On Friday, editor of The Jerusalem Post David Horovitz published a comment piece under the title, ‘Guess what: Our enemies lie‘. Discussing the recent Nakba and Naksa protests, the emphasis of the op-ed was that the IDF “continues to pay a high price for its incomprehensible refusal to counter, in real time, the relentless distortion of unfolding events and, especially, the falsehoods about death tolls”.
Horovitz eventually gets round to expanding on his allegation of “the false reporting of death tolls”, and he starts by citing the example of Jenin in 2002, when, in his words, the IDF “was despicably accused by the Palestinian leadership, in numerous international media outlets, of killing hundreds if not thousands of unarmed Palestinians”.
He goes on:
The ultimately confirmed figures indicated some 55 armed Palestinian and 23 IDF fatalities in Jenin, but by the time those numbers emerged Israel had been besmirched worldwide as an indiscriminate mass killer, its name blackened even by some of its erstwhile supporters.
Now if you’re going to write an article on false death tolls, you had better make sure you get your own facts right. Unfortunately for Horovitz, he didn’t.
In their report on events in Jenin, Human Rights Watch documented that “at least twenty-two of those confirmed dead were civilians, including children, physically disabled, and elderly people”. Moreover, “many of the civilian deaths” amounted to “unlawful or willful killings by the IDF” – and some “amounted to summary executions”.
An early assessment by Physicians for Human Rights, using hospital figures of 45 dead, noted that “children under the age of 15 years, women and men over the age of 50 years accounted for nearly 38% of all fatalities.” Amnesty International also recorded “unlawful killings” by the IDF in Jenin.
But for Horovitz, the “ultimately confirmed figure” was “55 armed Palestinians”. As with so much propaganda by Israel’s apologists, this latest complaint about ‘false death tolls’ turns out to be a case of projection.