President Joe Biden, asked last week what his government planned to do to reduce the number of civilian casualties in Gaza, responded by rejecting the idea that the numbers could be trusted. “I have no notion if Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” Biden said on Wednesday. “I’m sure innocents have been killed and it is the price of waging war,” he added. “But I have no confidence in the number that Palestinians are using.”
A new analysis by The Intercept provides evidence refuting that claim.
Biden’s effort to delegitimize the numbers coming out of Gaza as fake news has created an opening for defenders of Israel’s indiscriminate bombing campaign to dismiss the crisis; they note that Hamas governs Gaza and therefore runs the Ministry of Health and is inflating the figures. (Biden later clarified he meant to say he didn’t trust Hamas, not all Palestinians, according to the Wall Street Journal.)
Biden’s claim was quickly rejected by human rights organizations that have been active in Gaza for years. The Associated Press noted that the Ministry of Health’s figures from previous conflicts have broadly matched the numbers arrived at by both the Israeli government and the United Nations. And the State Department itself has long considered the numbers reliable. [Continue reading…]