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Commentary

Report: Over a Third of Palestinian Deaths in Recent Firefight Were Caused by Failed Gazan Rockets

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Every time the Israel-Palestine conflict flares up, the narrative remains the same, that the Israelis are savage baby-murderers who kill indiscriminately, while the authorities in Gaza are fighting for freedom and have no terror connections.

Naturally, this narrative is blatantly false, but many public figures — including Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar — would have you believe it.

It’s a particularly popular narrative on social media as well. One of the narrative’s central arguments is that the fact that Israel — which has the Iron Dome air defense system — had fewer civilian casualties than Palestine (which has no Iron Dome and leaders such as Hamas are not interested in the welfare of local residents) is somehow an indictment against Israel.

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The level of anti-Semitism still shocks me.

The truth about the casualty numbers — as the Bedin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies illustrates in a new report — is, of course, far more nuanced, and it largely centers on the incompetence of Hamas militants, as well as the construction of tunnels under civilian buildings.

According to Dr. Alex Safian, author of the report, “Hamas aims to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible, but its rockets place both Israelis and Palestinians in peril, because many of those rockets—in this case 680—misfire and explode inside Gaza.

“The death and destruction caused is, of course, usually blamed on Israel. The question addressed here is how many Palestinians are likely to have been killed by these errant Palestinian rockets in May. The estimate arrived at is 91, amounting to 36% of the alleged Palestinian death toll.”

The estimate is based on a combination of mathematical models and real-time reports. Two examples of those real-time reports are below:

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The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center confirmed that this second case was caused by Palestinian rocket fire as well.

“Many buildings in Gaza may have been undermined by Hamas tunneling, adding to their inability to withstand shaking and increasing the Palestinian death toll,” Safian said, citing an example of a tunnel attack causing the collapse of a nearby building, killing 20 civilians.

Safian concluded that, in essence, “rather than providing protection for Gaza’s civilians Hamas digs tunnels underneath those civilians—in fact, hides behind them—at enormous cost.”

In the end, this report tells us a lot of what we already knew, that Israel cares about civilian welfare during wartime, while the authorities in Gaza are not troubled by such matters.

Are you pro-Israel?

But what the report does do is give Israel and its defenders a useful tool against social media propagandists who seek to misrepresent the truth.

It’s easier than ever to defend our closest ally in the region.

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Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
Languages Spoken
English, some Spanish




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