On March 24, 2009, the Israeli army (IDF) released data on 1166 Palestinians killed during the fighting in Gaza (January 2009): 709 were affiliated with Hamas and other terror organizations, while 295 were classified as “uninvolved [in hostilities].” (The IDF has not yet identified 162 individuals.)

This contrasts sharply with the claims of NGOs Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and Al-Mezan and the Palestinian Ministry of Health, that the casualties were “mostly civilian.” For instance, PCHR includes “255 non-combatant police officers” amongst the civilians, which accounts for part of the discrepancy. This classification, however, ignores evidence that these individuals were not “civil police” and that Hamas websites have announced that many were members of the Qassam Brigades.  Also, senior Hamas military leaders, such as Nizar Rayan (whose home functioned as a command center and weapons’ warehouse) and others, are listed as civilians.

Additionally, PCHR’s credibility has been questioned in a report by CAMERA: “PCHR includes in its civilian toll individuals identified by other sources as combatants and omits any mention of several slain senior fighters from terrorist groups. The omission of several publicized Hamas commanders should raise suspicion that other Hamas fighters have been omitted from its statistics.” CAMERA also concluded that “[a]n analysis of the fatalities by age and gender shows that the majority of civilian fatalities recorded by PCHR are males between 15 and 50 years old, the same age profile as the combatants. This should raise concern that significant numbers of combatants may have been misclassified as civilians.”