Saturday, August 05, 2006

Common middle east quotes again

I read this quote

"Two-thirds of the 621 children ... killed [by the Israelis] at checkpoints ... on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half the cases to the head, neck and chest, the sniper's wound. A quarter of Palestinian infants under the age of five are acutely or chronically malnourished. The Israeli wall will isolate 97 primary health clinics and 11 hospitals from the populations they serve."

So I thought I would check it out..
a litle reserch gave me the original source

Derek Summerfield seems to have made an error right at the beginning of his article - he says "Two thirds of the 621 children (two thirds under 15 years) killed at checkpoints"

But the 621 seems to be the total number for all children under 18 (as per other sources abut the same time)
(By these numbers it didn’t reach that level until Dec 2004 - but that is probably made up by including deaths not in WB or Gaza as per the next reference).

Derek doesn't give a reference which thwarts others

But they really need to get better researchers - this is the site he clearly used

Which is reliable enough (on a factual basis I mean although it is of course a biased source) - of course he doesn’t mention that considerably more than half the fatal injuries would be of the "sniper" classification in a car or motorcycle accident - largely because these are the fatal injury parts of the body.

AND Interestingly it says that about 1/3 of them were targets.
Presumably this is generally agreed so it would mean 1/3 were considered by the Israelis to be combatants (throwing rocks or whatever). Actually Beth Goodtre (our representiotive of the israeli position) seems to think 2/3, so I doubt she would disute the first 1/3! However she is pretty rough and ready with her extrapolations also - she extrapolates just from the Jenin operation!). Regardless - that makes the “killed… on the way to school, in their homes” a bit misleading.

The article appears to be a bit of an opinion piece and he doesn’t back up the key quote (or anything at all) with any statistics or evidence (I would have thought odd for a journal then again he is just an "honorary" senior lecturer...). Really if I was the BMJ editor I'd never allow it into my journal.


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