Weekend long read

1) At WINEP, Gabriel Epstein explains why ‘Gaza Fatality Data Has Become Completely Unreliable’.

“In the first month of the war, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health (MOH) in Gaza relied on its existing collection system, made up primarily of hospitals and morgues, to certify each death. Starting in early November, however, hospitals in northern Gaza began to shut down or evacuate during the Israeli ground invasion, spurring the MOH to introduce a new, undefined methodology for counting fatalities: media reports. This methodology, which the MOH has rarely acknowledged publicly, accounts for the majority of fatalities reported over the past four months, surpassing the traditional collection system.”

2) On the same topic, Tom Simpson, Lewi Stone and Gregory Rose provide ‘A Critical Analysis of Hamas’s Women and Children Casualty Figures’ at the Fathom Journal.

“The Gazan Ministry of Health (MoH) has repeatedly claimed that 70 per cent of Gazan deaths are women and children. We first found the claim in the MoH’s 11 December 2023 report. In 2024, the MoH has repeated this claim in all seven of its reports that we have been able to obtain so far this year. The 70 per cent figure has also been widely cited in the media, with a recent BBC factcheck even using it to criticise IDF statistics on eliminated Hamas combatants. But how trustworthy is the 70 per cent statistic? […]

It turns out this ‘70 per cent’ figure is contradicted by the statistics that the MoH itself provides in its own reports. It is a disinformation tool founded on statistical manipulation rather than realities on the ground. The BBC ‘factcheckers’ and other western media could easily have determined this for themselves, using publicly available information.”

3) At Newsweek, John Spencer explains how ‘Israel Has Created a New Standard for Urban Warfare’.

“In their criticism, Israel’s opponents are erasing a remarkable, historic new standard Israel has set. In my long career studying and advising on urban warfare for the U.S. military, I’ve never known an army to take such measures to attend to the enemy’s civilian population, especially while simultaneously combating the enemy in the very same buildings. In fact, by my analysis, Israel has implemented more precautions to prevent civilian harm than any military in history—above and beyond what international law requires and more than the U.S. did in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

4) At the JCPA, Dr Irwin Mansdorf discusses ‘The Psychology of Palestinian Distortions and Deceptions’.

““Psychological asymmetry” is a term coined in 2008, and its manifestation has persisted for years and is currently on full display in the Israel-Hamas conflict. The premise is that despite being a militarily stronger force, Israel, facing an enemy who manipulates and exploits its own civilian population without regard to safety or well-being, will lose its psychological and narrative edge when the suffering of the enemy population is presented. Indeed, this scenario has historically played out when ceasefires, against Israel’s interests, came into play in Lebanon in 1996 and 2006 and in Gaza in 2012 and 2014, despite the problematic nature of Palestinian casualty reports. Current calls for a ceasefire follow this pattern.”

5) At the Alma Center, Tal Beeri provides the background to recently thwarted weapons smuggling operation which has to date been ignored by the BBC.

“On March 25 it was revealed that the ISA and the IDF had foiled the smuggling of advanced Iranian weapons from Jordan intended for terrorist operatives operating in Judea and Samaria. As we have already reported in the past, our assessment is that the Iranians and Hezbollah exploit the drug smuggling platform between Syria and Jordan to transport these weapons. The destination of these weapons in Judea and Samaria is mainly operatives of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Brigades (Fatah) and operatives from the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades (the PFLP’s military-terrorist wing).”

6) MEMRI provides information on the organisers of anti-Israel demonstrations in Germany.

“As of November 2, 2023, the Samidoun – Palestine Prisoner Solidarity Network, which Germany explicitly banned in November 2023 and which is the foreign affairs’ arm of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which the U.S., EU, and Canada have designated as a terrorist organization, served as the primary organizer of the many rallies and vigils held throughout Germany in support of the Palestinian cause and is known for its antisemitism and for its advocacy for Israel’s elimination.”

7) The ITIC reports on the ‘Expansion of Houthi Activities in the Red Sea’.

“In March 2024 the Houthis continued to attack Israel. On March 18, 2024, the IDF spokesperson announced that a suspicious target crossed into Israeli territory from the Red Sea region and fell in an open area north of Eilat. […] Confirmation came from the IDF spokesperson later when he issued a statement that a cruise missile arriving from the direction of the Red Sea had fallen in an open area north of Eilat. No casualties or damage were reported, and according to reports, the incident was under investigation. It was the first time a Houthi missile or UAV had penetrated Israeli airspace and landed in its territory.”

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