One-third of the reported Palestinians deaths in Gaza — some 5,000 out of 15,000 killed — are Hamas terrorists, according to leaks Monday from an off-the-record briefing by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for foreign journalists.
According to the Times of Israel, as in previous conflicts, the overall figure of deaths given by the Hamas-run Gaza ministry of health is fairly accurate, but also misleading, since Hamas does not distinguish between civilian and terrorist deaths.
The Times of Israel reported: “An unnamed IDF official cited by AP says that at least 15,000 Palestinians in Gaza have died since the outbreak of the war on October 7. The army says it estimates more than 5,000 of the Gaza deaths to be Hamas terrorists.”
The ratio of two civilian non-combatants killed to one combatant killed, if accurate, would be one of the lowest in recorded history. NATO forces operating in Afghanistan against the Taliban improved their targeting and rules of engagement such that they killed three or four non-combatants for each terrorist combatant, which was considered a historic low against terrorists that hide among civilian populations and violate the laws of armed conflict.
As one analysis recently noted:
The real measure of the IDF’s accomplishments [in reducing civilian casualties] was articulated by Richard Kemp, leader of the United Kingdom’s armed forces in Afghanistan. Driven by the need to gain the support of the population against the Taliban, the Allied forces made an all-out effort to reduce civilian casualties. By strenuous effort, the Allies brought the ratio of civilian deaths to fighter deaths down to a historically unprecedented level — three to four civilians killed for every fighter. Hamas is a group which deliberately places its military installations and fighters among civilian populations. Yet by 2021, after repeated military conflicts with Hamas, the IDF brought the ratio down to one fighter killed for every civilian killed. No other army in the world has reached such levels of protecting civilians. It is literally true that IDF was the most moral army in the world — on the heartbreaking understanding that a moral army kills as few innocent civilians as possible.
Hamas figures also apparently include terrorists killed in Israel during the October 7 attack — i.e. killed by Israelis in self-defense.
The ratio of one-to-one achieved by the IDF in 2021 occurred during a conflict in which no Israeli ground forces were involved. In the current conflict, IDF forces are engaged in fierce, direct combat with Hamas terrorists on the ground in the densely populated Gaza Strip.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.