4

According to Ryan Grim on Counter Points, "LIVE TV: CNN Catches IDF War Crime"

+972, an Israeli news organization is reporting, Israeli intelligence is now using the Gaza Ministry of Health numbers in its own assessments. Early on in the conflict they apparently, according to +972, surveilled the Gaza Ministry of Health which the BBC and others still refer to as "Hamas-run" to try to figure out whether or not those casualty figures being produced were accurate or not. They determined that they are accurate and so now even Israeli Intelligence is using now using [Gaza] Ministry of Health numbers.

Is it true that Israeli Intelligence is as of (January 24, 2024) now accepting or otherwise using the Gaza Ministry of Health numbers?

6
  • According to news reports some IDF officers did since December. from Times of Israel about AP report: "Reports citing anonymous Israeli officials in both AP and AFP say that the IDF believes the overall Gaza death toll claimed by Hamas is fairly accurate, and that more civilians have been killed than Hamas operatives". timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/… Jan 24 at 20:35
  • 1
    I am concerned the question is wishy-washy. It is not uncommon to use numbers from multiple sources that you don't completely trust when data modelling. It is unfalsifiable: Mossad has about 7,000 employees - trying to show none of them have considered Hamas's reports would be impossible. The term "accept" was introduced by the OP - it isn't in the claim.
    – Oddthinking
    Jan 24 at 21:55
  • @Oddthinking I've changed the claim to mirror the verb "use". But for the life of me I don't know the difference between "use" and "accept" in this context. I also don't think it's "wishy-washy". I think it's black-and-white. Either the IDF and Israeli Intelligence are using (accepting) the Gaza MoH numbers or they're not. I can't read Hebrew nor find the source claim to understand in what capacity the numbers were used if at all. Jan 24 at 22:14
  • 1
    @EvanCarroll: If I source 5 estimates (including Hamas's) and take the median, have I used the Hamas data? Have I accepted it? If I suspect Hamas's data is grossly exaggerated, but I use the proportions of estimated deaths to distribute out a limited number of body bags to the regions, have I used Hamas's estimates? Have I accepted them? If I am ever on your pub trivia team, I recommend you use my answers to inform the final team submission, but I would never recommend accepting them.
    – Oddthinking
    Jan 25 at 7:07
  • A nuanced answer would include that information. "Yes, Hamas's data is used to inform a model but is it not taken to be authoritative in isolation." I still don't see the case here for closing the question. We have no reason to believe the answer is even that nuanced. But even if so, that's precisely what this site does. If that was the answer, it would be all the more great to have that claim explained here, right? Jan 25 at 8:04

1 Answer 1

3

Source

This claim originates not on +972, but on Local Call. Honestly, the difference isn't very clear, but +972 does make a distinction

Local Call (or Sikha Mekomit) is a Hebrew-language news site committed to democracy, peace, equality, social justice, transparency, freedom of information and resisting the occupation. The site was co-founded and is co-published by Just Vision and 972 Advancement of Citizen Journalism (which also publishes +972 Magazine). Several Local Call and +972 Magazine writers publish on both platforms.

Summary

The article in question lays out the facts,

  • The IDF did not trust the data at the start of the conflict.
  • After a comprehensive investigation which included monitoring the Gaza Ministry of Health they found the data to be reliable.
  • Now the IDF uses that data in many places internally, as there is no better source of data available for civilian causalities. The IDF casualty count is said to be "exclusively" based on the Gaza Ministry of Health.
  • This number isn't taken as authoritative but is taken as a lower-floor for casualties. It is estimated 8,000 people as of 2024-01-24 are not yet included in the casualty county by the Gaza Ministry of Health.

Contents of Article

On that site I was able to trace that clam back to an article which Google translates as "The army checked and found that the reports of the dead in the Ministry of Health in Gaza are reliable", the contents of that article are

The military intelligence system relies almost exclusively on the Ministry of Health, which is under the control of Hamas in Gaza, to estimate how many civilians the army has killed in the Strip since the beginning of the war, two Israeli intelligence sources revealed to "Local Talk". This is in contrast to the statements of officials in Israel, and of American President Joe Biden, as if these figures are questionable.

...

The source said that for this reason he "trusts the Ministry of Health in Gaza more than the IDF, because the IDF does not have direct access to information regarding the civilians it has killed. They (the Ministry of Health in Gaza) are not always accurate, but this is the best there is."

...

A second Israeli intelligence source, who was exposed to the data that the army uses in its assessments regarding the war in Gaza, told the "local conversation" that a research body in the army conducted an in-depth examination regarding the reliability of the numbers of the Ministry of Health in Gaza during the war before it was decided to rely on them.

The source claimed that the numbers of the Ministry of Health in Gaza are now displayed at meetings and briefings in the army on a regular basis after they were found "reliable" in an inspection. "In every situation, when everyone updates each other on what is happening, there is a slide that shows the current number of civilians killed in Gaza. And by and large, it is based exclusively on the Hamas Health Ministry," he said.

"Characterize these databases, as a source, and ask if it can be trusted or not. The conclusion is that, overall, yes," said the source. "It is assumed that there is a gap between the data and the reality and that they may be manipulating, but they checked, and it is reliable. Also see that in previous rounds the reports of the Ministry of Health in Gaza were reliable. Also, we have no other source."

...

The source said that the army not only trusts the numbers of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, but agrees that they are an "underestimation", and that the real number of civilians killed in Gaza is greater. The Ministry of Health in Gaza bases its data on counts in the hospitals. According to his estimate, at least 8,000 people were killed, but their bodies did not reach the hospitals.

1
  • 4
    Do you have any other source than Mekomit which describes itself: "Local Conversation is a home of activist journalism..." and is owned and operated by justvision.org Just Vision? The Just Vision landing page consists of a large image of 14 women all wearing hijabs and in some cases full chadors / burkas the latter of which is atypical in Palestine territories and Israel. Jan 27 at 6:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .