Skip to comments.The al-Aqsa Intifada An Engineered Tragedy
Posted on 06/24/2002 9:42:10 PM PDT by moni kerr
The al-Aqsa Intifada An Engineered Tragedy
A just-completed study at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya provides an in-depth look at the fatalities on both sides of the current Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Based on thorough research using Palestinian and Israeli open sources, the study provides a breakdown of those killed by age, sex, and combatant status. The results lead to some surprising conclusions.
Combatants, Noncombatants, and Responsibility
Around 1450 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the al-Aqsa Intifada, compared to more than 525 Israelis. Numbers like these are used to create an image of lopsided slaughter, with Israel cast as the villain. But such numbers distort the true picture: They lump combatants in with noncombatants, suicide bombers with innocent civilians,and report Palestinian collaborators murdered by their own compatriots as if they had been killed by Israel.
More meaningful figures show that Israel is responsible for around 568 Palestinian noncombatant deaths, while Palestinians have killed more than 420 Israeli noncombatants. Over 50 percent of the Palestinians killed were actively involved in fighting and this does not include stone-throwers or unknowns. And Palestinians are directly responsible for the deaths of at least 185 of their own number one out of every eight Palestinians killed.
On the Israeli side, almost 80 percent of those killed have been noncombatants. While Israelis account for only about 25 percent of the total Intifada fatalities, they represent about 40 percent of the noncombatant victims.
Breakdown by Gender
Women and girls account for 30 percent of all Israelis killed in the conflict, and almost 40 percent of the Israeli noncombatants killed by Palestinians.
Palestinian fatalities, in contrast, have been consistently and overwhelmingly (over 95 percent) male; even when combatants (almost all of whom have been male) are removed from consideration, fewer than 8 percent of Palestinians killed by Israel have been female.
In absolute terms, even though more Palestinians than Israelis have been killed overall, Israeli female fatalities have far outnumbered Palestinian female fatalities. If we include all reliable reports of women and girls killed in the conflict, the ratio is 152 Israeli females compared to 61 Palestinian females a ratio of 2.5 to 1. If we restrict the comparison to noncombatant Israeli females killed by Palestinians and noncombatant Palestinian females killed by Israel, the difference is even more dramatic: 42 Palestinians compared to 150 Israelis, a ratio of more than 3.5 to 1.
Breakdown by Age
Israeli combatant fatalities are concentrated in a narrow age range, as we would expect for soldiers in a uniformed army. Israeli noncombatants, in contrast, display a near-random age distribution. This is equally unsurprising, given that these fatalities are the result of terrorist attacks on accessible civilian targets.
Palestinian fatalities present a quite different picture. Palestinian combatant fatalities, like those on the Israeli side, are concentrated in a narrow age range although this concentration is slightly less pronounced. (This is unsurprising, given that Palestinian combatants are mostly members of unofficial terrorist/guerilla organizations.) Palestinian noncombatant fatalities, however, show an age distribution completely unlike that on the Israeli side. Instead of a sloppy distribution over a broad range of ages, Palestinian noncombatant fatalities are heavily concentrated among teenagers and young adults.
Mature and Young Fatalities
A more specific focus on older and younger victims of the conflict further highlights the difference between Palestinian and Israeli noncombatant fatalities. When we compare the mature noncombatant Israelis killed by Palestinians to the mature Palestinian noncombatants killed by Israel, we see that the Israeli death toll far exceeds the Palestinian. In fact, Palestinians have killed at least 154 noncombatant Israelis aged 40 and over, while Israelis have killed 69 Palestinian noncombatants in the same age bracket. The ratio is more than two to one.
When we look at children and teenaged noncombatants killed in the conflict, we see a rather strange pattern. Among both Palestinians and Israelis, the number of young children (under the age of 8-9 years old) is comparatively small (although more young Israeli children were killed as a proportion of total fatalities). The number of Palestinian children killed begins to increase at about 10 years of age, and jumps up dramatically between the ages of 12 and 14. However, the increase consists entirely of boys the number of Palestinian girls killed shows no age-trend, and is very low for all ages.
Young Israelis killed by Palestinians show a different profile: Both boys and girls show an increase starting at age 14 (perhaps a year earlier for boys), and just as many teenaged girls were killed as teenaged boys.
Another Look at Age and Gender
It is worth taking another look at the relationship between age and gender among the noncombatant victims of the conflict. If we look at Palestinian noncombatants killed by Israel, we see that the few female fatalities appear to be randomly distributed by age. The male fatalities, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly young (although, as noted above, relatively few are below the age of ten). To be more precise, 66 percent of all Palestinian noncombatants killed by Israel were boys and men between the ages of 13 and 30.
Israeli noncombatants killed by Palestinians show a much closer balance between the sexes as mentioned above, three out of eight were women and girls. In fact, slightly more girls than boys were killed below the age of 20; and the ratio is nearly one-to-one for those aged 60 and over.
In contrast to the high percentage of male Palestinian noncombatants between 13 and 30 years of age, only 27 percent of Israeli noncombatants killed by Palestinians were males from 13 to 30 years old.
The Significance of the Statistical Patterns
The statistics show that Israeli noncombatants over the last 21 months have been killed essentially at random, as Palestinian terrorists have chosen to attack whichever civilian targets were accessible. Palestinian fatalities, however, have been strongly concentrated within a particular population segment teenaged boys and young men.
Population segments like women or older people are not military targets; thus their higher prevalence among Israeli fatalities is an indication of the degree to which Palestinian terrorists have killed Israelis simply for the crime of being Israeli.
In contrast, Palestinian noncombatant fatalities have been overwhelmingly young (but over the age of 11) and male. This pattern of Palestinian deaths completely contradicts accusations that Israel has indiscriminately targeted women and children. It is clear that the vast majority of the Palestinians killed did not die as the result of random Israeli attacks on inhabited areas, or on mixed-sex crowds at roadblocks and the like. There appears to be only one reasonable explanation of this pattern: that Palestinian men and boys engaged in behavior that brought them into conflict with Israeli armed forces. Certainly, at least after the first few days of the conflict, these Palestinian men and boys (or, in the case of the younger ones, their parents and teachers) have to have been aware that they were placing themselves in harms way.
In fact, the highly specific pattern of Palestinian noncombatant fatalities suggests that many of these deaths have resulted from an active Palestinian indoctrination campaign glorifying martyrdom effectively encouraging boys and young men to confront Israeli forces and risk death even when there was no real likelihood of causing material harm to Israelis.
Comments from those with knowledge of statistics would be greatly appreciated.
If Golda and Moshe Dyan were around..Peres and Company would be in prison right now..awaiting certain trial for crimes against the State of Israel.