Monday, February 16, 2009

Who's duping whom?

The headline in the Jerusalem Post reads: "World duped by Hamas death count." (See the full article here.)

The article goes on to say that the IDF has now "proved" that only 1/3 of those killed in the Gaza War where civilians. This, as opposed to the 2/3 figure promoted by Hamas and the approximately 50% figure claimed by the U.N.

First of all, is 1/3 - 400-500 innocent civilians killed OK? In the 2006 Lebanon 2 war Hezbollah killed 43 Israeli civilians, just over 1/3 of all Israeli casualties (the rest where soldiers.) Did anyone say this was acceptable? No! Everyone condemned it, and it cemented peoples opinions that Hezbollah was a dangerous terrorist organization.

Second, the IDFs arithmetic is suspect.

According to the Post, the IDF now has "identified of more than 1200 Palestinian casualties" of the war. This out of the 1338 dead. Of these
"The [IDF] said 580 ... had been conclusively "incriminated" as members of Hamas and other terrorist groups."
Another 300 had been classified as civilians (though the Post helpfully points out that some of these may in fact have been guilty of being the wives and children of Hamas officials, as if no one should be outraged if - for instance - Hamas bombed the house of Tzipi Livni and killed her husband and children.)

The remainder of the Palestinian casualties had yet to be classified. But, the IDF points out, if we assume that 2/3 of them are in fact "terror operatives" then the overall percentage of those killed in the war who are civilians is about 33%.

Well duh! If you assume that 2/3 of those killed are terrorists it no surprise that you will conclude that only 1/3 are civilians.

But what do the numbers really say? That 580 of 1338 people killed are members of "Hamas or other terrorist groups." That is 43% - leaving 56% as civilian casualties! More civilian casualties than even than the U.N. estimate.

And who does Israel include in this count? According to an article in Haaretz on the same IDF report, this count includes police cadets killed on the first day of the war. So we can safely assume that other such "terrorist operatives" are also civil servants working for the Hamas government - we know that many government buildings where targets of Israeli air force bombings in the early days of the war. By international law, government workers and police are considered civilians.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Shmuel said...

As "X-Plain" put it: "Ours is the most moral army in the world - among the five most moral armies in the world - let's say the most moral army in the region". It's not about arithmetic or duping or different interpretations of the "combatant" concept. We are right and good, they are wrong and evil. It follows that everything we do is moral and everything they do is reprehensible. The math takes care of itself. The only remaining question is why the rest of the world should care.

11:01 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rest of the wolrd doesn't care if the Israeli Army is more moral than the Rwandan Army. Only the US and Diaspora Jews care and for them it is a matter of faith not fact

8:11 pm  

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