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February 13, 2009

Jimmy Carter's Difficulty With Numbers

Being a nuclear engineer may not have the same caché as a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon, but the assumption is that if you are a nuclear engineer, you have a facility with numbers that the rest of us do not have.

This assumption seems justified, unless of course the nuclear engineer in question is former president Jimmy Carter and he is writing about the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian violence over the past decade. Then it's a pretty good idea not to rely too heavily on the former president's math skills.

In his most recent book We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work, Carter substantially discounts the number of Israeli deaths at the hands of Palestinians since 2000.

On page 62 Carter writes:

During the Second Intifada and before a Gaza truce was accepted in June 2008, reliable human rights organizations reported that 334 Israeli military personnel and 719 Israeli civilians were killed. [The total is 1053 Israelis.] There were 4,745 Palestinian fatalities ...

Then on page 94, Carter writes:

B’tselem reports 1,787 Palestinians killed in the West Bank by the Israel Defense Forces and 41 by Israeli settlers between September 2000 and 2008. Qassam rockets were launched from Gaza into the nearby Israeli village of Sderot, and retaliatory strokes against Gaza cost 2,974 lives, while 580 Israelis were killed.

The problem with these numbers is obvious. While the number of Palestinian deaths is about the same (4,745 on page 62 versus 4802 on page 94), there is a significant discrepancy between the Israeli deaths (1053 on page 62 and 580 on page 94). Why the 45 percent drop in the number of deaths?

An examination of B’tselem’s website reveals the problem. The 580 figure Carter used on page 94 includes only Israelis killed inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders and omits Israelis killed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This glaring error removes almost 500 Israeli deaths from Carter’s narrative.

The problems with Carter’s statistics do not end here. On page 132, Carter reports that “from November 2000 to mid-2004 nearly four hundred Israeli soldiers and citizens were killed.�? In fact, more than twice this number of Israelis were killed over the time frame Carter enunciates.

According to a report published by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), 879 Israelis were killed in the years 2001, 2002, and 2003. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 28 Israelis were killed in the last two months of 2000, and 63 were killed in the first six months of 2004, yielding a total number of 970 Israeli deaths – far exceeding Carter’s estimate of 400 killed.

Former President Carter does not seem to have any problems accurately recounting the number of Palestinian deaths, but does seem to have a problem documenting the number of Israeli deaths in his text.

Posted by dvz at February 13, 2009 12:00 PM


Carter does have a problem with numbers. Any counting past 10 requires him to take off his shoes. Past 20, and he's toast.
Recall, also, how many days the US Embassy staff were held hostage in Iran while he was president. 444 days!!!

Posted by: ben at February 13, 2009 01:14 PM

The problem with Jimmy Carter is that he is on the side of those who have been under Israeli occupation for over sixty years and have died daily all this time. Naturally, he is 'wrong' and 'stupid'.

Posted by: C Cameron at February 14, 2009 11:16 AM

Has anybody any right to defend Jimmy Carter? Of course not, on this site.

Posted by: C Cameron at February 14, 2009 06:38 PM

"The problem with Jimmy Carter is that he is on the side of those who have been under Israeli occupation for over sixty years and have died daily all this time. Naturally, he is 'wrong' and 'stupid'."

Hey, don't be so hard on Jimmy! He's had some good views! Not all his postures are bad! I mean he didn't do such things as consider the threats posed by rockets or suicide bombings on Israeli Cities! If he ver does something like that then i think you would be right in calling him wrong and stupid :)

Posted by: Erick at February 15, 2009 05:12 PM

To C. Cameron:

You can defend Jimmy Carter all you want but you've either missed or are ignoring the real issue: when it comes to Israel, he consistently fudges facts and conveniently re-writes history to suite his personal feelings on the middle east and against Israel. We aren't talking about poetry but rather recent history which can be verified. Defend him all you like but speak to the issues not how you feel about it.

Posted by: Max at February 17, 2009 04:49 PM

The real problem with Jimmy Cater is he believes the lie of occupation Not one I.D.F. member is in the Arab/Palestinian controled West Bank and the I.D.F. had to invade Gaza to go after Hamas this puts the lie to the myth of Israeli occupation. Now have they in the past occupied no from 1948-1967 The Arab Legion Occupied the West Bank and The old city of Jerusalem. and Egypt occupied the Gaza strip not Israel it was Egypt that built and kept the Arab/Palestinians in concentration camps, and it was Jordan and Syria that built the refugge concentration camps rather than intagrate the Arab/Palestinian into society. It is only after Israel won such an overwhelming victory in the sis day war that any body objected to the treatment of the Arab/Palestinian. Now I may be wrong but it was the lose of Jerusalem that sturred up a Hornets nest and till that time it was the Jordanians that kept the Arab/Palestinians in the camps not Israel. There are6.7 million citizens in Israel 5.4 million are Jewish, 1.3 million are Israeli/Arab and they are well represented in the Kenneset and they are part of the I.D.F., they own bussinesses vote in every election and are taught in the same schools as Jewish children so where than is this apathied? the answer is The West Bank Where Arab/Palestinian Christians hold second class citizen statis with no vote and they are not allowed to be involved in the Palestinian Authority in any way, the same is true in the Gaza Strip where the Arab/Palestinian Christians have no voice and are under daily persecution from Hamas.
Jhon R. Bloxson Jr.

Posted by: John R. Bloxson Jr at March 2, 2009 02:52 AM

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