- An Israeli counter-terrorism research group claims in
a new study that Palestinian and Israeli death tolls from the "Al-Aqsa
Intifada" are being grossly misrepresented, most likely for political
- The www.ict.org.il International Policy Institute for
Counter-Terrorism, or ICT, is calling the latest Palestinian intifada -
begun in September 2000 - an "engineered tragedy," because death
toll figures being utilized by the Palestinians are creating "an image
of lopsided slaughter, with Israel cast as the villain."
- Since the violence began, the ICT says around 1,450 Palestinians
have been killed, compared to about 525 Israelis. Though on the surface
the figures appear to indicate rampant Israeli violence against helpless
Palestinian civilians, the figures actually "lump combatants in with
noncombatants, suicide bombers with innocent civilians, and report Palestinian
'collaborators' murdered by their own compatriots as if they had been killed
- "More meaningful figures show that Israel is responsible
for around 568 Palestinian noncombatant deaths, while Palestinians have
killed more than 420 Israeli noncombatants," said the study. "Over
50 percent of the Palestinians killed were actively involved in fighting
- and this does not include stone-throwers or 'unknowns.'"
- Furthermore, researchers found that "Palestinians
are directly responsible for the deaths of at least 185 of their own number
- one out of every eight Palestinians killed" in the conflict thus
- Don Radlauer, an associate researcher with ICT, said
he and his colleagues did an in-depth statistical study of fatalities on
both sides of the conflict to reach their conclusions. Researchers broke
down fatalities in terms of age, sex and whether or not they were combatants.
- In so doing, Radlauer said, the ICT found that "while
Israeli fatalities in the conflict have consisted of almost 80 percent
noncombatants (and over 80 percent before the substantial IDF casualties
suffered during the Jenin incursion of April 2002), Palestinian fatalities
have consisted of more combatants than noncombatants."
- The proportion of Israeli women killed was relatively
low when the conflict broke out, but has risen to about 30 percent at present.
- "Since June 2001, this proportion has remained fairly
stable," the study said. "Palestinian fatalities, in contrast,
have been consistently and overwhelmingly male," to the tune of around
- "If we include combatants and fatalities for whom
responsibility is unclear, 61 Palestinian females have been killed; the
corresponding Israeli figure is 170," researchers said.
- Officials at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.,
did not return phone calls seeking comment. The Palestinian Center for
Human Rights in Gaza City did not return a request for comment before press
- Meanwhile, ICT researchers said the main reason why the
number of Palestinian "civilians" killed may seem out of proportion
is because of the nature of the conflict and the combatants battling it
out in the streets.
- "In any conflict between a country with conventionally
organized military and police forces and an opposing force mostly composed
of non-uniformed 'irregulars,' the uniformed forces cannot avoid killing
a disproportionate number of 'civilians,'" said the study, "since
even their most deadly opponents are usually not members of an official
military, and in many cases have perfectly respectable 'day jobs.'"
- In terms of classifying Israeli casualties, the study
said it should be easier to do, but in many cases was not because "a
substantial number of Israeli fatalities, especially those killed inside
'Israel proper,' have been members of the civil police or noncombatant
members of the Israel Defense Forces - such as office workers and mechanics."
- Yesterday, a 70-year-old Palestinian man was shot and
killed in an exchange of gunfire between a Palestinian gunman and Israeli
- The Jerusalem Post said the gunman was being identified
by Shin Bet security forces when he pulled out a pistol and shot a police
officer. Witnesses said the gunman fled as 20 other police officers engaged
him in gunfire.
- Initially, Israeli sources said the Palestinian man was
killed by the gunman, but the Post said that version of events is still
- ICT researchers found that "while overall Palestinian
deaths outnumber Israeli deaths by almost three to one, Israeli 'mature
noncombatant' deaths are almost double the equivalent Palestinian fatalities."
- Also, researchers say the evidence argues against accusations
that the Israeli military is intentionally targeting Palestinian civilians.
- "The fact that Palestinian deaths caused by Israeli
actions do not, as a rule, follow the same pattern would seem to undermine
claims that Israel deliberately targets Palestinian civilians," the