UN Unleashes Controversy, Accusations Of Deception, Over ‘Revised’ Gaza Casualty Data

By TYLER DURDEN – Zerohedge

Since the start of the brutal Gaza conflict in the wake of Oct.7, a public ‘info-war’ has raged over the numbers of wartime casualties, especially on the Palestinian side. Something similar happened in the Syrian war, as well as in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war: either side’s true casualties became a matter of tightly guarded internal secrets on the one hand, and an issue of public propaganda to demean the enemy and hurt their global standing on the other.

Israel especially has faced immense international criticism of late amid allegations of ‘genocide’ given the very obviously high death toll among Gaza civilians. It is even the case that some Israeli officials have at times admitted to extraordinarily high civilian deaths during the campaign, but they have also blamed Hamas for using civilians as ‘human shields’ and launching rockets from densely populated urban areas.

Fresh controversy has been unleashed Monday over how the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) counts the war dead, and the extent to which it relies on Palestinian and Hamas sources:

The United Nations on Monday clarified that the overall number of fatalities in Gaza tallied by the Ministry of Health in Gaza remains unchanged, at more than 35,000, since the war broke out between Israel and Hamas on October 7.

The clarification comes after the UN humanitarian agency OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) published a report on May 8 with revised data regarding the number of Palestinian casualties in the war. The UN agency in its report reduced the number of women and children believed to have been killed in the war by nearly half.

The number was reduced because the UN says it is now relying on the number of deceased women and children whose names and other identifying details have been fully documented, rather than the total number of women and children killed. The ministry says bodies that arrive at hospitals get counted in the overall death count.

AFP via Getty Images

According to more via CNN:

UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told a daily briefing at the UN that the health ministry in Gaza recently published two separate death tolls – an overall death toll and a total number of identified fatalities. In the UN report, only the total number of fatalities whose identities (such as name and date of birth) have been documented was published, leading to confusion.

Earlier in the day a FOX headline had alleged that the new UN figures show that almost 50% less women and children were killed than previously reported by the UN office:

According to an infographic published in OCHA’s daily report on May 6, the number of women killed in the fighting was said to be 9,500, while the organization, which admits to relying on figures from the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza, claimed that 14,500 children had been killed since the war began on Oct. 7

Two days later, in its May 8 report, the U.N. agency appeared to have cut the number nearly in half, showing instead that some 4,959 women and 7,797 children had been killed so far in the war, which began after thousands of Hamas-led terrorists infiltrated southern Israel from Gaza, slaughtering more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking some 240 people hostage. 

Israel’s long-running complaint is that the Hamas-Run Gaza Health Ministry consistently exaggerates the death figures, or else tends round up or impose demographic classifications even when details of a particular death are unknown or unverified. On Monday the ministry said that total deaths since Oct.7 have surpassed 35,000.

Critics of the UN have been quoted as saying, “U.N. agencies have consistently shown they prefer to trust the numbers coming out of Hamas-controlled sources rather than doing basic due diligence.”

Pro-Israel critics of both the UN office and Gaza’s health ministry have pointed to deep inconsistencies in accounting for casualties and have rejected the “fog of war” defense…

Israel has also long maintained that a huge proportion of the total number of Palestinian deaths were actually armed Hamas combatants – and herein lies the heart of the controversy and questions over discrepancies.

However, it should be kept in mind that all parties to some extent admit that civilian casualties are tragically and horrifically high.

Even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself has recently acknowledged a very high number of Palestinians civilians dead…

Ultimately, Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the Palestinian deaths, but admitted Israel “killed 14,000 terrorists” & a “slightly bigger number, about 16,000 civilians” according to a recent interview with Dr. Phil in Israel.

The Israeli leader said those civilians “were killed in the places where the terrorists won’t let them leave” – thus ultimately seeking to absolve his own forces from any responsibility. He has also echoed this in other recent media interviews:

“Fourteen thousand [Hamas terrorists] have been killed, combatants, and, probably around 16,000 civilians have been killed,” Netanyahu told the “Call Me Back” podcast.

The estimate is slightly lower than the numbers provided by the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, which put the total death count at more than 35,000. The ministry’s estimate does not differentiate between terrorists and civilians.

Still, the grim reality remains that this far outpaces civilian deaths even from more than 2-years of the Ukraine war.

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