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October 26, 2010

Hamas Militant Admits Most Palestinian Policemen in Gaza Double as Militants

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Israel was widely condemned by the UN Human Rights Council, by many in the media and by human rights organizations for inflicting heavy civilian casualties in its Cast Lead military operation in Gaza from Dec. 27, 2008 to Jan. 18, 2009. CAMERA pointed out that groups like B'Tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International tend to give credence to claims by Palestinian rights groups like the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR ) that the vast majority of casualties were non-combatants while rejecting Israeli counter-claims. The UN's Gaza Mission Report (the Goldstone report) accepted Palestinian figures and rejected Israel's despite ample evidence that many alleged non-combatants were commemorated as Hamas martyrs (see analyses in extended information section below).

One particular point of contention was the status of policemen affiliated with the Hamas government. Between 240 and 255 Palestinian policemen were killed in the operation, most in the initial air strikes. These make up approximately 20 percent of all the fatalities in the operation. Whether they are categorized as non-combatants as Palestinians groups like PCHR does, or as combatants, as Israel does, is significant in terms of the ratio of combatants to non-combatants.

An admission by a militant named Abu Khaled, whose interview appeared in the Christian Science Monitor in its Nov. 1, 2010 edition, that "two thirds of Hamas policemen are police by day and Al Qassam by night" lends support to those who all along contended that the overwhelming majority of the police were Hamas militants. Al Qassam is the Hamas military formation which is also responsible for carrying out terrorist acts. Israel claims that at least 709 of 1166 Palestinian fatalities were combatants, approximately 61 percent. This figure includes the policemen as combatants. PCHR claims that only 236 of 1,417 fatalities were combatants, calculating 83 percent as civilians. Palestinian Policemen are described by PCHR as "non-combatants."


For a full discussion of the Goldstone report's handling of civilian casualty figures, see Alan Dershowitz's discussion of this in The Case Against the Goldstone Report: A Study in Evidentiary Bias.

The Institute for Counter Terrorism published a detailed analysis of Hamas casualties, concluding that 564 Hamas fighters were killed in the operation of whom 245 were members of police units. Israel's Ministry for Foreign Affairs has also published detailed information revealing the dual role of policemen as Hamas fighters.

Also see Jonathan Halevy's study detailing the high proportion of Palestinian policemen who were members of the Al-Qassam organization.

Posted by SS at October 26, 2010 10:57 AM

Comments

Christian Science Monitor of November 1, 2010? That's next week and CSM is a daily.

Posted by: Carl in Jerusalem at October 27, 2010 05:29 AM

Hasn't been a daily for a little while...

Posted by: gi at October 28, 2010 12:01 AM

Fixed the problem - it now reads: Nov. 1 edition.

Posted by: staff at October 29, 2010 04:40 PM

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