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.