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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Civilian Casualties in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Compared to Other Conflicts Involving Western Forces

Filed under: International Law
Publication: Jerusalem Issue Briefs

Civilian Casualties in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Compared to Other Conflicts Involving Western Forces
Francesca Albanese, UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur (Screenshot/YouTube/UN HRC)

Institute for Contemporary Affairs

Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation

Vol. 23, No. 7

  • Since its creation, Israelis have suffered tens of thousands of attacks by Palestinian terrorists. Thousands of people, mostly civilians who were intentionally targeted, have been murdered.

  • The Palestinian terrorists are not part of an established army and do not respect International Humanitarian Law (IHL) or the Laws of War.

  • On most occasions, they intentionally abuse their urban surroundings as cover for their operations. This allows them to blend into the civil population and blur the ability of Israel to identify and distinguish them as combatants.

  • The terrorists often use the surrounding Palestinian civilians as “human shields” to defend against Israeli counter-terror measures. This allows the terrorists and their supporters to use every civilian death as a means to promote a propaganda assault on Israel for the alleged intentional killing of civilians.

  • Most conflicts involving Western militaries today occur far from the homefront, and their civilian population is not under direct threat or attack. In Israel, however, its population is under constant attack. In such a context, if targets are not attacked quickly, this can directly harm Israeli civilians.

  • This report compares the Palestinian death toll in Israeli operations to civilian casualties in Western military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since its creation in 1948, Israel has been under constant attack. Alongside the seven1 wide-scale military operations categorized as “wars,” Israel has suffered tens of thousands of terror attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorists. The Palestinian terror attacks have included, among others, bombings, suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings, missile and rocket fire, and truck/car ramming. Thousands of people, mostly civilians, who were intentionally targeted, have been murdered.

To combat the Palestinian terror and defend its citizens, Israel has implemented many defensive measures, the most extraordinary of which is developing the Iron Dome missile defense system. Notwithstanding these efforts, on many occasions, Israel has also been required to resort to military operations to defend its citizens.

The Palestinian terrorists are not part of an established army and do not respect the International Humanitarian Law/Laws of War (IHL). On most occasions, they intentionally abuse their urban surroundings as cover for their operations, including establishing bomb-making laboratories and hiding and shooting missiles at Israel.

The modus operandi of the terrorists serves multiple goals. First and foremost, it allows them to blend into the civil population and blur the ability of Israel to identify and distinguish them as combatants. Secondly, it will enable the terrorists to abuse their civilian surroundings, and often the civilians themselves are used as “human shields” as a defense against Israeli counter-terror measures. Thirdly, in the absence of the ability to identify many of the casualties as combatants, it allows the terrorists and their supporters to use every death as a means to promote a propaganda assault on Israel for the alleged intentional killing of civilians.

In the last 20 years, the propaganda assault on Israel’s anti-terror operations has increased. In many cases, the assault is led by UN organizations and functionaries together with international, and even some Israeli, NGOs, who falsely claim to be acting to promote human rights.

Working in a concerted and coordinated manner, the anti-Israel UN-NGO coalition is often quick to vilify Israel for any and all of its actions. Distorting IHL principles and blindly accepting the testimonies of the terrorists and the terrorist organizations, the reports often come to the false conclusion that most of those targeted by Israel are civilians and that, in doing so, Israel intentionally commits war crimes.

Exaggeration and the spread of libels, even from UN officials, are commonplace. The most recent example was provided by Francesca Albanese, UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur, for the so-called “occupied Palestinian territories,” on July 10, 2023, during a discussion on her most recent report. While rejecting claims that she is biased against Israel, Albanese falsely claimed2:

“This year, actually over, since the beginning of my mandate [May 1, 2022], I have borne witness to a series of deeply distressing events. 420,000 Palestinians, including 91 children, and 56 Israelis, including five children, have been killed. A significant number of the Israeli casualties were soldiers or armed settlers.”

Following a media backlash highlighting the outrageously inflated number of Palestinian deaths, Albanese issued a correction, saying that instead of the “426,000 Palestinians” killed, the figure was 426. Despite this correction, no clarifying note has been added to the official UN video of the event. In this way, another heinous libel against Israel was set in stone.

