June 7, 2024 | Flash Brief

New Report Determines Percentage of Civilian Casualties Has Fallen Sharply in Gaza

June 7, 2024 | Flash Brief

New Report Determines Percentage of Civilian Casualties Has Fallen Sharply in Gaza

Latest Developments

Despite persistent claims from the Hamas-run Ministry of Health that women and children account for more than 70 percent of fatalities in Gaza, the ministry’s own data show that 62 percent of those who died in April were adult males or had no reported gender, according to a new analysis from the Associated Press. The ministry identified the remaining 38 percent as women or minors.

“The trend is significant because the death rate for women and children is the best available proxy for civilian casualties,” AP observed, “yet the shift went unnoticed for months by the UN and much of the media, and the Hamas-linked Health Ministry has made no effort to set the record straight.”

This admission from the AP carries unusual weight because the wire service’s own reporting played a pivotal role in protecting the Health Ministry’s credibility after exposure of its false claims of Israeli responsibility for a massive explosion at Gaza’s Al Ahli Arab Hospital last October. While the media and the UN did not probe the Health Ministry data on which they relied for months, independent analysts, including FDD scholars, exposed numerous flaws in the data as early as January.

Expert Analysis

“The media is slowly starting to examine Hamas’s propaganda numbers and grudgingly admitting that something doesn’t add up. Of course, the blood libel they have willingly spread against Israel already has done irreversible damage.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“For six-plus months, the UN and the media, not to mention the White House, failed to conduct basic due diligence on numbers from the Hamas-run Health Ministry they publicized uncritically. Let’s hope this marks a turning point, where all those organizations begin to examine how their efforts validated Hamas propaganda.” — David Adesnik, FDD Senior Fellow and Director of Research

Biden Administration Relies on Data From Hamas-Run Health Ministry

In his State of the Union address in March, President Joe Biden said, “More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed” in Gaza without informing his audience that the Hamas-run Ministry of Health was the source of his claim. Last month, the State Department defended the administration’s reliance on the Health Ministry’s data on the grounds that “international organizations generally deem [them] credible.”

UN Dramatically Cuts Death Gaza Toll for Women and Children

On May 6, the UN reported that more than 24,000 women and children had lost their lives in Gaza. On May 8, that figure suddenly fell to less than 13,000, with the UN providing no explanation until journalists began to notice the shift. A spokesman for the world body insisted that the change simply represented a new way of presenting the same information. In fact, the UN consciously chose to stop reporting inflated numbers from Gaza’s Government Media Office, whose methodology the UN’s humanitarian office had described in December as “unknown.”

Hamas’s Casualty Numbers Games,” by David Adesnik

The Gaza Health Ministry Flimflam,” by David Adesnik

How the UN Got Away With Wildly Inflating Casualty Numbers in Gaza,” by David Adesnik

Hamas-Run Gaza Health Ministry Admits to Flaws in Casualty Data,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

International Organizations Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics