CASUALTY COUNT: A FIGHT FOR TRUTH
THE Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC), which has close ties to the IDF, has been keeping its own tally of those killed in Gaza.
As of August 3 at noon, they counted 1,438 Palestinians killed. According to the ITIC, this consists of: 1) 407 terrorist operatives (222 Hamas operatives, 123 PIJ operatives, 62 operatives from other terrorist organisations). 2) 452 non-involved Palestinians. 3) 589 Palestinians whose identity is not yet known.
According to these figures, 47 per cent of the known casualties are terrorists.
At roughly the same time, the UN counted 1,717 Palestinians killed. The difference in count of over 270 is fairly significant. The UN does not publish a list of the dead (neither does ITIC) so it is not easy to identify the sources of the discrepancies. But we do have a few educated guesses.
During Cast Lead, the number of people who were reported of dying natural deaths in Gaza plummeted. It seems likely that many people who died naturally in Gaza over the past month were moved over to the “martyr” category.
There have been reports of Hamas killing collaborators, and unverified accounts of Hamas killing demonstrators. Beyond that, there are clearly people who were killed by Hamas rockets or explosions.
We have also seen quite few people double-counted, or even triple-counted, although it is unclear whether the UN list includes those. (The UN count is about 50 fewer than the Hamas Health Ministry count.)
Once the names are released, it seems very unlikely that journalists in Gaza would endanger themselves to research the circumstances behind every disputed death. It also seems unlikely that the IDF figures, which have been found to be accurate (as much as could be determined) in the past, will be given the same attention as the UN or Hamas figures.