What’s Going on With Gaza’s Fatality Numbers?

“All the numbers we’re getting out of Gaza are from offices run by Hamas, the terrorist group that perpetrated the October 7 attack and runs the government (if you consider the government to be functional at all there). But there’s two main sources—the Government Media Office (GMO) and the Ministry of Health (MoH)—and the first, higher count is from the GMO, whereas the revised count is from the MoH.
In order to suss out the legitimacy of the numbers, we have to consider what is being counted as “identified” vs. “unidentified.” The MoH had long counted deaths reported by both hospitals and “reliable” media accounts; around the start of April, it revised the media-reported deaths to be categorized as “incomplete” and then “unidentified.” When a death is reported based on a media account (and a media account alone), there are no remains that have been identified—so the accuracy of this count remains disputed.

If you think these data-reporting practices are not so great, you should look at the GMO’s account. “Way back on Dec. 11, GMO reported the death of 8,000 children and 6,200 women out of 18,396 total fatalities,” writes David Adesnik, the director of research for the nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Arithmetic shows there were (18,396-8,000-6,200=) 4,196 men. But GMoH reported at the time that hospitals had registered 5,577 male fatalities.” In other words: Hamas’ two data-reporting entities cannot even line up their stories.”


A US Navy carrier strike group locked in a Red Sea battle has fired over 500 munitions fighting the Houthis

“These targets include static Houthi facilities and sites located across Yemen, missiles and drones the rebels were preparing to launch at ships at sea, and weapons that they already fired into shipping lanes. The strike group has leaned on its aircraft and warships to engage targets and defend against varying threats.”

Paul Wolfowitz on the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and a Life in Foreign Policy | Uncommon Knowledge

Paul Wolfowitz on the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and a Life in Foreign Policy | Uncommon Knowledge


What the backlash to student protests over Gaza is really about

What the backlash to student protests over Gaza is really about


Egypt rips Israel’s ‘desperate attempts’ to deflect blame for Gaza crisis

“Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Israel Katz said it was up to Egypt to open the Rafah crossing, going as far as saying he addressed that need with some of his European counterparts. “The key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends,” Katz said in comments released by his office.
That did not sit well with Egyptian foreign ministry officials, who issued a statement decrying “the desperate attempts of the Israeli side to hold Egypt responsible for the unprecedented humanitarian crisis facing the Gaza Strip,” and adding, “The foreign minister called on Israel to fulfil its legal responsibility as the occupying power, by allowing aid to enter through the land ports under its control.”

Though it worries about a large influx of Palestinians fleeing the violence, Egypt has maintained its side of the crossing has been open since the war started.”


Why Does the United States Operate Blind in Yemen?

“Southern Yemen’s stability is a more recent phenomenon than Somaliland’s, but it is just as real. While the Saudis struggled unsuccessfully to push back the Houthis, Emirati forces working in tandem with local forces drove out Al Qaeda elements who had occupied Aden, Mukalla and other towns and ports. Multiple flights depart Aden each day for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Djibouti; the Sana’a airport handles at most a single flight daily. Hotels in Aden thrive. Security has returned. Aden is safer today than Karachi, Peshawar, and many Latin American and African capitals. An American is more likely to be taken hostage in Beijing or Moscow than Aden.
That the United States has not at least temporarily relocated its Yemen embassy in Aden is itself an acknowledgment that Yemeni unity is a fiction. American diplomats know that northern Yemenis consider southern Yemen a foreign land and vice versa. Southern Yemen has more in common with Somaliland, with whom many southern Yemeni families share blood, than with the Houthi-dominated areas.

Just as with Somalia and Somaliland, however, neither the White House nor State Department have the foresight to acknowledge the benefits of Yemeni disunity. Even short of recognizing southern Yemeni self-determination, maintaining a diplomatic office in Aden would bring huge diplomatic and security rewards at little cost. Southern Yemen may be secure now, but it was not long ago that Al Qaeda filled the vacuum. A U.S. presence tips the balance further by providing Yemenis hope and encouraging both Western and Arab investment. Intelligence also matters. Just as U.S. Embassy in Somalia reporting is risible given its blindness to dynamics in Somaliland where the State Department has no presence, the lack of a diplomatic office in Aden denies diplomats and intelligence analysts insight into local dynamics, including that across the de facto border in northern Yemen.

