While most of the media was reporting a final toll of the Gaza war, an Italian reporter visiting many hospitals in the strip says the casualty rates were far, far lower, and that Palestinian journalists know it. The Jerusalem Post explains
The number of Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead did not exceed five or six hundred, Lorenzo Cremonesi, a correspondent for Italy's Corriere Della Sera reported on Thursday.
Cremonesi based his report on tours of hospitals in the Gaza Strip and on interviews with families of casualties. He also assessed the number of wounded to be far lower than 5,000, the number quoted by Hamas and repeated by the UN and the Red Cross in Gaza.
"It is sufficient to visit several hospitals [in the Gaza Strip] to understand that the numbers don't add up," he wrote.
In the European hospital in Rafah, one of the facilities which would presumably be filled with wounded from the "war of the tunnels," many beds were empty, according to Cremonesi. A similar situation was noted in the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, and in the privately-run Amal Hospital Cremonesi reported that only five out 150 beds were occupied.
YNet News notes that Palestinian reporters were aware of the inflated numbers, confirming this to Cremonesi:
The reporter for the Italian newspaper also quoted reporters in the Strip who told of Hamas' exaggerated figures, "We have already said to Hamas commanders – why do you insist on inflating the number of victims?"
These same reporters mentioned that the truth that will come out is likely to be similar to what occurred in Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin. "Then, there was first talk of 1,500 deaths. But then it turned out that there were only 54, 45 of which were armed men," the Palestinian reporters told the Italian newspaper.
How is it that the same Palestinian reporters telling the West of 1,330 deaths are acknowledging a different reality and simply waiting for the truth to "come out" like in Jenin?