UN Appears to Admit Its Tally of Women and Children Killed in Gaza Was Vastly Inflated


In a change of course, the United Nations has significantly revised its data on the breakdown of Palestinian casualties in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, reducing the number of women and children killed in Gaza by almost 50 percent.

The U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has published daily reports on the Palestinian and Israeli casualties in the conflict, which began when Hamas killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, in a brutal terrorist attack on Oct. 7.

The United Nations has relied on statistics provided by Gaza’s Ministry of Health and Government Media Office in compiling its reports.

The May 6 report listed the number of Palestinian children killed in the conflict at more than 14,500 and the number of Palestinian women killed at more than 9,500.

However, these figures were significantly different in the May 8 report, which listed the number of children killed at 7,797 and the number of women killed at 4,959.

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That represents decreases of at least 47.8 percent and 46.2 percent in the figures for women and children, respectively.

To note, the May 8 report puts the total of Palestinian fatalities at 34,844 but says only 24,686 of them had been identified as of April 30. The figures for children and women’s deaths come from the identified totals.

The U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also points out in each report that the figures do not include more than 10,000 persons “reported missing or under the rubble,” a figure also provided by Gaza’s Government Media Office.

Given that all the Palestinian casualty figures come from Gaza’s Ministry of Health and Government Media Office, both of which are controlled by Hamas, many have questioned the reliability of the figures, which are widely reported by the establishment media.

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Clearly, Hamas has an incentive to provide inflated figures as it seeks global support in the conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the Gaza death toll has been exaggerated and that almost half of those killed were not civilians but Hamas fighters, CBS News reported.

A March 26 report from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy characterized Gaza fatality data as “completely unreliable.”

It said the Ministry of Health relied on its hospitals and morgues to certify each death to compile its fatality reports, which had been the way the Ministry of Health had traditionally verified deaths.

However, once hospitals in Northern Gaza began to be shut down or evacuated in early November, the Ministry of Health began relying on media reports as its underlying methodology for tracking fatalities from the conflict.

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“A comparison of the two methodologies, using MOH reports and claims published by the Hamas-controlled Government Media Office (GMO), yields wildly different and irreconcilable results, indicating that the media reports methodology is dramatically understating fatalities among adult males, the demographic most likely to be combatants,” the report said.

“This undercuts the persistent claim that 72 percent of those killed in Gaza are women and children,” it said.

Farhan Aziz-Haq, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told Fox News that the U.N. has been unable to verify the figures coming out of Gaza.

“The United Nations teams on the ground in Gaza are unable to independently verify those figures given the prevailing situation on the ground and the sheer volume of fatalities,” Aziz-Haq said. “It is for this reason that all figures used by the U.N. clearly cite the Health Ministry in Gaza as the source.”

Regardless of where the figures come from, every death of an innocent woman or child that has come from this conflict is a tragedy, and the updated casualty numbers do not change this.

However, we should use caution in trusting any statistics put forward by Hamas.

It’s difficult enough to estimate casualties in an ongoing war, and any resulting figures published in real-time should be carefully analyzed.

It’s another thing to trust figures being published by one of the belligerents involved in the war, especially if it is a terrorist group that is trying to use casualty estimates to craft a particular narrative to drain its enemy’s support on the world stage.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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