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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Doctored Gaza casualty claims accepted as 'proof' Israel committed war crimes

Palestinian NGOs have doctored Gaza casualty claims, and these fake statistics are widely quoted to back claims that Israel killed "civilians."

PCHR's Gaza casualty claims discredited (again)

An in-depth report by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzilya) has exposed the false casualty claims of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) regarding the Gaza fighting (January 2009). According to the report:

"by checking the names on the PCHR list against Hamas websites, we found that many of those claimed by PCHR to be ―civilians were in fact hailed as ―militant martyrs by Hamas. Others listed by PCHR as ―civilians killed in Israeli raids later turned out to be Fatah members killed by Hamas, some of them in ―execution style killings. While both PCHR and ICT consider civil policemen to be noncombatants, our researchers found that many of the civil policemen killed also held operational ranks in the Hamas ―military wing. In fact, due to the structure of the Hamas ―military, it was difficult to draw a clear dividing line between purely civilian police functions and activity in support of ―military operations."

Independent research by bloggers and Jonathan Dahoah Halevi confirm these findings, which follow criticism of PCHR from NGO Monitor and CAMERA.

PCHR claims that only 236 out of 1,417 fatalities were combatants (16.6%). The IDF figures contrast sharply with these numbers: 709 affiliated with terror organizations, 295 classified as "uninvolved [in hostilities]," and 162 not-yet-identified.

PCHR's "statistics" have been widely cited as authoritative by NGOs and the media.

Also, on April 29, 2009, PCHR "Call[ed] upon the PNA [Palestinian National Authority] to announce an immediate moratorium on the use of [the] death penalty," after a Palestinian court sentenced a defendant to death for "treason and selling Palestinian lands to Israel." While not commenting on the issue of the alleged "crimes," PCHR also condemned Palestinian penal codes that "violate[] international standards of fair trial and do[] not include fair and independent mechanisms of appeal."

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