Friday, July 18, 2014

Casualties in Gaza - Data Suggests that They are Mostly Combatants

by Elliot Abrams

International concern for casualties in Gaza is growing, as the death toll there exceeds 200. Most of the casualties are civilians, say various left-wingand anti-Israel news sources -- as well as, of course, Hamas itself. And, unsurprisingly, the United Nationssays: "77 per cent of fatalities since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 7 have been civilians."

This is almost certainly false, as a look at the numbers by CAMERAshows. The Gaza population has the predictable demographics: half male, half female, many children. If 77 percent of the casualties were civilians, we would see that reflected in the figures. If there is a huge over-representation of males of combat age in the casualty figures, it's fair to assume that this is because Israel is targeting and hitting combatants. And so it is: 

"The fatalities are disproportionately among young males, which corresponds with the characteristics of combatants. ... Only about 12 percent of the total fatalities are female, though females make up half the population. ... The median age of Gazans is reported to be around 15. Males under 15 make up just 13 percent of the total fatalities even though they represent half of all males in the Gaza Strip."

Meanwhile, note these lines in a Washington Post storydated July 15: "With the Gaza crossing into Egypt at Rafah closed and crossings into Israel severely limited, the strip had already been mostly sealed off. But the Hamas government took a further step Tuesday by closing its side of the Erez crossing, the only turnstile for people in Gaza to travel to Israel. At least for now, this means that no one can come and go from Gaza, including patients who rely on the Erez crossing to go to Israel for medical treatments."

So, during this war, Israel continued to accept Palestinians from Gaza for medical treatment, until this was blocked not by Israel but by Hamas, in another display of its disregard for the safety and health of Gazans.

Of course that won't stop the propaganda about Israel's actions, including by the United Nations. But the facts are there for those who seek them out.

Elliot Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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