Revisionist powers are on the offensive, while the American presence erodes. In Yemen, this takes the form of Iranian support for the Houthis, while China operates its first overseas naval base just a couple dozen miles away in Djibouti. Rather than rectify the problem, the State Department appears aloof to it. If the State Department cares about the Yemeni people and consolidating stability in a region where it is elusive, there can be no further delay to an official diplomatic office or consulate in Aden.”


Blinken delivers some of the strongest US public criticism of Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza

“Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday delivered some of the Biden administration’s strongest public criticism yet of Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza, saying Israeli tactics have meant “a horrible loss of life of innocent civilians” but failed to neutralize Hamas leaders and fighters and could drive a lasting insurgency.
In a pair of TV interviews, Blinken underscored that the United States believes Israeli forces should “get out of Gaza,” but also is waiting to see credible plans from Israel for security and governance in the territory after the war.

Hamas has reemerged in parts of Gaza, Blinken said, and “heavy action” by Israeli forces in the southern city of Rafah risks leaving America’s closest Mideast ally “holding the bag on an enduring insurgency.”

He said the United States has worked with Arab countries and others for weeks on developing “credible plans for security, for governance, for rebuilding” in Gaza, but ”we haven’t seen that come from Israel. … We need to see that, too.”

Blinken also said that as Israel pushes deeper in Rafah in the south, a military operation may “have some initial success” but risks “terrible harm” to the population without solving a problem “that both of us want to solve, which is making sure Hamas cannot again govern Gaza.” More than a million Palestinians have crowded into Rafah in hopes of refuge as Israel’s offensive pushed across Gaza. Israel has said the city also hosts four battalions of Hamas fighters.

Israel’s conduct of the war, Blinken said, has put the country “on the trajectory, potentially, to inherit an insurgency with many armed Hamas left or, if it leaves, a vacuum filled by chaos, filled by anarchy, and probably refilled by Hamas. We’ve been talking to them about a much better way of getting an enduring result, enduring security.”

Blinken also echoed, for the first time publicly by a U.S. official, the findings of a new Biden administration report to Congress on Friday that said Israel’s use of U.S.-provided weapons in Gaza likely violated international humanitarian law. The report also said wartime conditions prevented American officials from determining that for certain in specific airstrikes.”


US says Israel’s use of US arms likely violated international law, but evidence is incomplete

“The finding of “reasonable” evidence to conclude that the U.S. ally had breached international law protecting civilians in the way it conducted its war against Hamas was the strongest statement that the Biden administration has yet made on the matter. It was released in a summary of a report being delivered to Congress on Friday.
But the caveat that the administration wasn’t able to link specific U.S. weapons to individual attacks by Israeli forces in Gaza could give the administration leeway in any future decision on whether to restrict provisions of offensive weapons to Israel.

The first-of-its-kind assessment, which was compelled by President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats in Congress, comes after seven months of airstrikes, ground fighting and aid restrictions that have claimed the lives of nearly 35,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

While U.S. officials were unable to gather all the information they needed on specific strikes, the report said that given Israel’s “significant reliance” on U.S.-made weapons, it was “reasonable to assess” that they had been used by Israel’s security forces in instances “inconsistent” with its obligations under international humanitarian law “or with best practices for mitigating civilian harm.”

Israel’s military has the experience, technology and know-how to minimize harm to civilians, but “the results on the ground, including high levels of civilian casualties, raise substantial questions as to whether the IDF is using them effectively in all cases,” the report said.”


Strapped down, blindfolded, held in diapers: Israeli whistleblowers detail abuse of Palestinians in shadowy detention center

“At a military base that now doubles as a detention center in Israel’s Negev desert, an Israeli working at the facility snapped two photographs of a scene that he says continues to haunt him.
Rows of men in gray tracksuits are seen sitting on paper-thin mattresses, ringfenced by barbed wire. All appear blindfolded, their heads hanging heavy under the glare of floodlights.

A putrid stench filled the air and the room hummed with the men’s murmurs, the Israeli who was at the facility told CNN. Forbidden from speaking to each other, the detainees mumbled to themselves.

“We were told they were not allowed to move. They should sit upright. They’re not allowed to talk. Not allowed to peek under their blindfold.”

Guards were instructed “to scream uskot” – shut up in Arabic – and told to “pick people out that were problematic and punish them,” the source added.”