MORE ON ISRAEL’S PHONY CASUALTY FIGURES (FROM A CORRESPONDENT)

In response to claims questioning the veracity of human rights organizations’ breakdown of Gaza casualty figures (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/world/middleeast/civilian-or-not-new-fight-in-tallying-the-dead-from-the-gaza-conflict.html?_r=0 , http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28688179) ,  Amira Hass explained that the “[...] the number of young men killed in Gaza was relatively high compared to their size within the population”, due to the fact that “public space” in Gaza was “appropriated mainly by men”(http://normanfinkelstein.com/2014/israels-phony-casualty-figures/). There is, however, a more straightforward response: there’s no rational basis to expect that Gaza casualty figures would reflect young men’s proportion within the population. Such an expectation would arguably be valid only if virtually every square meter in Gaza had been hit by indiscriminate fire, producing a lottery-like effect where every member of the population had equal chances of being hit. This happens to be a counter-factual scenario, since no human rights group has claimed Israel used only indiscriminate fire. Some areas were indeed hit by indiscriminate fire, but there was also plenty of precise targeting, both of civilian homes and Hamas militants, which would immediately raise some men’s chances of being hit.  To sum up, the notion of an exclusively indiscriminate use of fire in Gaza constitutes a straw man.

(An Israeli correspondent)