Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Civilian or Not? New Fight in Tallying the Dead From the Gaza Conflict

By JODI RUDOREN, NYT
AUG. 5, 2014

GAZA CITY — Inside the Health Sciences Library at Al-Shifa Hospital here, a small team spent the war crunching numbers. Stuck to their laptops were a statistician, a graphic designer, a data-entry specialist and an issuer of death certificates, some of whom spent nights sleeping in their straight-backed chairs.

By Tuesday, this is what they had come up with: 1,865 “martyrs” from “Israeli aggression” since July 6: 429 under age 18, 79 over 60, 243 women. The Palestinian Ministry of Health does not categorize victims as civilian or combatant, but others do: The United Nations — which had a lower death toll, 1,814 — said that at least 72 percent were civilians, while two Gaza-based groups put the percentage at 82 (Al Mezan Center for Human Rights) and 84 (the Palestinian Center for Human Rights).

Israel has a very different assessment. The military says it took the lives of 900 “terrorists,” but it did not provide specifics beyond the 368 cases listed in 28 entries on its blog. Politicians have been saying that 47 percent of the dead were fighters, citing a study by an Israeli counterterrorism group that is impressive in its documentation, using photographs and Internet tributes, but analyzes only the first 152 casualties, when the assault was exclusively from the air.

(More here.)

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