War in Gaza Turns Out To Be Less Deadly Than Claimed

The Associated Press takes a deep dive into the numbers, and comes up with a startling report.

AP/Ohad Zwigenberg
Israeli soldiers are seen near the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel, March 4, 2024. AP/Ohad Zwigenberg

It turns out that even the Gaza health ministry’s data no longer support Hamas propaganda. Yet many in America and around the world, including at the United Nations, are buying into the terror organization’s well-designed war strategy of defeating Israel by turning it into a global pariah. A headline Friday says fewer women and children than commonly believed are killed in Gaza — even as in another headline the United Nations is maligning Israel as a child killer.

That first headline comes from a deep dive by the Associated Press into Gaza casualty numbers. “The proportion of Palestinian women and children being killed in the Israel-Hamas war appears to have declined sharply,” the AP reports. It’s important, it adds, because these figures are the “best available proxy for civilian casualties.” The findings are not based on some Israel-friendly website, but on figures provided by the health ministry in Gaza.   

In October, according to the report, 64 percent of Gaza casualties were women and children. In April it was down to 36 percent. “Yet the shift went unnoticed for months by the UN and much of the press, and the Hamas-linked health ministry has made no effort to set the record straight,” the AP reports. Meanwhile Hamas figures lead one Hague-based court to accuse Israel of genocide, while another court calls to arrest Israeli leaders. 

Friday’s second headline has Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, saying that Secretary-General Guterres officially notified him that the Israel Defense Forces are blacklisted by the UN as a party that commits violations against children. It joins a list of countries like Afghanistan and Syria, and organizations like al-Qaeda and ISIS. Russia was added last year, and Hamas is in now too. Mr. Guterres apparently missed this morning the wire’s mea culpa

Israelis fear that as they’re added to the UN blacklist, Europeans could block ammunition sales. The pro-Hamas caucus in Congress often uses UN findings to beseech President Biden to end arms sales as well — and that is exactly what the terrorists want. “Hamas took every law of war and reverse-engineered it” to fit its strategy, the chairman of urban warfare studies at West Point, John Spencer, tells CNN. Civilian deaths are an essential component. 

In Mr. Spencer’s analysis of the Hamas health ministry figures, the death ratio in Gaza is one combatant to 1.5 civilians. He adds, “given Hamas’s likely inflation of the death count, the real figure could be closer to one to one. Either way, the number would be historically low for modern urban warfare.” The norm in similar combat is one terrorist to nine civilians. So the IDF better protects civilians while fighting terrorists than most, if not all, militaries.

It is not our purpose here to minimize suffering. Like every war, the one in Gaza is hell. Yet, unlike in other wars, every IDF move is put under an intense global magnifying glass. Hamas has made that scrutiny a cornerstone of its war machine and turned the deaths of women and children into its most prized asset. Inflated statistics of civilian deaths will lead to more casualties, and help Hamas. That strategy relies on outsiders’s eagerness to spread a blood libel.

The New York Sun

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