But while Albanese corrected her number of Palestinian casualties, she said nothing about her baseless references to the Israeli casualties. In her attempt to intentionally mislead the entire world and to show the disparity between the Palestinian civilian casualties and the Israeli casualties, Albanese claimed that since the start of her mandate on May 1, 2022, 56 Israelis have been killed and that a “significant number of the Israeli casualties were soldiers or armed settlers.” These statements are false.

In reality, since May 1, 2022, Palestinian terrorists have murdered 35 people.3 While Albanese branded the casualties as “soldiers or armed settlers” in a feigned attempt to justify their deaths, in truth, analysis of the victims provides an entirely different picture:

  • Only four of those murdered were soldiers;

  • Seven of the victims were women, including one who was a minor and two others aged 82 and 84;

  • Of the five minors murdered, two were aged 6 and 8;

  • Two of the victims were foreigners, one Ukrainian and one Italian;

  • Only seven of the victims lived in Judea and Samaria. Unless Albanese’s definition of a “settler” includes all Israelis, irrelevant of their place of residence, this is not a significant number;

  • No “significant number” of the victims were “armed settlers.”

In this context of baseless libels being thrown at Israel, this report aims to assess Israel’s conduct in military warfare against the conduct of Western states. To that end, the information will present statistics about civilian deaths arising from specific operations conducted by Israel’s Forces as part of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israel’s anti-terror activities.

Before delving into the specific statistics, it is essential to make several preliminary comments.

At the outset, it is essential to note the broad agreement that urban warfare is substantially more detrimental to civilians than other war settings and conditions. A recent report4 by the International Red Cross focused on the conflicts in Iraq and Syria noted, “Urban offensives account for eight times more conflict-related civilian fatalities in four governorates in Iraq and Syria (March 2017 – July 2018) than ongoing fighting or fighting in other areas.” The Center for Civilians in Conflict (NGO) noted, Urban warfare has a catastrophic impact on civilian populations and poses serious legal and operational challenges. In cities – where 55 percent of the world’s population currently resides – civilians account for 90 percent of the casualties during war.”

Due to the complexities of urban warfare, it has also been the subject of extensive legal analysis, with scores of scholarly articles providing multifaceted considerations.

The Direct Participation in Hostilities

Many articles have been devoted to defining the concept of “direct participation in hostilities” or DPH within this context. In broad terms, the traditional concepts of war, and indeed one of the foundations of IHL, require that the warring sides distinguish between two categories of individuals: soldiers and civilians. While soldiers of the enemy are considered legitimate targets for attack, civilians enjoy immunity from intentional targeting. The question then arises of how to deal with people – such as the Palestinian terrorists – who are not enlisted in a regular army but actively participate in the hostilities.

The discussion on this subject has focused mainly on the temporal extent to which a person is defined as a DPH and can be legitimately targeted. The ICRC,5 for example, sought to limit the definition of a person as a DPH only to the time that the “civilians carry out such acts” – i.e., only to the short period when the civilian was actually actively engaged in hostilities. Criticizing this approach, former Canadian JAG Kenneth Watkin wrote6 that the ICRC definition “failed to attract universal consensus on terms that by their nature are both amorphous and contextually contingent. Resistance to the Interpretive Guidance resulted in part because it is viewed as having defined DPH too narrowly and has suggested applying it in too restrictive a fashion that does not match the realities of contemporary conflict (see the U.S. DoD Law of War Manual, para. 5.8.3, pp 228-32, as well as analysis here, here, here and here).”

In some cases, the absence of a standard definition of a DPH is the source of discrepancies between the different sources regarding the number of “civilian” casualties in any given instance. Regarding Israel, the propensity of Israel’s detractors is to regard almost any person not wearing a uniform of a recognized national army as a civilian. In UN jargon, the notion of a Palestinian terrorist, or even a Palestinian DPH, is almost non-existent.

Since a comprehensive analysis of the definition of a DPH is well beyond the scope of this paper, it suffices to say that no one conclusive definition is used uniformly by all relevant actors.

