Israel-based Begin-Sadat Center’s report: “Hamas has been known to remove evidence from sites where its own rockets caused the damage.”
According to a new research paper published by the Israeli-based Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), misfired Hamas rockets may have cause more than a third of the reported Palestinian casualties in last month’s Gaza conflict.
Out of total 280 deaths reported by the Hamas-run health ministry during the 11-day conflict, astray Palestinian rockets may have killed at least 91 Gazans. “The estimate arrived at is 91, amounting to 36% of the alleged Palestinian death toll,” found the six-page report compiled by noted Israeli researcher and author Dr. Alex Safian.
The mainstream media used the death toll issued by Hamas-controlled Gaza agencies to portray Israel as the aggressor during the last month’s conflict. However, it began when Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist groups started firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli towns and cities.
As Legal Insurrection reported earlier this month, Israeli strikes against Hamas and its allied terrorist groups were highly effective. Most of the casualties were those of the terrorists.
The report shows the natural asymmetry of the conflict. Israel undertook every possible measure to minimize casualties on both sides. The terrorist group Hamas deliberately placed Gazans in harm’s way and exploited their suffering for propaganda tools against the Jewish States:
Much of the coverage and commentary surrounding the fighting in May between Hamas and Israel has focused on numbers, especially the much larger number of Palestinians than Israelis killed, the report said. The number of deaths is actually very low for such an intense conflict, a testament to Israel’s Iron Dome and civil defense systems, and its use of precision weapons and warnings aimed at minimizing Palestinian civilian deaths.
The study highlights the death and destruction caused by the misfired rockets launched by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups that landed inside Gaza. Out of estimated 4,500 missiles fired by Palestinian terrorists, some 680 went astray and exploded in Gaza. “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 report explained.
The study backs up its revised casualties figures with the evidence coming from Palestinian sources themselves:
There is direct evidence that some of these Palestinian deaths were caused by errant Palestinian rockets and mortars that fell in Gaza rather than in Israel. The NGO Defense for Children International-Palestine (an extremely anti-Israel organization) tweeted on May 11 that on the previous day, a Palestinian rocket landed in Jabalya in northern Gaza that killed eight Palestinians, including two children.
In another tweet, the same organization noted an explosion, also on May 10, in Beit Hanoun in which six Palestinian children and two adults were killed, though it could not confirm the cause. According to ITIC, those deaths too were caused by a Palestinian rocket that went astray.
That 16 Palestinians, including eight children, were killed in just one day by two errant Palestinian rockets underscores just how dangerous these projectiles are. Considering that 680 Palestinian rockets and mortars landed inside Gaza during the 11 days of fighting, this one-day toll suggests that a significant number of Gaza residents were killed by those weapons.
To really know how many would require evidence like radar intercepts, eyewitness testimony, and forensic examination of specific locations for each incident, none of which is ever likely to be available. In addition, Hamas has been known to remove evidence from sites where its own rockets caused the damage.
The low number of Israeli casualties is a result of the country’s relentless effort to protect civilians. Israel has invested substantially in protective civilians infrastructure, emergency medical services, and missile defense systems that save lives after battling terrorism for decades:
Israel has a very effective civil defense system that uses early warning sirens and app alerts to notify people of rockets heading their way so they can rush to a shelter. There are concrete shelters along highways and on roads in Israeli cities close to Gaza, and many homes in Israel have reinforced safe rooms. All new construction is required to have such rooms, and many older homes have been retrofitted at government expense. These measures greatly minimize casualties even for rockets that explode in populated areas and create a further correction factor when comparing to deaths that would be caused by similar rockets falling inside Gaza. (…)
From long and unfortunate experience with wars and Palestinian terrorism, Israel has developed a world-class system for dealing with life-threatening injuries, meaning that a significant portion of the Israelis who sustained serious wounds in the current round of fighting would have died with the lower level of trauma care typical in Gaza. This would again increase the estimate of Palestinian deaths, but as with the building factor, it does not seem possible to account for this difference in a quantitative way, so it is ignored in the above analysis.
Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups used billions of dollars in foreign aid to amass thousands of deadly and precision rockets, as well as building terrorist infrastructure, such as miles of terror tunnels running below Gaza’s civilian areas.
The report outlines Hamas’s massive terrorist build-up at the cost of civilian welfare and development:
If Hamas insists on attacking Israel, the least it could do is use some of the large amounts of foreign aid it has received (for example, the $2.7 billion pledged in 2014) to build, as Israel has, civil defenses to protect its population. Instead, it has devoted almost all its efforts to attacking Israel with weapons such as rockets, mortars, incendiary balloons, snipers, and anti-tank rockets.
But perhaps its greatest spending has been on the construction of extensive tunnels and facilities under Gaza to hide its fighters, leaders, arms caches, and rocket launchers. Each mile of tunnel is estimated to cost $800,000. Up to 2014 alone, it was estimated that Hamas had spent over $1.25 billion on tunnel construction.
Consider how much good could have been done for the Palestinian people of Gaza had that money been spent on civilian development. Instead, even though Hamas knows full well that attacking Israel will provoke a response, rather than providing protection for Gaza’s civilians Hamas digs tunnels underneath those civilians—in fact, hides behind them—at enormous cost.
It would be naïve to expect anything different from a jihadi terrorist group like Hamas, but it is more troubling to see the mainstream media gullibly paddling Palestinian propaganda. They decried Israel for its low civilian casualties while refusing to hold Islamist Hamas accountable for its contempt for civilian lives on both sides.DONATE
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