Globe And Mail Commentator Blindly Accepts Hamas Casualty Figures Without Question

In his November 8 opinion column in The Globe & Mail entitled: “Canada has a duty to do more for innocent civilians in Gaza,” Cesar Jaramillo calls on the Canadian government to do its utmost to protect civilians inside the Gaza Strip caught in the war between Hamas and Israel.

Unfortunately, Jaramillo, the executive director of Project Ploughshares, a “peace research institute” part of the Canadian Council of Churches, has entirely misidentified the culprit behind the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Jaramillo rightly condemns Hamas’ terrorist attack on October 7, labeling them war crimes, but soon after, writes that “Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks has included practices that are inconsistent with the most fundamental precepts of international humanitarian law, including the principles of distinction, precaution, and proportionality,” adding that Israeli leaders have “boasted of acting without restraint,” including Israel’s defense minister, who is cited by Jaramillo as saying “we will eliminate anyone who fights us, and use every measure at our disposal.”

Contrary to Jaramillo’s contention, Israel has operated well within the bounds of international law in its counter-terrorism operations.

As pointed out by London barrister and international law expert Natasha Hausdorff, proportionality in international law does not refer to comparable casualty figures, but rather where a country is expected to “minimize civilian casualties per strike, which the IDF is doing, including through the use of targeted precision strikes, and by warning civilians to leave certain neighbourhoods.”

Jaramillo’s citation of the Israeli defence minister’s statement that the country will “eliminate anyone who fights us” in no way demonstrates that the country is not adhering to international humanitarian law. Combatting Hamas, an Islamic terrorist organization, is entirely consistent with international law, and it is Israel’s right and obligation to do so.

More troublingly, Jaramillo then tells readers that “In Gaza, more than 10,000 civilians – almost half of them children – have been killed, according to Palestinian health authorities.”

In fact, the only “Palestinian health authorities” who disseminate casualty figures are the Gaza Ministry of Health, part of the Hamas terrorist network, which in recent weeks has flatly lied to international media, claiming that they in fact did not target Israeli civilians during their October 7 terrorist attack, contrary to extensive proof to the contrary.

Jaramillo’s blind acceptance of Hamas casualty figures stretches credulity.

According to Hamas, about 11,000 people in Gaza have died in total, so is Jaramillo really alleging that more than 90 percent are civilians, and that virtually none are Hamas terrorists and that none were killed by errant Palestinian rockets?

In its casualty figures, Hamas does not distinguish between civilians and Hamas combatants, nor does it differentiate between those killed in Israeli air strikes or those killed by rockets fired from within Gaza.

Last month, Hamas breathlessly announced to the world that an Israeli missile had hit a Gaza hospital, killing 500 people, only for it to be revealed soon afterwards that it was, in fact, caused by an errant rocket, fired from within the Gaza Strip.

Jaramillo is right to be concerned about the plight of innocent civilians in Gaza. Even before Hamas’ declaration of war against Israel last month, Gazans experienced widespread poverty and suffering due to Hamas’ theft of international humanitarian aid, which it redirected towards its terrorism.

Hamas’ widespread abuse of the human rights of its own people are well documented, notably its use of Gazan civilians as human shields. It is absolutely critical that commentators recognize that the suffering of Gazans is entirely attributable to Hamas’ monstrous disrespect for human life, and that the sooner the fanatical terrorist group is defeated, the better off Gaza’s civilians will be.

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