ICT Casualties Database

ICT Casualties Database

In the National Post June 22, 2002, on p. A20, Robert Fulford wrote a column explaining why the numbers of Palestinian and Israeli dead in the conflict mean little without context. Using Canadian NewsDisc (your local library might have a link to it, where all you have to do is type in your library card, and yes, you can access it from home), I found the article, and searching around I found the above-linked database.

It's a little too bad that there are no percentages listed on the database page, but simple calculation can get you the results you need.

At this writing: 78% of Israelis killed were non-combattants, whereas 39% of Palestinians killed were non-combatants; a very similar percentage of people aged 12-29 were killed (20.1% of Israeli dead, 21.4% of Palestinian dead); a way bigger percentage of Israeli dead were women (19.4% compared to 3.2%). A comparatively efficient 43.3% of Palestinian dead were combatants, compared to 19.4% on the Israeli side (I know that efficiency is a pretty clinical term to be describing this, and that defining combatant is a lot harder than defining non-combatant).

So, keeping in mind that this is a biased source of numbers (it would probably not define much of what the Israeli army is doing as terrorism, for example), which side are you on? Are you on the side of people who have, among the people the've killed, a larger percentage of them being non-combatants, a lower percentage of combatants killed (a surprising number and resulting percentage is the people killed by their own side), and a larger percentage of them being women? (The percentages of the relatively-young among the dead are both the same, and therefore no side can be taken in that respect). Or are you on Israel's side?

To be honest, the fact that I have to choose between terrorists and Ariel Sharon makes me a little queasy, so I'll do safe thing and side with Canada. I am a Canadian citizen after all.