Hamas Rockets Were Likely Responsible for a Third of the Palestinian Deaths in the Last Gaza War

According to the United Nations, 256 Palestinians lost their lives as a result of last month’s Hamas-Israel war. Alex Safian explains how this statistic became fodder for those eager to believe the worst about the Jewish state:

Numbers were at the heart of much of the coverage and commentary surrounding the fighting in May between Hamas and Israel. One example was the front-page New York Times story and photo spread about the number of (mostly) Palestinian children killed. The images were accompanied by charges that, because more Palestinians died, Israel must have used disproportionate force and therefore committed a war crime. By this logic, Nazi Germany was the victim in World War II and the U.S. the unlawful aggressor, because fourteen times more Germans than Americans were

Moreover, the figure of 256 dead does not mean that Israel caused every one of these deaths. Sixteen Palestinians, for instance, were killed in a single day by just two of the 680 Hamas rockets that fell short and landed within the Gaza Strip during the eleven days of fighting. Using these data, and other available information, Safian extrapolates that an estimated 91 Gazans—36 percent of the entire death toll—lost their lives because of such misfires. He also notes:

Buildings that collapse due to nearby explosions cause extra deaths. This is significant because many buildings in Gaza may have been undermined by Hamas tunneling, adding to their inability to withstand shaking and increasing the Palestinian death toll. In at least one case, an Israeli bomb targeting a Hamas tunnel is believed to have caused such a collapse of an adjacent building, causing over twenty deaths.

If Hamas insists on attacking Israel, the least it could do is use some of the large amounts of foreign aid it has received (for example, the $2.7 billion pledged in 2014) to build, as Israel has, civil defenses to protect its population. Instead, it has devoted almost all its efforts to attacking Israel with weapons such as rockets, mortars, incendiary balloons, snipers, and anti-tank rockets.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Guardian of the Walls, Hamas, IDF, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy