FRESH AIR

Gaza casualties were mostly Hamas militants – the evidence

May 22, 2018 | AIJAC staff

On May 16, Hamas Political Bureau member Salah Al-Bardawil said in a Gaza television interview that 50 of the people killed in Gaza on May 14 were from Hamas, while 12 were “regular people”.

According to a translation done by the Middle East Media Research Institute, here is what he said:

Interviewer: “Many people are saying that the children… I’m telling you what people are saying. It’s not that I believe this. People are saying that children are dying and that Hamas is reaping the fruits.”
Salah Al-Bardawil: “In the last round, there were 62 martyrs.”
Interviewer: “Right.”
Salah Al-Bardawil: “50 of the martyrs were from Hamas, and the other 12 were regular people. So how can anyone claim that Hamas is reaping the fruits, when it paid such a steep price? What did Hamas gain? 50 martyrs…”
Interviewer: “This figure is…”
Salah Al-Bardawil: “I am giving you an official figure. 50 of the martyrs in the recent battle were from Hamas. Before that, at least 50% of the martyrs were from Hamas. So what did Hamas gain from this?”

Yet despite the admission from a Hamas leader – citing what he said was a Hamas “official figure,” many in the media seem uninterested in his statement or unconvinced by it. Perhaps Bardawil was exaggerating for internal purposes or misspoke?

Yet there is now additional hard evidence that what he said was correct.

Abu Ali is an Israeli blog covering the Arab press and social media for several years, publishing analysis about the Middle East that has generally been reliable. At times, this channel is first to report events unfolding in the region. It has more than 10,000 followers on his Telegram channel, and almost double that number follow his Facebook page.

Below is his analysis of the 62 Palestinians killed in Gaza during the May 14 riots. Abu Ali diligently checked, based on Palestinian media sources, funeral pictures and social media, how many of them were militants.

He was able to show that at least 44 were militant activist, 40 of which are from Hamas armed branch, the “Az Adin Al Qassam” brigades – and he includes below the sources he used to reach that conclusion.

In addition, Abu Ali could not verify if an additional 15 Palestinians killed were or were not militants.

So at least 44 were militants, and the number was probably over 50, just as Bardawil said.

It is also noteworthy when looking down the list that almost all the dead are young men of military age, with only two real exceptions: the baby alleged to have died from tear gas inhalation, Leyla Ghandour, and one 51-year-old, Nazer Aarab. (Some youths under 18 also died, including, very sadly, a 14-year-old, but all were affiliated with terrorist groups according to Abu Ali’s research. It is a depressing fact that Palestinian terror groups often recruit high-school age boys.)

Between Bardawi’s admission, and the confirmatory evidence assembled by Abu Ali, it should now be accepted as proven that the riots were far from “a peaceful protest” and the Israeli army’s response, far from being trigger happy as portrayed by some, was in fact highly selective and overwhelmingly successful in targeting only active terrorists without killing innocent civilians.

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