IDF Btselem

In respone to an Approximately six months ago the IDF publicized official statistics, gathered and confirmed by the Research Division of the IDF Defense Intelligence, citing the number of casualties during Operation Cast Lead. According to these statistics, there were 1,166 Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip, the majority of which (709) were terror operatives affiliated with the Hamas terror organization, some of whom belonged to other terror groups. The "B'Tselem" report is not based on facts or on accurate statistics. Furthermore, among its sources, B'Tselem officially states that it based its findings, on cross referencing statistics from investigations of Palestinian human rights groups and various websites and blogs, including those of the militant wings of terror organizations and that of the Palestinian Police. The discrepancy in the numbers is based on the fact that B'Tselem's sources are organizations with a vested interest, and it does not have the tools, nor the intelligence capabilities with which it can within a necessary degree of confidence know the causes of death or the affiliations of these casualties. The Hamas terror organization is hiding these statistics so that it can play on international public opinion so as to increase support in its violent acts of terror. For example, the way in which Hamas "police officers" are categorized in the report, where Hamas is presenting operatives in its military wing as police officers whose job is to enforce law and order. This is done in order to minimize the number of casualties amongst its forces, while inflating the number of civilian casualties. By shifting public attention to the number of casualties, Hamas is diverting attention from the real issue, in which this terror organization specifically and deliberately endangered the lives of the residents in the Gaza Strip, where on the other hand, as much as was possible, the IDF sought to prevent the harm of uninvolved noncombatant civilians. It should be remembered, that the IDF engaged in Operation Cast Lead after a prolonged period of continuous rocket and mortar fire on hundreds of thousands of Israeli residents. The firing of these rockets was done from within population centers in the Gaza Strip, while using the local residents as a human shield from behind which it would launch its terror attacks. OTR: 1.With regards to the categorization of the "police officers," information can be found that proves their terrorist activities on the website of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center: 2.An example of the double use of Hamas "police officers" in reports can be openly seen in a statements made on June 28, in which the Hamas Minister of the Interior, Hamad Fatahi, and also Haled Mashal himself, admitted that on the first day alone, 400 or 500 "Hamas warriors" had died. Furthermore, as Hamas has a policy of withholding information regarding sustained casualties during the operation, it is possible that the number of terror operatives who were killed is higher than the IDF's calculations. 3.It should also be stated the Manager of Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health and Emergency Services Ministry stated that there were approximately 1400 casualties during Operation Cast Lead. A possible explanation for this discrepancy is that a number alone was given unsupported by identifying names, as well as the addition of natural death cases, which stands at approximately 400 per month in the Gaza Strip, possibly caused by the confusion at Gaza Strip hospitals during the operation. ............... Following the publication of reports that introduced false information originating from various Palestinian sources, and in order to remove any doubt regarding the number of Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead, the IDF wishes to introduce the accurate figures to the public. The figures were gathered following the examination of various intelligence sources and after the names and numbers were thoroughly cross-referenced and examined. According to the data gathered by the Research Department of the Israel Defense Intelligence, there were 1166 names of Palestinians killed during Operation Cast Lead. 709 of them are identified as Hamas terror operatives, amongst them several from various other terror organizations. Additionally, there are 162 names of men that have not yet been attributed to any organization. Furthermore, it has come to our understanding that 295 uninvolved Palestinians were killed during the operation, 89 of them under the age of 16, and 49 of them were women. The IDF wishes to emphasize that its objective during Operation Cast Lead was to target the Hamas terror organization and not the citizens of the Gaza Strip. It must be stressed that the fighting took place in a complex battlefield, defined by the Hamas terror organization itself. The Hamas terror organization placed the primary fighting scene at the heart of civilian neighborhoods, as it booby-trapped homes, fired from schools, and used civilians as human shields. The IDF took extensive measures in order to prevent harming uninvolved civilians, including the dropping of leaflets, broadcasting warnings in local Palestinian media, and placing numerous phone calls to homes. The procedure of making use of warning shots and the briefing of the commanders to take extra precaution in populated areas were also among the measures taken by the IDF.