Alex Safian is research director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA). BESA Center has published his study of Gaza Palestinians killed by errant Hamas rockets fired in the recent hostilities. Here is the executive summary:
Much of the coverage and commentary surrounding the fighting in May between Hamas and Israel has focused on numbers, especially the much larger number of Palestinians than Israelis killed. The number of deaths is actually very low for such an intense conflict, a testament to Israel’s Iron Dome and civil defense systems, and its use of precision weapons and warnings aimed at minimizing Palestinian civilian deaths. Of course, Hamas aims to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible, but its rockets place both Israelis and Palestinians in peril, because many of those rockets—in this case 680—misfire and explode inside Gaza. The death and destruction caused is, of course, usually blamed on Israel. The question addressed here is how many Palestinians are likely to have been killed by these errant Palestinian rockets in May. The estimate arrived at is 91, amounting to 36% of the alleged Palestinian death toll.
Here is one suggestion for improvement that will not be adopted:
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.
The reason Hamas puts no effort into civil defense is obvious. Civilian deaths incidental to hostilities are instrumental to their purposes.
The organs of the mainstream media — the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, and all the rest — are eager to attribute all manner of fault to Israel. Safian is doing the work they decline to do. They prefer to serve Hamas in their own way. Unfortunately, it is impossible to embarrass them.