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Statistically Impossible: A Critical Analysis of Hamas’s Women and Children Casualty Figures

Statistically Impossible: A Critical Analysis of Hamas’s Women and Children Casualty Figures

By Tom Simpson, Lewi Stone and Gregory Rose (Senior fellow, thinc.) Published on Fathom journal March 2024

How reliable are the casualty figures issued by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry? The answer offered in this article is blunt: not reliable at all. The authors are Tom Simpson, a generalist economist who researches population models and other topics, Lewi Stone, who has decades of experience working as a biomathematician at Tel Aviv University and recently at RMIT University in Melbourne where his research interests include digital humanities, and Gregory Rose of the University of Wollongong, who has published extensively on international law in the Arab-Israel conflict.

On 29 February 2024, the Gazan Ministry of Health announced that the ongoing war had resulted in 30,022 Gazan casualties, 70 per cent of whom are women and children (see Figure 1).

Figure1.

Every single death is a human tragedy, and this analysis does not seek to suggest that the death toll has not been considerable or to minimise the suffering of the people of Gaza. However, a dispassionate counting of wartime casualties has become essential to the study of armed conflict, and statistics pertaining to the present war all come from organisations operating under the Hamas government. This has led to significant debate about the reliability of both the total death count and its constituent makeup in terms of combatants and civilian men, women, and children. This paper demonstrates that the casualty figures concerning women and children are statistically impossible. Our results cast serious doubt on all other aspects of the Gazan death counts.

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