No, the AP report does not say 89% of fatalities in Gaza were civilians – but it’s a damning indictment of Israel’s conduct nonetheless

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Various reports have given a misleading account of the recent Associated Press (AP) investigation into civilians killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza last summer.

Lots of those reports about it that I’ve seen – eg here, here and here – claim the AP report says that 89% of those Palestinians killed in the Israeli attacks were civilians, and 11% resistance fighters. As far as I can see, this fundamentally misreads the findings of the report and its purported figures.

What the AP report actually says that 11% of those killed in airstrikes (not in shelling, not by sniping, not during the ground invasion) on homes and residences (not public buildings, religious buildings, schools, medical centres, open spaces) were fighters or ‘suspected fighters’, not 11% of all Palestinian deaths, for which the figure is more like 25%-33% depending on whether one uses PCHR or UNOCHA figures.

As an aside, the AP report does not appear to break down whether the alleged fighters killed were on ‘active service’ at the time of the bombing, or were merely at home while being a member of an armed group, but not taking part in fighting at the time of their deaths (they would be honoured militarily by their faction either way).

You can read the report here. In places it reads like an apologia for Israeli war crimes, despite the staggering figures it has unearthed. Nevertheless, it is very much worth reading as it shines a light on the sheer brutality of the Israeli assault on the people of Gaza last year.  And furthermore, it is worth noting that no Irish media outlet picked up on the report, despite their fondness for republishing AP and Reuters wire reports instead of employing journalists on the ground in the region.

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