The Hamas terrorists that rule the Gaza Strip are good at one thing: Getting Palestinians killed. More than 2,100 Palestinians died in the 50-day war against Israel that ended on the same truce terms offered to Hamas in the early days of the conflict before most of the casualties occurred.
News media accounts, quoting U.N. and Palestinian sources, say the majority of the deaths were civilians. That’s misleading in that it suggests overwhelming civilian casualties.
Analyses, such as one by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, note that 44 percent of the deaths came among males 17 to 30 years old, meaning men of fighting age.
That matches the assessment of the Israel Defense Forces that 45 percent of the deaths are Hamas combatants or “terrorist operatives” from other groups.
Fighting in an urban environment like Gaza usually results in a much higher proportion of civilian deaths, an average worldwide of one fighter to four civilian deaths, according to a British mil
itary expert. The high civilian death count is especially true when, as Hamas did, combatants hide among civilians and launch attacks from or near homes, schools, hospitals and mosques. Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza found a Hamas “urban warfare” manual. It recognized that the Israelis would “limit their use of weapons and tactics” and it advocated the deployment of “civilians as pockets of resistance.”
The Gaza figures amount to a ratio of about one terrorist death to one inadvertent civilian death. That reflects the great lengths taken by Israel to avoid civilian deaths, carefully targeting Hamas facilities and rocket launchers, issuing warnings before attacks and calling off strikes if too many civilians were endangered.
While the truce holds, the propaganda war continues.
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