April 23, 2019

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B’Tselem accidentally reveals how careful the IDF is in targeting


B’Tselem’s Gaza war site lets you filter deaths by many criteria. Even though they tend to avoid labeling people as militants if they can, something interesting can be seen when you look at men between 20 and 30 killed during Protective Edge:

A total of 771 men in that age group were killed during the war, according to B’Tselem. Of those, the site says, only 184 did not participate in hostilities. About 3 out of 4 of all men killed in that category were terrorists.

Now, Gaza has about 200,000 men between 20 and 30. Perhaps 10% of those men are members of terror groups. So Israel did an excellent job in targeting terrorists in that age group – even though terrorists generally wouldn’t wear uniforms during the war.

Some of the “civilians” in that age group appear to be miscategorized:

‘Abd a-Rahman Muhammad ‘Odeh Barrak. 24 years old, resident of Wadi a-Salqa, Deir al-Balah district. Killed on 19 Jul 2014, in Deir al-Balah, by gunfire. Did not participate in hostilities. Additional information: Killed along with three other operatives in a military branch in the bombing of farmland in the east of the city of Deir al-Balah.

Some of the “civilians” were probably not so innocent, as B’Tselem’s description of this man shows:

‘Udai Rafiq Sa’id a-Sultan. 21 years old, resident of Beit Lahiya, North Gaza district. Killed on 10 Jul 2014, in Jabalya, North Gaza district, by missile fired from an aircraft, during the course of a targeted killing. Did not participate in hostilities. Additional information: Killed along with two people he was driving in his car, one of them an operative in the Islamic Jihad’s military branch.

If you are driving terrorists around during wartime, that pretty much makes you a combatant under international law.

Many others of the Gazans between 20-30 who were killed happened to be nearby when Israel targeted terrorists, such as this guy:

Saleh a-Zgheibi, 21 years old
Killed on 18 Jul 2014, in Rafah, by gunfire from a tank.
Saleh Suliman Muhammad a-Zgheibi. 21 years old, resident of Rafah. Killed on 18 Jul 2014, in Rafah, by gunfire from a tank. Did not participate in hostilities. Additional information: Killed in the Bahraini neighborhood together with an operative in the military branch of Fatah.

While there are certainly some who cannot be identified as having done anything wrong, the statistics within that age group show very clearly that Israel was targeting only militants among a much larger population.

Which strongly indicates that the children and women and elderly who were killed were also the victims of Hamas’ human shield policy far more than of any sort of carelessness on the IDF’s part. It makes no sense to assert that Israel would be so efficient at targeting terrorists out of the young adult male group and at the same time randomly tossing bombs at houses filled with innocent people, as the NGOs are trying very hard to imply.

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