Hamas' "Numbers Warfare": Understanding Hamas' Casualty Reporting in the Gaza War

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Prof. Kobi Michael - The Palestinian Ministry of Health (PMH) in Gaza is tightly controlled and operated by Hamas, a barbaric radical Islamic terror organization whose charter calls for the mass murder of Jews. Any report by the ministry, by definition, is a Hamas report. The PMH reports on Palestinian casualties with attribution exclusively to IDF strikes. Reports of Hamas fighters' casualties are noticeably absent. In short, five weeks after the outbreak of the war, neither the Hamas leadership nor the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported a single casualty among Hamas forces. No one questioned how PMH reported 30,000 Palestinians wounded when the total number of hospital beds in all medical facilities in Gaza, including UNRWA clinics, did not exceed 3,000. So, where exactly are all the 30,000 wounded? According to PMH reports, there are already more than 13,000 Palestinians dead. If that casualty number is accurate, where were they buried? Due to the zero reliability of Hamas and its strategic manipulations, we offer an alternative analysis to help determine an objective measure of casualties in Gaza. It starts from a number of dead and wounded which is about half of the number reported by Hamas, although it is possible, and even with high certainty, to assume an even lower number. At least half of the number of dead and wounded are probably Hamas members, whether armed terrorists, whose identity is disguised as civilians by Hamas, or members of the Hamas establishment. A significant number of the "children" reported as killed or wounded are young people aged 13-18, who were in Hamas facilities or even took an active part in the fighting. (Israeli Minister Ron Dermer, in an interview with Sky News, reported 3,000 Hamas members killed.) From the remaining number, a significant number of Palestinian dead and injured resulting from nearly 1,000 failed rocket launches that landed short must be subtracted, such as the one that fell on the al-Ahli hospital. From the remainder one must subtract all the Palestinians who fled northern Gaza for the safe zone in the south and who were killed by Hamas. The small balance of casualties is indeed comprised of unarmed civilians who were regretfully and unintentionally killed by IDF attacks. But compared to every other war in the last hundred years, the collateral damage caused by the IDF is low compared to other Western military campaigns, particularly by the UK or U.S. military. This relatively small civilian collateral damage is the result of Israel's strict adherence to the international laws of war and the utmost efforts made by the IDF to convince the Gaza civilian population to evacuate battle zones while opening humanitarian corridors and securing safe civilian passage. The writer is a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University and editor-in-chief of Strategic Assessment.

2023-11-13 00:00:00

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