Via:  Buzz of the Orient  •  4 months ago  •  12 comments

By:   Col. Richard Kemp


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S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Article published in  The Daily Telegraph , 20 February 2024. © Richard Kemp

Just a few short months ago, the West claimed to stand united with Israel as it launched a war of self-defence after the atrocities of October 7. Now even Jerusalem’s closest allies seem to want to stop the conflict in Gaza before the Israel Defence Forces have achieved its objectives of the destruction of Hamas and the release of the hostages taken by the terrorists.

The West has developed a defeatist tendency in recent years of pursuing negotiated settlements that never really lead to peace, only to running sores that inevitably flare up again and again, or indeed to the victory of our enemies. Iraq and Afghanistan are both cases in point. The US’s new draft United Nations Security Council resolution on the war in Gaza could well be set to become another.

The text says that a major Israeli ground offensive into Rafah should not proceed ‘under current circumstances’ – that is, with a heavy concentration of refugees from elsewhere in Gaza on top of the existing residents. The US is also calling for a temporary’ ceasefire ‘as soon as practicable’.

It is what the resolution doesn’t demand that is perhaps most telling. The US appears to have little interest in practical solutions consistent with both safeguarding the civilians of Gaza and permitting Israel to achieve victory over Hamas.

The obvious place for refugees to go temporarily is across the border into Egypt, where there are vast empty spaces and infrastructure for the United Nations and Egyptian authorities to provide shelter, aid and medical assistance. But the US draft resolution seems to exclude this possibility altogether.

Egypt is understandably fearful of Hamas terrorists and their supporters entering its territory; it already has enough of a threat from like-minded Muslim Brotherhood extremists and the plethora of terrorist gangs that share Hamas’s jihadist ideology.

But the terrain in northern Sinai should allow for measures to mitigate dangers such as these, especially given Egypt’s powerful security forces. Surely, if it were truly standing behind Israel, the US would have found a way to encourage Cairo to play a role here?

It is hard to escape the conclusion that, instead, Joe Biden is no longer committed to Israel finishing Hamas off, largely because of domestic political considerations. And the danger is that what he really wants is not a ‘temporary’ cessation to the fighting, but to impose a ‘peace’ deal that would leave Hamas’s terrorist organisation partially intact and end up solving nothing.

What President Biden and his ilk seem incapable of recognising is that the Israeli people can accept no ‘solution’ to the current conflict that leaves the country in a weaker position to the one that it occupied on October 6.

Indeed, the wider West appears to be forgetting how this war started. Israel did not want the conflict. It was the necessary response to the shocking crimes of October 7, the slaughter of civilians, and the taking of hostages – evil terrorist acts that Israel rightly wants to ensure can never happen again.

If the IDF does not move forward with its plans, Israel knows that it will only be a matter of time before we see another conflict in Gaza, as well as emboldened terrorists in the West Bank and on its northern border. Worse, the terrorists would know that the United States would never allow Israel to truly defeat them.

Prime Minister Netanyahu therefore has to act. If President Biden does manage to force the cancellation of the planned assault, he will need to turn to a temporary option. That would see Rafah isolated from the remainder of the Gaza Strip, with a strong defensive line established to the east of the city, parallel to the border with Egypt. Inside such an enclave, Hamas could do little to threaten Israel.

But this solution would see some hostages remain in the hands of Hamas, and is also the last thing Egypt wants. Rafah and its terrorist garrison could well effectively become Cairo’s problem.

It would be an infinitely inferior strategy to the obvious alternative: the United States and its allies steeling themselves to help Israel finish the war with the total defeat of Hamas.

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Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    4 months ago

Although this article is a month old, its opinion and predictions are even more applicable today than they were then.

A January 2024 article by Col. Kemp concerning the morality of the IDF actions in Gaza. "THE MORALITY OF IDF MANEUVERS IN GAZA"   


Who is Colonel Richard Kemp, and what does he have to say about the exceptional care the IDF exercises to protect civilians (which, because of the tactics of Hamas, is almost an impossibility)?

Former British commander in Afghanistan: No army acts with as much discretion as IDF does   LINK ->


Professor Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    4 months ago


Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2  Vic Eldred    4 months ago

I thought this was a great article on the civilian casualty numbers:

Tablet Magazine

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Vic Eldred @2    4 months ago

I can't open Tablet Magazine, but I would really like to read that article.  Why don't you (or if you're at maximum posts, someone else) post it as an article?

Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1    4 months ago

Will do. It was a great article.

Junior Expert
2.1.2  George  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1    4 months ago

Done, just posted it, if you can't see it i can copy and paste it into a comment for you Sir.

Junior Expert
2.1.3  George  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.1    4 months ago

I can delete mine if you want Vic.

Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.4  Vic Eldred  replied to  George @2.1.3    4 months ago

No, I took mine down

You got it

Junior Expert
2.1.5  George  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.4    4 months ago

10-4, I like Buzz so I didn't know if you would see his comment, so i thought i would throw it up real quick.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
3  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    4 months ago

To both George and Vic,

It did not appear for me.  It would have to be copied and pasted as a comment.  If you do that I'll see it in the morning cause I'm headed to bed for the night now. 


Junior Expert
3.1  George  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3    4 months ago

The number of civilian casualties in Gaza has been at the center of international attention since the start of the war. The main source for the data has been the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, which now claims more than 30,000 dead, the majority of which it says are children and women. Recently, the Biden administration lent legitimacy to Hamas' figure. When asked at a House Armed Services Committee hearing last week how many Palestinian women and children have been killed since Oct. 7, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the number was "over 25,000." The Pentagon quickly clarified that the secretary "was citing an estimate from the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry." President Biden himself had earlier cited this figure, asserting that "too many, too many of the over 27,000 Palestinians killed in this conflict have been innocent civilians and children, including thousands of children." The White House also explained that the president "was referring to publicly available data about the total number of casualties."

Here's the problem with this data: The numbers are not real. That much is obvious to anyone who understands how naturally occurring numbers work. The casualties are not overwhelmingly women and children, and the majority may be Hamas fighters.

If Hamas' numbers are faked or fraudulent in some way, there may be evidence  in the numbers themselves  that can demonstrate it. While there is not much data available, there is a little, and it is enough: From Oct. 26 until Nov. 10, 2023, the Gaza Health Ministry released daily casualty figures that include both a total number and a specific number of women and children.

The first place to look is the reported "total" number of deaths. The graph of total deaths by date is increasing with almost metronomical linearity, as the graph in Figure 1 reveals.

The graph reveals an extremely regular increase in casualties over the period. Data aggregated by the author and provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), based on Gaza MoH figures.

This regularity is almost surely not real. One would expect quite a bit of variation day to day. In fact, the daily reported casualty count over this period averages 270 plus or minus about 15%. This is strikingly little variation. There should be days with twice the average or more and others with half or less. Perhaps what is happening is the Gaza ministry is releasing fake daily numbers that vary too little because they do not have a clear understanding of the behavior of naturally occurring numbers. Unfortunately, verified control data is not available to formally test this conclusion, but the details of the daily counts render the numbers suspicious.

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Similarly, we should see variation in the number of child casualties that tracks the variation in the number of women. This is because the daily variation in death counts is caused by the variation in the number of strikes on residential buildings and tunnels which should result in considerable variability in the totals but less variation in the percentage of deaths across groups. This is a basic statistical fact about chance variability. Consequently, on the days with many women casualties there should be large numbers of children casualties, and on the days when just a few women are reported to have been killed, just a few children should be reported. This relationship can be measured and quantified by the R-square (R2 ) statistic that measures how correlated the daily casualty count for women is with the daily casualty count for children. If the numbers were real, we would expect R2 to be substantively larger than 0, tending closer to 1.0. But R2 is .017 which is statistically and substantively not different from 0.

The daily number of children reported to have been killed is totally unrelated to the number of women reported. The R2 is .017 and the relationship is statistically and substantively insignificant.

This lack of correlation is the second circumstantial piece of evidence suggesting the numbers are not real. But there is more. The daily number of women casualties should be highly correlated with the number of non-women and non-children (i.e., men) reported. Again, this is expected because of the nature of battle. The ebbs and flows of the bombings and attacks by Israel should cause the daily count to move together. But that is not what the data show. Not only is there not a positive correlation, there is a strong negative correlation, which makes no sense at all and establishes the third piece of evidence that the numbers are not real.

The correlation between the daily men and daily women death count is absurdly strong and negative (p-value < .0001).

Consider some further anomalies in the data: First, the death count reported on Oct. 29 contradicts the numbers reported on the 28th, insofar as they imply that 26 men came back to life. This can happen because of misattribution or just reporting error. There are a few other days where the numbers of men are reported to be near 0. If these were just reporting errors, then on those days where the death count for men appears to be in error, the women's count should be typical, at least on average. But it turns out that on the three days when the men's count is near zero, suggesting an error, the women's count is high. In fact, the three highest daily women casualty count occurs on those three days.

