The May 10 news article “3 Islamic Jihad leaders among 15 reported killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza” repeated casualty claims made by “Palestinian health officials” yet failed to provide readers with important context and details.
As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis and others have documented, the “Palestinian Health Ministry” is an arm of Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip. It reports to Hamas and is funded by the group, whose leaders call for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Hamas has a long history of encouraging civilian casualties by using human shields. It has even hidden weapons in schools, according to a 2015 United Nations investigation and, as recently as the 2021 conflict, employed ambulances as “transport vehicles” and hospitals as “command centers.”
Along with Islamic Jihad, another Iranian proxy based in Gaza, Hamas routinely fires missiles at Israel from behind the cover of civilians — a double war crime.
In a 2018 interview, Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar admitted to Al Jazeera that the group believed in “deceiving the public” for propaganda purposes.
Trusting a Hamas-run “ministry” to provide reliable casualty counts is like trusting a fox to guard a henhouse.
Sean Durns, Washington
The writer is a senior research analyst for the Washington office of the Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis.
(Note: The Washington Post published the above letter on May 26, 2023)