Within the Israeli-Palestinian context, it is also necessary to differentiate between military operations in the Gaza Strip as opposed to military operations in Judea and Samaria. While Palestinian terrorists in and from Judea and Samaria are responsible for hundreds of Israeli deaths, for the most part, except in 2000 – 2005 when the Palestinian Authority instigated a terror war, the Israeli anti-terror operations have predominantly been based on soldiers “with boots on the ground” carrying out daily ground missions. In contrast, in 2005, Israel completely evacuated its civilian and military presence from the Gaza Strip. Shortly after that, in 2007, Hamas took control of Gaza. Since then, terrorists in Gaza have fired7 over 20,000 missiles, rockets, and mortars, indiscriminately targeting Israel’s civilian population. Consequently, while during specific periods, the level of Palestinian violence and the Israeli response to acts of terror emanating from Judea and Samaria was substantial, the intensity of the Israeli clashes in Gaza is of an entirely different class and often includes measures, such as aerial bombings and incursions using tanks and armored personnel carriers, more easily compared to “combat” situations. Accordingly, the statistics and analysis covered by this report focuses predominantly on Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip.

An additional consideration that needs to be taken into account before comparing the number of Palestinian civilian casualties resulting from Israel’s anti-terror warfare to that of other Western armies is the geographical proximity of the Palestinian terrorist threat to Israel as opposed to the threat posed by terrorists in war arenas far from their Western army’s home front. The close proximity of the threat, its ongoing nature, and the immediate danger to Israel’s civilian population require the Israeli forces to respond quickly, not enjoying the luxury of extended operational planning periods in a far-off land. As the NGO High-Level Military Group succinctly noted8:

“Comparing Israel’s conflict with Gaza is not without difficulties. Most conflicts involving Western militaries today are taking place far from the homefront, and the civilian population is not under direct threat or attack. This means militaries often have less urgency in attacking and can take the time to seek additional intelligence, increase target filtering and selection, and use additional measures to promote evacuation. For Israel, however, geographic proximity to their citizens means that the Israeli population can be under constant attack, as they were during the May 2021 conflict. In such a context, if targets are not attacked quickly, this can directly harm Israeli civilians. For example, as long as a rocket launcher remains intact, it can be used for an attack against Israel, and thus there is urgency in striking the launcher when feasible.”

IDF Rocket Info
Hamas rocket arsenal (IDF Spokesperson)

The penultimate comment that must be taken into account is that the report focuses solely on the number of deaths caused in any given situation. This statistic, in and of itself, and without a broader context, should be read with utmost caution. In particular, within the Israeli context, the anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip were always a response to armed attacks – predominantly rocket fire, indiscriminately targeting Israel’s civilian population – carried out by Palestinian terrorists or under threat of imminent attacks.

The final caveat that must be noted is that, in many cases, it is hard to single out a definitive number of casualties in any given attack, battle, or even campaign. In this context, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is relatively unique in that almost every substantial cycle of intensive conflict is often followed with quick charges against Israel, echoed globally, followed by the relatively slow, more methodical response of Israeli institutions and official statements.

No official Israeli website, or even a website of a pro-Israeli organization, details the number of Palestinians killed, let alone the circumstances of their deaths. While a new initiative will certainly provide a response, albeit initially limited, to this difficulty, in the meantime, the most comprehensive statistics available are on the website of B’Tselem, a fringe Israeli NGO that is more supportive and accepting of the Palestinian narrative than it is of Israel’s right to exist as an independent nation-state of the Jewish people. These statistics are far from being problem-free since in-depth analysis carried out by this author on the basis of the statistics showed them to be heavily biased on the side of defining Palestinian deaths as “civilians,” even when the circumstances of their death demonstrated a different picture. While the statistics provided by B’Tselem are highly interest-based and biased, they are, unfortunately, the most comprehensive available source.

This situation is not unique to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, in most conflict situations, the statistics published are often interest-based and biased and reflect the inherent goals of each organization.

Having laid these foundation stones, it is now possible to compare the Israel operations and their effect on the Palestinian death toll to that of the military operations of other Western armies and their death toll.

Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Before delving into the specifics of each operation, according to B’Tselem,9 since September 2000, there have been 10,360 Palestinian deaths:

  • 7,778 were killed in the Gaza Strip, of whom 2,943 were participating in hostilities.

  • 2,582 were killed in Judea, Samaria, and east Jerusalem, of whom 475 participated in hostilities.

  • 123 were killed in Israel (within the 1949 Armistice lines), of whom 84 were participating in hostilities.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) claims10 that from January 1, 2008, through June 24, 2023, there were 6,354 Palestinian deaths:

  • 5,364 were killed in the Gaza Strip, of whom 1,004 belonged to “armed groups.”

  • 957 were killed in Judea, Samaria, and east Jerusalem, of whom 16 belonged to “armed groups.”

  • 33 were killed in Israel (within the 1949 Armistice lines), all civilians.

Within this context, and subject to the general comments above, this report examined the following Israeli anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip: (1) Operation Cast Lead (2008-9); (2) Operation of Pillar of Defense (2012); (3) Operation Protective Edge (2014); (4) Operation Guardian of the Walls (2021); and (5) the most recent operation in Jenin, informally known as Operation “Bayit Vegan” (2023).

The report will then compare the Israeli-Palestinian conflict against other arenas of military warfare, namely Western intervention in Afghanistan (specifically, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia) and U.S. military conduct in the Iraq War (2003-2011).

Additional attention will also be given to the deaths of journalists.

For the Israeli operations, the report will provide, to the best extent possible in each instance, statistics presented by “official Israel” – i.e. a government source – or by a reliable Israeli NGO, and a second figure of statistics presented by the UN, predominantly by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).11 Where relevant, additional statistics will also be provided to show the range of different reports.

Specific Operations

Operation Cast Lead (27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009)12

  • According to official Israeli sources,13 1,166 Palestinians were killed during the operation, of whom 70914 (60.8%) belonged to terrorist organizations, while 295 (25.3%) were identified as non-combatant civilians.

  • According to UN data15 (taken from the Palestinian Ministry of Health16), 1,314 Palestinian were killed. In the report, the UN did not distinguish between civilians and combatants.

  • According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR),17 there were 1,417 casualties, of whom only 236 (16.7%) were “fighters” and 926 (70.5%) were civilians (Palestinian Centre for Human Rights).

  • According to the pro-Palestinian NGO B’Tselem,18 there were 1,391 casualties, of whom 759 were combatants.

  Israel UN B’Tselem PCHR
Total Deaths 1,166 1,314 1,391 1,417
Combatants At least 709 N/A 759 236

Operation Pillar of Defense (14 – 21 November 2012)

  • According to official Israeli sources,19 177 Palestinians were killed, of whom approximately 120 (67.8%) were combatants.

  • According to the UN,20 174 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, about 168 were killed by the IDF, and 101 were thought to be civilians.

  • According to B’Tselem,21 167 Palestinians were killed, including at least 87 who did not participate in the hostilities, while at least 62 others were identified as having taken part in hostilities.

  Israel UN B’Tselem
Total Deaths 177 174 167
Combatants 120 73 At least 62

Operation Protective Edge (8 July – 26 August 2014)22

  • According to official Israeli sources,23 2,125 Palestinians were killed during the operation, of whom at least 936 (44%) were “militants,” and 761 (36%) were civilians. In June 2015, efforts were still underway to classify the remaining 428 (20%).

  • According to the UN,24 2,131 Palestinians were killed, of whom 279 (13.1%) were members of armed groups, and 1,473 (69.1%) were civilians.

  • According to B’Tselem,25 2,203 Palestinians were killed, of whom at least 785 participated in the hostilities.

  Israel UN B’Tselem
Total Deaths 2,125 2,131 2203
Combatants 936 279 At least 785
Rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza 8 – 31 July 2014
Rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza 8 – 31 July 2014 (IDF Spokesperson)

Operation Guardian of the Walls (10 – 21 May 2021)

  • According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center,26 236 Palestinians were killed in Gaza as a result of IDF actions, of whom 11427 were members of terror organizations, and 101 were civilians with no links to terror networks.


  • According to the UN,28 253 Palestinians were killed, of whom at least 129 were civilians.29


  Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center UN B’Tselem
Total Deaths 236 253 N/A
Combatants At least 114 124  
Map of Hamas rockets that misfired and fell in Gaza
Map of Hamas rockets that misfired and fell in Gaza (IDF Spokesperson)

Operation in Jenin (3 – 5 July 2023)

In contrast to the high-intensity conflicts in Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians, the anti-terror operation conducted by Israel in Jenin from July 3 – 5, 2023, which was considered extraordinary in the low number of Palestinian casualties, resulted in the death of 12 people, mostly terrorists.

  • According to Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center and the Palestinian terror organizations,30 in the counter-terror operation in Jenin, 9 of the 12 people killed were combatants.

  • The UN31 merely stated that 12 people were killed without differentiating between civilians and combatants.

  Israel Other
Total Casualties 12 12
Combatants 9 9

During the four Gaza operations, 3,704 Palestinians were killed, of whom Israel identified at least 1,879 (51%) as combatants. On the other hand, the UN claimed that 3,872 Palestinians had been killed and that only 19% were combatants.

Total Casualties 3704 3872
Combatants 1879 739*
Percentage of casualties who were combatants 51% 19%

* While the UN has not published conclusive data on the number of combatants killed in Operation Cast Lead (2008-9), the figure is drawn from the Goldstone Report that fewer than 1 in 5 Palestinian casualties were combatants.

Comparison of Israeli Conduct to the Conduct of Western Armies

Having provided some statistics of deaths regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the following will provide some of the statistics of deaths from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

Deaths in Iraq War (2003-2011)

As noted previously, finding accurate statistics regarding the number of deaths during war is highly complex. This is not just the case for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but is representative of all armed conflicts. It is also true for the War in Iraq.

According to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs,32 “No one knows with certainty how many people have been killed and wounded in Iraq since the 2003 United States invasion. However, we know that between 280,771-315,190 have died from direct war-related violence caused by the U.S., its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces from the time of the invasion through March 2023.”

The often-cited Iraq Body Count organization, relying on the Iraq War Logs released by WikiLeaks on October 22, 2010, noted33 that from January 2004 to December 2009, there were 109,032 deaths as a result of the war, including 66,081 “Civilian” deaths, 15,196 “Host Nation” deaths, 23,984 “Enemy” deaths, and 3,771 “Friendly” deaths.

Total killed 109,032
Host Nation 15,196
Enemy 23,984 (22%)
Friendly 3,771
Civilians 66,081 (61%)

Within this broader context, the following are casualty statistics for the selection of specific battles during the war.

Battle of Basra, Iraq (March 21 – April 6, 2003)

  • The Battle of Basra was led by the UK military, with support from coalition aircraft. During the battle, an estimated 1,100 – 1,300 people died, approximately 650 were combatants,34 and coalition forces killed 448-593 civilians between March 20 and April 9.

First Battle of Fallujah, Iraq (April 4 – May 1, 2004)

  • During the battle, approximately 800 people were killed, 200 insurgents and about 600 Iraqi civilians (between 572 and 616), 300 of whom were believed to be women and children.

Second Battle of Fallujah, Iraq (November 7 – December 23, 2004)

  • During the battle, approximately 3,500 – 3,800 people we killed. Of them, “Some 3,000 insurgents were killed or captured.”35 While the Red Cross claimed36 800 civilian casualties in the battle, according to the Iraq Body Count,37 the number of civilian casualties was 581-670.

Place of battle Number of deaths Combatants Civilians
Battle of Basra 1,100-1,300 650 448-593
First Battle of Fallujah 800 200 572-616
Second Battle of Fallujah 3,500-3,800 Approximately 3000 581-800

Casualties during the War in Afghanistan (2001-2022)

According to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs,38 approximately 243,000 people were killed in the Afghanistan/Pakistan war zone between 2001 and August 2022, of whom 70,000 were civilians (accounting for 28.8% of fatalities). The Watson Institute further noted39 that from the last year of the Obama administration through the last year of the Trump administration, there was an increase of 330% in the number of civilians that died by US-led airstrikes in Afghanistan.

Journalist Casualties

  • According to the UN,40 in the Israel-Palestine conflict, at least 18 Palestinian journalists have been killed by the IDF since 2001. The figure would appear to be based on information published by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which notes that 25 journalists have been killed in the Gaza Strip, Judea, and Samaria, of which the organization’s database41 attributes the death of 18 to Israel.

  • According to estimates by the Committee to Protect Journalists,42 during the Iraq war, at least 282 journalists died in Iraq since 2003, most of whom were killed by unidentified gunmen or armed factions, while Iraqi troops killed others.

  • According to estimates by the Committee to Protect Journalists,43 during the Afghanistan War, 65 journalists were killed


As shown above, for several reasons, it is not truly possible to genuinely compare the number of civilian deaths in Israel’s counter-terror operations to the number of civilian deaths caused by Western armies during similar counter-terror operations.

While each situation is different, several parallels can be drawn, most predominantly the understanding that urban warfare, no matter where or by whom it is conducted, often results in substantial civilian deaths and casualties. This reality is further complicated and emphasized when terrorists intentionally use their urban surroundings to camouflage their activities and abuse the civilian population by turning them into human shields.

What further complicates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is its geographical proximity and the nature of the threat. While the Western armies have the privilege of conducting counter-terror operations thousands of miles away from their home countries, Israel’s counter-terror operations are often conducted at a time when enemy rockets and missiles are constantly targeting Israel’s civilian population. This reality means that Israeli counter-terror operations are usually undertaken under immense pressure. While the Western armies can often take their time before conducting specific missions without fear of an imminent attack on their civilian population, the Israeli forces often need to engage in missions designed to eliminate immediate threats that pose a clear and present danger.

Specific analysis of certain Israeli operations shows that Israel clearly targets terrorists/combatants. This conclusion is drawn from the fact that most of those killed during the different operations were indeed terrorists/combatants. While civilian deaths are indeed a tragedy, there is no genuine basis to argue that Israel intentionally targets civilians.

The general picture is also accurate when considering the number of journalists killed in the different conflicts. Despite precautions, journalists have been killed in almost every modern-day conflict zone. In this context, the number of journalists whose death have been attributed to Israel is not higher than those attributed to other Western armies.

Based on the statistical analysis, the claims that Israel flouts the IHL and intentionally targets civilians are clearly unfounded.

* * *


* This report was prepared with the assistance of, and thanks to, James Cosgrove (University of Glasgow), Hannah Ettelstein (George Washington University), Madeleine Ferris (King’s College London), Gabrielle Guigui (George Washington University), Maximillian Kanter (University College London), Jacob Pichhadze (Concordia University), Jonathan Roman (Brandeis University), Seth Schlank (Binghamton University), and Kayla Turnof (Brandeis University).

  1. The War of Independence (1948-1949), The Sinai Campaign (1956), The Six Day War (1967), The War of Attrition (1967-1970), The Yom Kippur War (1973), The Lebanon War (1982), The Second Lebanon War (2006)↩︎

  2. (02:04:33)↩︎









  11. There are no fewer than 22 different UN organizations connected only to the Palestinians operate in Israel. Of them, 18 have a physical presence. They work under the coordination of the UN Country Team (UNCT) whose task is to work closely with the Government of Palestine and other development partners to ensure that its work is aligned with the Palestinian Authority’s National Policy Agenda and deliver tangible results that enhance the development prospects for the people of Palestine. The director of UNOCHA heads the UNCT.↩︎

  12. Operation cast lead was the subject of a UNHRC “Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict” headed by Richard Goldstone ( While the report leveled severe accusations against Israel, Goldstone would later write, “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document… Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.” ( In the report itself, different statistics were given regarding the number of casualties ranging from 1,387 to 1,444 depending on the source of the statistic.↩︎

  13. Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center Interestingly, the Goldstone report attributes the statistics provided by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center to the “Israeli armed forces … according to the data gathered by the Research Department of the Israel Defense Intelligence.”↩︎

  14. 609 were identified as Hamas terrorists, around 100 belonged to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and other terrorist organizations and 162 additional names of men killed during the operation “have not been yet attributed to any organization.”↩︎


  16. In order to understand the perverse source of the UN information, it is important to understand that the “Palestinian Ministry of Health” in Gaza is entirely controlled by Hamas, an internationally designated terror organization, which is more often than not the group responsible for the hostilities. As such, Hamas has a vested interest to inflate the number of casualties in general, while simultaneously minimizing the number of combatant casualties.↩︎



  19. – While the Times of Israel is clearly not an official Israeli source, the article quotes a report from the IDF that we were unable to find.↩︎



  22. Referring to this operation, the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties during the conflict in Gaza and that “The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties… They’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel.”↩︎





  27. 65 – Hamas, 20 – Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), 25 – Fatah, 2 – Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), 1 – Mujahideen Brigades and 1 – Popular Resistance Committees↩︎


  29. In the report, the UN notes: “Those reported as civilians are individuals that are not members of armed forces and were not directly participating in hostilities at the time that they were killed. Whether an individual is qualified as civilian or not, has no bearing on the legality of the killing. Data is based on information from at least three independent and reliable sources at the time of reporting.” This “disclaimer,” as it is called in the report, reflects both OCHA’s adoption and implementation regarding Israel of the fringe definition of a DPH, temporally limited to “participating in hostilities at the time that they were killed,” and the OCHA attempt to give credence to its statistics by claiming to base its findings on “independent and reliable sources.”↩︎