During the recent Gaza conflict UNWRA was the main source for Gaza casualty figures and these figures were used by the world’s press, including the BBC, as absolutely undeniable because they came from the UN. But the figures did not come from the UN, they came from Hamas and the gullible UNWRA gave the Hamas lies cover due because everyone believes the UN, don’t they?
Throughout the conflict Israeli sources could just about be heard in the background stating that the Hamas figures were exaggerated and many combatants were included as civilians. Now, at last, and, as often is the case with the Israeli government, too late to change the world’s impression of the conflict, the Israeli figures have been published.
The Jerusalem Post reports here that the Palestinian Center for Human Rights has quoted 895 Gazan civilians killed which represents more than two-thirds of all deaths. But the IDF has carefully compiled the actual names of many of those killed and its figures show a very different story. The IDF puts the percentage at about one third which is about 450.
Dealing with real human lives lost in a statistical war of words is a regrettable course to have to follow but a necessary one in order to expose Hamas lies and attempt to redress the balance of world opinion.
Another, and very important ‘detail’ that had UNWRA and the world and the BBC et alia exercised about Israeli ‘war crimes’ was the incident near a UN school in Jabalya. The Jeruslaem Post reports:
Initial Palestinian reports falsely claimed IDF shells had hit the school and killed 40 or more people, many of them civilians.In fact, he said, 12 Palestinians were killed in the incident – nine Hamas operatives and three noncombatants. Furthermore, as had since been acknowledged by the UN, the IDF was returning fire after coming under attack, and its shells did not hit the school compound.
Yet most of the world still believes the Hamas lies (only 48 of its fighters killed as opposed to about 900 now reported by the IDF) reinforced by news reports, including Israeli newspapers, and the UN itself who prefer the story of a group it classifies as a terrorist organisation over the counter claims of one of its own members, namely Israel. And the rest of the world goes along with this analysis.
When will Israel get its act together and realise how important it is to rebut the lies of Hamas as they occur. The JP reports that “the IDF was considering setting up a response team” for just this purpose. About time!
So, more than 400 children killed? Hardly when the total of non-combatants is around that mark.
So will the world’s press now issue rebuttals of its previous reports and tell the world the actual truth. Fat chance. Will Jeremy Bowen of the BBC report the IDF findings in his blog?
I blame the Israeli government and organisations like Shin Bet for not doing enough to counter Hamas claims and the falsified, exaggerated and emotional images they trot out hour by hour in any conflict.
Even though several impressive spokespersons were put forward this time for the very purpose of better serving Israel’s case, they failed miserably because they could not counter the terrible daily images coming out of Gaza. Quite often they themselves did not seem to believe in their own story. This is a measure of how successful Hamas propaganda is and how poor Israeli counter-propaganda is.
What we need to see now is a further detailed analysis of homes, schools, hospitals, mosques and civic building destroyed or damaged and how many of those as a result of IDF actions and how many as a result of secondary explosions caused by Hamas weapons dumps.
There is also the matter of the use of white phosphorus but that brings up the whole question of the appropriateness of some articles of International Law in the new reality of assymetric warfare, something I intend to write about in a future article.