Thursday, August 7, 2014

Statistics and wars -- on the number of civilian casualties in Gaza

A cautionary note: this may be a bit of a sensitive topic to have for a first blog post.

During the last couple of days I encountered a couple of analyses questioning the official figures given in the media about Palestinian civilian casualties during the period of operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Currently, the UN puts the death toll at a minimum of 72% and Gazan groups at 82% and 84%. As a suspicious believer in the power of data, I was interested to read the critical analyses of the Gazan casualty distribution presented by Jo√čoLTime and others. These analyses claim that the actual number of civilian deaths must be lower than the one provided by the Palestinians. They base their argument on data that shows that 20-30 year old males are much more likely to be casualties than any other gender-age group in Gaza,