Sunday, May 10, 2009

Counting Armed Civilians

Israel is still taking a lot of criticism for Operation Cast Lead. People simply look at the number of dead and automatically conclude Israel is guilty of war crimes and mass genocide. Some will go as far as to look at the number of civilians killed. The IDF reported that they killed 709 fighters. PCHR reported the number of fighters killed as only 275.

The IDF report has two major flaws. The first is that it is the IDF, which for many people automatically marks it as biased and inaccurate. The report is classified and cannot be independantly verified. The most relied on source of information by the media is the PCHR (Palestinian Centre for Human Rights). As an NGO they automatically receive a certain degree of creability. They also publish lists of the victims name in status.

A small group of bloggers has decided to challenge PCHR conclusions. They have reviewed the names on the PCHR list have found absolute proof of militants being counted as civilians. To date their research has put the number of militans classified as civilians closing in on the numbers reported by the IDF. Here is the summary of what they have found to date.

There are two major points that deserve special attention. First is the record of the bombing of the UN School that has been mentioned here a number times. The initial report was that Israel bombed the school. It took over a month for the United Nations to admit that Israel had fired outside the school and nobody inside the school were hurt. The immediate reports were that 27 were killed in the attack. Eventually the number was reported as more than 40 killed. This number is still being reported in the mainstream media and on the CUPE Ontario website.

The IDF reported that only 12 people died in the attack and that 9 of them were militants. The examination of the PCHR list only has 12 people killed in that location. They have not taken any efforts to publicize the correct number or explain how the originally reported information was obtained.

The second interesting incident was on a monthly report on deaths by natural causes blamed on the occupation. With all of the complaints of the IDF preventing people from receiving medical attention, that number should have increased drastically. Instead there was a sharp decrease in the number of deaths during the month of January.

The truth is out there and shows that Israel took great care to minimize civilian deaths. Those who wish to bash Israel will continue to use the numbers that have been proven to be false. Knowing the truth changes the perspective on all of the other issues facing Isael in the Palestinian conflict.

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