We’ve all heard by now the death tolls from the war in Gaza. More than 1,200 Palestinians reportedly died during the fighting. Israel maintains that at least 700 of those killed were terrorists. Hamas says far fewer were fighting and the majority killed were civilians.
The United Nations and the Red Cross are in Gaza now trying to figure out what happened but they appear to be getting their information from sources affiliated with Hamas.
The Jerusalem Post reported today about an Italian journalist who did his own investigation and found that Hamas appears to have inflated the overall number of casualties. No more than 600 people total died, alleges Lorenzo Cremonesi, a correspondent for Italy’s Corriere della sera.
According to Cremonesi’s findings, Gazans would shout at Hamas fighters who came close, telling them to go away rather than bring Israeli retaliation upon their homes.
The Hamas men would then respond:
“Traitors, collaborators with Israel, spies of Fatah, cowards! The soldiers of the holy war will punish you. And in any case you will all die, like us. Fighting the Zionist Jews we are all destined for paradise. Do you not wish to die with us?”
The IDF has said that the journalist’s numbers are false and they have a list of at least 900 Palestinian casualties, 750 of whom were affiliated with Hamas.
This would not be the first time that the Palestinian terror groups have inflated casualty numbers. Recall the Jenin “massacre” when Islamic Jihad claimed hundreds of Palestinian civilians had been killed by Israel during Operation Defensive Shield. That number was later found to be closer to 35. By the end of this investigation I would not be surprised if the casualty numbers are again readjusted.
Meanwhile, there is another conflict brewing within the Palestinian territories. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ term officially ended last week and Hamas leaders have been saying for months that they would not recognize his authority (I must have missed when they ever did) after that date. Abbas argues that a clause in Palestinian law allows him another year.
While members of Fatah were fighting alongside Hamas against Israel, Hamas was also reportedly torturing and executing Fatah members suspected of collaborating with Israel or just against Hamas.
The conflict between Hamas and Fatah is going to come to a head again and it’s likely to happen within the coming months. The Palestinian civil war is far from over.