There are three days where the male casualty count is close to 0. These three days correspond to the three highest daily women's casualty count.

Taken together, what does this all imply? While the evidence is not dispositive, it is highly suggestive that a process unconnected or loosely connected to reality was used to report the numbers. Most likely, the Hamas ministry settled on a daily total arbitrarily. We know this because the daily totals increase too consistently to be real. Then they assigned about 70% of the total to be women and children, splitting that amount randomly from day to day. Then they in-filled the number of men as set by the predetermined total. This explains all the data observed.

There are other obvious red flags. The Gaza Health Ministry has consistently claimed that about 70% of the casualties are women or children. This total is far higher than the numbers reported in earlier conflicts with Israel. Another red flag, raised by Salo Aizenberg and written about extensively, is that if 70% of the casualties are women and children and 25% of the population is adult male, then either Israel is not successfully eliminating Hamas fighters or adult male casualty counts are extremely low. This by itself strongly suggests that the numbers are at a minimum grossly inaccurate and quite probably outright faked. Finally, on Feb. 15, Hamas admitted to losing 6,000 of its fighters, which represents more than 20% of the total number of casualties reported.

Taken together, Hamas is reporting not only that 70% of casualties are women and children but also that 20% are fighters. This is not possible unless Israel is somehow not killing noncombatant men, or else Hamas is claiming that almost all the men in Gaza are Hamas fighters.

Are there better numbers? Some objective commentators have acknowledged Hamas' numbers in previous battles with Israel to be roughly accurate. Nevertheless, this war is wholly unlike its predecessors in scale or scope; international observers who were able to monitor previous wars are now completely absent, so the past can't be assumed to be a reliable guide. The fog of war is especially thick in Gaza, making it impossible to quickly determine civilian death totals with any accuracy. Not only do official Palestinian death counts fail to differentiate soldiers from children, but Hamas also blames all deaths on Israel even if caused by Hamas' own misfired rockets, accidental explosions, deliberate killings, or internal battles. One group of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health compared Hamas reports to data on UNRWA workers. They argued that because the death rates were approximately similar, Hamas' numbers must not be inflated. But their argument relied on a crucial and unverified assumption: that UNRWA workers are not disproportionately more likely to be killed than the general population. That premise exploded when it was uncovered that a sizable fraction of UNRWA workers are affiliated with Hamas. Some were even exposed as having participated in the Oct. 7 massacre itself.

The truth can't yet be known and probably never will be. The total civilian casualty count is likely to be extremely overstated. Israel estimates that at least 12,000 fighters have been killed. If that number proves to be even reasonably accurate, then the ratio of noncombatant casualties to combatants is remarkably low: at most 1.4 to 1 and perhaps as low as 1 to 1. By historical standards of urban warfare, where combatants are embedded above and below into civilian population centers, this is a remarkable and successful effort to prevent unnecessary loss of life while fighting an implacable enemy that protects itself with civilians.

The data used in the article can be found here, with thanks to Salo Aizenberg who helped check and correct these numbers.

Abraham Wyner is Professor of Statistics and Data Science at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Faculty Co-Director of the Wharton Sports Analytics and Business Initiative.

#Hamas War 2023#Gaza#IDF

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
3.1.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  George @3.1    4 months ago

Thanks George.  Actually I've not only seen that original article already but I've posted links to it on NT myself.  Putting the logical arguments in that analysis together with the proven bullshit Hamas claim that an Israel bomb killed 500 people at a Gaza hospital when it was in fact a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket that killed a lot less just strengthens the argument that Hamas is waging a lying propaganda campaign that is winning over not only the terrorist supporters all over the world, but the bleeding hearts of the world (with some even here on NT), enabling the anti-Semites and even causing politicians who are afraid of losing Muslim and anti-Semites' votes to blame Israel instead of demanding that Hamas stop hiding among the civilians (they just fired missiles at Israel from the middle of a refugee camp) and to SURRENDER since their defeat is inevitable, which would immediately stop the bloodshed, open all doors to humanitarian aid and start the rebuilding.  Has the the biggest, most universal, most vociferous anti-Semitic organization in the world made demands on Hamas?  Hell no, the UN supports Hamas with its UNRWA workers, speeches and resolutions. 


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