New UN Report Cuts Palestine Death Toll In Half

( – Between May 6 and May 8, the United Nations issued two death toll reports from the Israel-Hamas war that painted vastly different pictures. On May 6, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released a report that claimed 9,500 women and 14,500 children had been killed over the course of the war. By May 8, the same UN department had almost halved those numbers, instead estimating 4,959 women and 7,797 children to be amongst the Palestinian casualties. The latest report also cites 1,924 elderly and 10,006 men amongst the dead.

A spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has since admitted that the figures are based on those provided by Gaza’s Ministry of Health. As the terrorist organization Hamas is also the Gazan governing body, the Ministry of Health is directly controlled by Hamas. The spokesperson explained that the UN had been forced to use these figures issued by Hamas as the UN was unable to safely and effectively verify the death toll while the war was ongoing. Throughout the war, various authorities around the world have relied on the figures issued by Hamas. Notably, even Pres. Biden used those figures when making his State of the Union address to Congress in March.

Israel has repeatedly refuted the death toll as issued by the Gazan Ministry of Health. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the Israeli military has killed more than 13,000 Hamas soldiers, and Israeli authorities have repeatedly said that steps have been taken to avoid unnecessary civilian deaths. Following Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel in which it mostly targeted civilians, the Israeli Defense Force instructed Gazan civilians to evacuate areas in the north of Gaza before invading on October 27. It has since continued to forewarn Gazans and encouraged them to evacuate before launching ground assaults on various cities in Gaza.

The UN’s latest figures offer a breakdown for nearly 25,000 deaths, but spokesperson Eri Kaneko says that there are a further 10,000 dead bodies yet to be identified.

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