Hamas’s Fraudulent Casualty Figures

Secretary Blinken also commented that “the daily toll that [Israel’s] military operations continue to take on innocent civilians remains too high,” in almost the same breath as his enumeration of the extraordinary steps the IDF is taking to minimize that toll. Perhaps he privately told the Israeli officials with whom he met how he came to this conclusion, or what he believes the appropriate civilian cost of such a military operation should be. And perhaps Blinken, like many observers in the West, has accepted the casualty figures released by Hamas and repeated credulously by the UN.

In a detailed numerical analysis, Gabriel Epstein examines those figures and the data offered to back them up, and finds them woefully inconsistent:

Expecting significant precision or accuracy in death tolls in a war zone, where estimates often range in the tens of thousands, is a fool’s errand. What can be said for certain is that Hamas-produced statistics are inconsistent, imprecise, and appear to have been systematically manipulated to downplay the number of militants killed and to exaggerate the proportion of noncombatants confirmed as dead. The Gaza Health Ministry and Gaza Media Office figures are cited widely, in many cases without caveats, often to claim that Israel is engaging in indiscriminate bombardment or attempted genocide, primarily targeting women and children.

Read more at Washington Institute

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, IDF


Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy