The Majority of Palestinian Casualties are not Civilians. Here’s How You Can Tell.

This is where the blogosphere really comes into its own. Since the beginning of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, NGOs have been calling it a “war on children” (the words of Osama Dayo, of Save the Children). The UN has claimed up to three-quarters of the casualties have been civilians. Nobody in the mainstream media questions these numbers. That’s because you can’t question the motives of a self-described human rights organisation, an established charity, or a UN agency.

My take on these claims is more sceptical. Firstly, experience tells me that ethnic and ideological hostilities often hide behind the more acceptable language of ‘human rights’ activism. Secondly, do you know the kind of people who work for the UN and NGOs?

But there is one method anybody can use to get a fairly accurate picture of the make-up of combat casualties. Some people have used it to assess the Second Intifada and more recent hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians. It devastates the claims of Hamas, the UN, Amnesty International, and other unsavoury types. And so far, none have been able to refute it.


Basically, if Israel was largely killing civilians in Gaza through indiscriminate bombing, one would expect the casualties to be a fair reflection of the Gazan population. Around 50% would be male, and 50% female. Around 40% would have to be under the age of 14. But this is not the case, in the current war or the last.

A fellow by the name of Don Radlauer ingeniously laid out all Palestinian casualties from the Second Intifada on the basis of age and gender as part of a wider study. He found that 95% of the Palestinian casualties were male, while the gender ratio for Israelis killed was around 60:40. Not only that, but 80% of those male Palestinians were in their late teens and early twenties. We can assume that proportionately fewer civilians were killed on their side as opposed to Israel’s. It’s all here. Here are just two interesting graphs:
pal fatalities by gender













pal fatalities by age













More recently, for Operation Protective Edge, an amateur pro-Israel blogger took the Palestinian casualties from a list provided by Al Jazeera. He broke them down by age and gender. Now we can see once again that there are far too many young males for the deaths to be majority civilian.  80% of the Gazans killed so far have been male, with almost half of these males being in the 18-28 age group.  20% of these males are between 29 and 48.

cas by gender












If anybody of the anti-Israel persuasion can make a case against these figures and my conclusions, I’d like to hear it. I have sent the Protective Edge statistics to several colleagues of the extreme left and to a few angry Muslims on online forums. I have been doing the same with the Radlauer study for years. Nobody has come up with anything convincing yet.