#ISRAELHAMASWAR. Death in Gaza. The war of numbers: the UN partially retracts Hamas data


Between May 6 and 8, the UN halved its estimates of the number of women and children killed in Gaza. The estimates were based on Hamas numbers and remember that all mortality estimates from that source are unreliable.

This was written in an article on cfr.org, according to which: “Since the beginning of the Gaza war on October 7, almost every statement on Palestinian victims has been based on Hamas numbers. “Gaza Ministry of Health” or “Government Media Office” are the usual sources, as if those words mean anything other than Hamas.”

“The UN declared 23,084 deaths by January 7. On February 29, NPR said that more than 30,000 people had been killed.” “Time Magazine published an article on March 15 by a professor at Columbia University’s School of Public Health who claimed that more than 30,000 had died and said: In reality, the numbers are probably conservative. The science is extremely clear.” President Biden himself used the figure of 30,000 in his State of the Union address.

According to professor Abraham Wyner of the Wharton School at Penn, in an article in Tablet Magazine. He states that “The numbers are not real. This is obvious to anyone who understands how natural numbers work. The victims are not mainly women and children…”.

Suddenly the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Activities (OCHA) revised its figures. The Jerusalem Post reported the story on May 11: “On May 6, the UN released data showing that 34,735 people had been killed in Gaza, including more than 9,500 women and more than 14,500 children. On May 8, the United Nations released data showing that 34,844 people had been killed, including 4,959 women and 7,797 children.”

OCHA did not explain its actions, but the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies did: “The UN attributed its higher original figures to the Hamas-controlled Government Media Office (GMO) in Gaza, whose data OCHA has cited continuously over the past two months. The UN provided no source for the lower figures in its May 8 update, but the figures match exactly those in a May 2 report from another Hamas-controlled organization, the Gaza Ministry of Health ”.

As David Adesnik of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies noted, “This change may indicate that the UN has finally acknowledged the lack of evidence behind Hamas’ original claims that more than 14,000 children and 9,000 women were killed in Gaza. If this were the case, the UN should clearly declare that it has lost trust in the sources whose credibility it has claimed for months.” But of course, who’s to say that Hamas’ new, lower numbers are credible? And why accept the total of over 34,000, when Hamas has acknowledged that it cannot identify and provide names for 10,000 of these?

According to the journalist who wrote the article, Elliott Abrams, “Hamas’ figures are not credible and if OCHA has finally recognized this it is a positive step. But it should be acknowledged openly, not written up in a longer report. OCHA still uses Hamas data (i.e. that of the Gaza Ministry of Health) to provide the total number of people killed, and should reflect on whether such numbers are more reliable when they emerge from the same source: Hamas.”

And he concludes: “It is obvious that this war is a calamity for the civilians of Gaza and that thousands have been killed and others injured. Hamas wants the world to believe that the main victims and victims were women and children, an argument almost universally accepted until very recently. Now even the UN, or part of the UN, silently acknowledges that it blindly accepted Hamas numbers intended to mislead.”

Antonio Albanese e Graziella Giangiulio

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