Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Casualties in Gaza

by Elliott Abrams
July 16, 2014


International concern for casualties in Gaza is growing, as the death toll there exceeds 200. And most of the casualties are civilians, say various left-wing and anti-Israel news sources–as well as, of course, Hamas itself. And, unsurprisingly, the United Nations: “77 per cent of fatalities since the start of Operation Protective Edge on 7 July have been civilians.”

This is almost certainly false, as a look at the numbers by CAMERA shows. The Gaza population has the predictable demographic qualities: half men and half women, many children, etc. If 77% of the casualties were civilians, we would see that reflected in the figures. If there is a huge over-representation of males of combat age in the casualty figures, it’s fair to assume that’s because Israel is targeting and hitting combatants. And so it is:

the fatalities are disproportionately [compared to the overall population] among young males, which corresponds with the characteristics of combatants….only about 12 percent of the total fatalities are female, though females make up half the population….the median age of Gazans is reported to be around 15. Males under 15 make up just 13 percent of the total fatalities even though they represent half of all males in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, note these lines in a Washington Post story dated July 15:

With the Gaza crossing into Egypt at Rafah closed and crossings into Israel severely limited, the strip had already been mostly sealed off. But the Hamas government took a further step Tuesday by closing its side of the Erez crossing, the only turnstile for people in Gaza to travel to Israel. At least for now, this means that no one can come and go from Gaza, including patients who rely on the Erez crossing to go to Israel for medical treatments.

So, during this war, Israel continued to accept Palestinians from Gaza for medical treatment–until this was blocked not by Israel but by Hamas, in another display of its disregard for the safety and health of Gazans.

Of course that won’t stop the propaganda about Israel’s actions, including by the United Nations. But the facts are there for those who seek them out.

Post a Comment 9 Comments

  • Posted by EthanP

    Of particular disgust is the actual glee “journalists” from the ‘lie by media have reported on the first Israeli death. Only Fox News seems to stick with “just the facts”.

  • Posted by Moshe Raab

    This number probably also includes fatalities due to Hamas launched rockets and mortars that did not clear the border and thus landed and inflicted their damage on the local population

  • Posted by Jon Wolfsthal

    how do you respond to this? Four Young Boys Killed Playing on Gaza Beach. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/world/middleeast/gaza-strip-beach-explosion-kills-children.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimesworld&_r=0

    Is the NYT left wing and anti-Israel or both? Must be nice to dismiss facts that don’t suit your narrative.

  • Posted by Ernestine S. Bonicelli

    This is something I would not likely have known, aside from this article. Fox might report it, might not. CBN news is good about reporting what the mainstream media won’t, but they miss some things. It is to be expected, however, that Israel always does the humane and decent thing when there is a chance and a choice, and Hamas does the exact opposite. How anybody could blame Israel is more than I can understand, literally. Facts are stubborn things, but some people simply refuse to be confused by them, once they have established their story – or their lie, as the case may be.

  • Posted by joseph berk

    The world hates the Jews, so even if they fire in self defense against the cowardly Hamas terrorists who hide their weapons in hospitals, mosques and crowed living areas, they will inevitably kill children (they just killed four on a beach (what are they doing playing there, by the way?)), and then that will become the issue. (Those heartless, dirty Jews!)
    Literally Israel is walking into a PR trap-where is justice?

  • Posted by Stephen Rieck

    The “sick math” as referenced in a previous article continues here. Whereas 77% civilian causalities is considered a “huge over-representation,” 25% (women and men under 15) is acceptable. It is important to remember that the remaining 75% are not combatants, but match the broad demographic of “men above age 15.”

    A nation must pursue and stop threats to their security, but must do so with both eyes open. Collateral damage and civilian casualties should not be white-washed or marginalized. If a nation wishes to avoid bad press, then they must change the circumstances that lead to it.

  • Posted by mary

    and what numbers do you have for Isrtaeli casualties over all the years?

  • Posted by ah

    I’d personally love to hear Mr. Abrams respond to his own role in making this mess in the first place:


  • Posted by a.h

    I’d personally love to hear Mr. Abrams respond to his own role in making this mess in the first place:


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