reviewed claimed, that would mean that the true number of deaths over the past month in Gaza is about 1,100, not the 5,095 the MoH claimed. 

I don't think the UNRWA numbers are a proper proxy for calculating deaths either way. My theory is that the Gaza health ministry statistics on total casualties (not women and children) were roughly accurate for the first month or so, but as communications broke down in Gaza they (and the Hamas media office) just started making things up. There is simply no infrastructure in Gaza to provide anything close to accurate casualty statistics but Hamas relies on these numbers being reported daily to pressure Israel to cease fire. Since the world believes them, so why not continue to lie? 

A group of supposed experts are projecting the number of Gaza deaths if there is a ceasefire orif Israel presses into Rafah. Their entire analysis is based on accepting the casualty figures from Hamas as being 100% accurate. And while they don't say exactly how they use the UNRWA figures, they seem to be accepting the Lancet methodology in their report: " We estimated the proportion and number of unreported (e.g. those killed that may be under rubble and have not been reported) traumatic injury deaths by comparing the ratio of mortality among United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) staff (for whom 100% detection was assumed) to that among the general population, including uncertainty ranges, to estimate a confidence interval."

One of the authors of this report was also a co-author of the Lancet report. 

At any rate, even if you completely trust The Lancet methodology of using UNRWA casualties as an accurate sample of Gaza total death rates, you have to admit that their evidence supporting Hamas casualty figures has been thoroughly debunked. Science depends on consistency, and the data from the past two months contradict the Lancet's conclusion from one mere month. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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