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October 8, 2014 3:20 pm

New Research Casts Major Doubt on Claim That ‘Vast Majority’ of Gaza Casualties Were Civilians

avatar by Ben Cohen

The Israel Defense Forces Artillery Corps fires shells at Gaza on July 18, 2014, after Israeli forces began a ground invasion into northern Gaza amid Operation Protective Edge. Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90.

New research by a prominent Israeli think-tank, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, suggests that the civilian-to-terrorist fatality ratio during the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is much lower than is commonly presented. The Center’s calculations indicate that almost 50 percent of those killed in Gaza during the conflict were terrorist operatives.

In its latest analysis of the names of Palestinian fatalities released by the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza – the sixth in the series – the Information Center notes in an English-language executive summary:

The number of names of those killed, examined so far by the Information Center, on the basis of lists of the Ministry of Health, is 900, that is – about 42% of the total Palestinians killed (said to be 2157, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health report as of September 14, 2014). A number of the MoH duplicate names were removed and terrorists who do not appear in the lists (both due to technical reasons and because of the policy of concealment and deception of Hamas) were added.

After these adjustments the total number of fatalities investigated so far by the Information Center reaches 1,017, or about 47% of the total fatalities.

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Adding the current findings with the previous five reports and combining information about the identities of the dead identified indicate the following breakdown of the 1,017 fatalities examined by the Information Center:

  • 435 casualties were terrorists.
  • 439 casualties were innocent civilians.
  • The identity of 143 is unknown at this time. therefore it is not possible to determine whether they are militants or uninvolved civilians.

Of the 874 fatalities that we could identify, terrorist operatives are some 49.8% of the names, uninvolved citizens are about 50.2%. The ratio between them may vary upon Further examination of the names of the dead. At this stage it was not possible to identify 143 deaths, representing approximately 14% of all the names.

The Information Center’s findings emerged amid growing disquiet with the insistence, across much of the media, that Israel’s military actions overwhelmingly impacted civilians. Last week, The Algemeiner reported that Forbes contributor Richard Behar is calling on the Associated Press (AP) to account for its repeated assertion that the overwhelming proportion of Palestinian deaths during the conflict were civilian. AP dispatches on Gaza frequently include the sentence, “More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority civilians, along with more than 70 Israelis.”

If the Information Center’s calculations are correct, the number of civilians killed during the conflict is just over 50 percent. Moreover, Israel has repeatedly pointed out that its armed forces took a number of preemptive measures to avoid civilian casualties, including issuing advance warnings of air strikes in order for civilians to move to a safe location.

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