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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured Americans on ABC News on Feb 11: “We’ve brought down the civilian-to-terrorist casualties, the ratio down, to below 1-to-1, which is considerably less than in any other theater of similar warfare. And we’re going to do more.” Earlier, Israel had calculated, and defended, a level of two civilians killed or wounded to every Hamas “terrorist.” Now Netanyahu claims that unnamed “urban warfare experts and other commentators” figure that Israelis “have killed and wounded over 20,000 Hamas terrorists, out of that, about 12,000 fighters.” Leaving aside the matter of 8,000 or so “terrorists” who are not “fighters,” his math is bizarre.

Out of over 96,000 total Palestinians killed or wounded, Netanyahu accounts for around 20,000 non-civilians, leaving about 76,000 civilians killed or wounded. The Gaza Health Ministry (GHM) is the source of the 96,000 figure, and over the last 16 years or so, the GHM figures in previous conflicts have been found to be in line with what independent agencies, after the conflict pauses, are able to examine. Hence, Netanyahu’s count corresponds to a figure of over 79% of the Palestinians killed or wounded being civilians—higher than the GHM’s 70% figure of civilian deaths.

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