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Gaza civilian death statistics 50% incorrect, according to fresh UN data

Palestinians at the site of a destroyed building from an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 5, 2024. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The United Nations has released new data indicating a significant reduction (50%) in the reported deaths of women and children in Gaza.

“The UN has so far not been able to produce independent, comprehensive, and verified casualty figures,” the world body stated in its disclaimer.

The UN data, published on May 6, indicates that of the 34,735 total fatalities in Gaza, more than 9,500 were women and 14,500 were children. This data, provided by Hamas, suggests that women and children comprised nearly 70% of the casualties.

UN statistics on fatalities in Gaza published on May 6. (Image: United Nations)

However, two days later, the UN published new revised data indicating that 4,959 women and 7,797 children, out of a total of 34,844 Gazans, had been killed since Hamas launched its devastating attack against Israel on Oct. 7.

Revised UN statistics on fatalities in Gaza published on May 8. (Image: United Nations)

According to the revised data, women and children now constitute 36% – instead of the previously claimed 70% – of total Gazan fatalities.

A detailed analysis of the reported deaths in Gaza since Oct. 7 indicates that approximately 10,000 people have died due to a variety of reasons. These include natural causes, misfired rockets from Hamas intended for Israel, and targeted shootings by terrorists.

Professors Gregory Rose, Lewi Stone and Tom Simpson have spent months analyzing Hamas figures and published their findings in March. They were the first to conclude that the figure of 70% was statistically impossible.

Critics have systematically blasted Israel for allegedly killing a disproportionate number of women and children. These same critics have largely failed to publicly hold Hamas to account for its systematic use of civilians, including children, as human shields – a war crime under international law.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, for example, has used unconfirmed Hamas figures to criticize Israel for not “doing enough” to minimize civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.

Over the past seven months, Hamas has propagated the claim that the majority of casualties were women and children. However, recent UN data reveals a different composition of fatalities: 40% were men, while children accounted for 32% and women 20%.

Professor Abraham Wyner, a prominent statistics expert from UPenn Wharton’s Department of Statistics and Data Science, also published a detailed article in March on this subject. Wyner accused Hamas of fabricating the number of civilian fatalities in order to increase international pressure on Israel to end its military operation.

The statistics professor argued that the alleged fatalities were increasing with unrealistic regularity.

“The graph of total deaths by date is increasing with almost ‘metronomical’ linearity,” Wyner wrote in Tablet Magazine. “There should be days with twice the average or more and others with half or less.”

Furthermore, Wyner noted that the data provided by Hamas lacked a correlation between the numbers of women and children.

“Consequently, on the days with many women casualties, there should be large numbers of children casualties, and on the days when just a few women are reported to have been killed, just a few children should be reported,” he wrote.

Later in March, Gabriel Epstein from The Washington Institute provided similar conclusions in his analytical piece, “Gaza Fatality Data Has Become Completely Unreliable.”

The official Gaza death figures do not distinguish between civilians and armed terrorists. The Israeli military has estimated that it has eliminated between 14,000 and 15,000 terrorists from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Gaza Health Ministry (GHM) also does not provide data showing how many deaths resulted from misfired Hamas rockets and missiles.

In early May, the GHM admitted for the first time that it could not account for over 10,000 of the war casualties it had previously claimed.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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