IDF Releases Gaza Casualty Stats, Says Hamas Duped WorldFebruary 16, 2009 10:36 by BackSpin Editor
The Jerusalem Post got the first look at the IDF's 200-page report cataloging the identities and status of Palestinians killed during Operation Cast Lead. The Post talked to Col. Moshe Levi, the head of the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA), responsible for the collecting the numbers:
While the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, whose death toll figures have been widely cited, reports that 895 Gaza civilians were killed in the fighting, amounting to more than two-thirds of all fatalities, the IDF figures shown to the Post on Sunday put the civilian death toll at no higher than a third of the total . . .
Basing its work on the official Palestinian death toll of 1,338, Levi said the CLA had now identified more than 1,200 of the Palestinian fatalities. Its 200-page report lists their names, their official Palestinian Authority identity numbers, the circumstances in which they were killed and, where appropriate, the terrorist group with which they were affiliated.
The CLA said 580 of these 1,200 had been conclusively "incriminated" as members of Hamas and other terrorist groups.
Another 300 of the 1,200 – women, children aged 15 and younger and men over the age of 65 – had been categorized as noncombatants, the CLA said.
Counted among the women, however, were female terrorists, including at least two women who tried to blow themselves up next to forces from the Givati and Paratroopers' Brigades. Also classed as noncombatants were the wives and children of Nizar Rayyan, a Hamas military commander who refused to allow his family to leave his home even after he was warned by Israel that it would be bombed.
The 320 names yet to be classified are all men; the IDF has yet complete its identification work in these cases, but estimates that two-thirds of them were terror operatives.
The CLA gave the Post the names of several fatalities who it said had been classified by the Palestinians as "medics," but who it stated were Hamas fighters . . .
In a separate column, Post editor David Horovitz quotes Col. Levi's explanation for why the army took so long to release its figures:
CLA head Col. Moshe Levi acknowledged on Sunday that all this information – on both such specific incidents as the UN school and the overall classifications of the dead – would probably be largely ignored today, since it was being made available so long after the fighting ended. But Levi explained that the IDF was not prepared to issue information unless and until it was confident of its accuracy, no matter how grievous the damage to Israel's image, and the consequent political pressures caused by the delays in contesting inaccurate facts and figures.
Picking up on the JPost, Elder of Ziyon beat me to the next point, noting that coverage of the incident by the UN school was even more misleading than we realized:
The entire episode as originally reported was a lie: Israel didn't hit the school, 40+ civilians didn't die (as I mentioned that the time, that is a huge death count for tank shells), and most of the death were in fact terrorists.