Why Is Israeli Media Suddenly Violating Gag Order on Israeli Military Casualties? – ANALYSIS

Israeli army’s numbers do not seem to add up. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Editors

Israeli army’s numbers do not seem to add up, raising yet more questions about the actual numbers of Israeli soldiers killed and wounded in Gaza. 

From the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, information regarding Israel’s casualties was left entirely to the Israeli military.

Israeli public, national and international media, were left in the dark, neither aware of Israel’s actual losses on the ground nor able to verify, let alone independently investigate, claims made by the likes of Daniel Hagari and other spokesmen for the Israeli army. 

This is not the first gag order placed by the Israeli government on information pertaining to any kind of military combat, whether in Gaza, Lebanon or elsewhere.

This gag order, however, was the most strict, thus allowing Israel’s newly-formed War Council alone the power to use, withhold, or manipulate any news about the war for its own political purposes. 

The task became more difficult as the war ground on, however, for three main reasons. 

One, the number of obvious lies and fabrications by the Israeli government regarding what has taken place on October 7.

This included allegations of the decapitation of babies, gang rapes, and the indiscriminate killing of Israelis attending a music concert in the Re’im kibbutz, all of which have either been debunked or accompanied by no evidence whatsoever. 

Two, the sudden change in the number of Israelis allegedly killed on October 7. Not only did the number drop from 1,400 to 1,200 but also the ratio of military personnel vs civilians changed dramatically. The names of the military personnel were only released gradually over the course of weeks.

Three, and possibly most important, is the well-documented evidence, produced by Palestinian Resistance groups in Gaza, showing scores of Israeli tanks being blown up, or close-ups of Israeli soldiers being individually sniped, or targeted in groups.

But even then, the Israeli army’s numbers did not seem to add up, raising yet more questions about the actual numbers of Israeli soldiers killed and wounded in Gaza. 

The Graveyard Digger

On November 18, David Oren Baruch, the director of Mount Herzl Military Cemetery, complicated the War Council’s mission of hiding the actual number of Israeli casualties when he revealed that one Israeli soldier is buried every one hour to one hour and a half in the military cemetery.

“We are now going through a period where every hour there is a funeral, every hour and a half a funeral,” Baruch said, adding “I was asked to open a large number of graves. Only in the Mount Herzl cemetery did we bury 50 soldiers in 48 hours.”

Israel’s mainstream media either ignored Baruch’s comments altogether or scantily reported on them. But those who were already, and rightly, questioning Israeli military figures began doing the math, concluding that truly hundreds of Israeli soldiers have been killed in combat in Gaza. 

Still, the story was quickly marginalized, once again replaced with Israeli military stats that clearly did not tell the whole story. 

Unexplained Gap

Strangely, on November 28, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed that 1,000 soldiers had been injured since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza. Strange because that number was actually revealed by an Israeli military source, puzzlingly violating the gag order. 

As many were marveling at the number, yet more numbers were being revealed, again, without a clear explanation of why mainstream media in Israel were being allowed to publish information about Israel’s wounded without respecting the orders of the military. 

For example, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on December 9 that 5,000 Israeli soldiers have been injured since the beginning of the war on Gaza, with 2,000 officially recognized by the Israeli Defense Minister as disabled.

On December 10, however, Haaretz revealed that “an examination conducted by Haaretz with the hospitals where the wounded soldiers have been and are treated shows a considerable and unexplained gap between the data reported by the military and that from the hospitals.”

“The hospitals’ data shows that the number of wounded soldiers to be twice as high as the army’s numbers,” according to the Israeli newspaper.

“The gaps between the army’s data and the hospitals’ data also comes into sharp relief in light of Health Ministry statistics maintained on its website. This website displays general casualty data – civilians and soldiers alike. According to the Health Ministry’s data, 10,548 soldiers and civilians who were wounded in the war have been admitted between October 7 and December 10. Of those, 131 in hospital, 471 were admitted in severe or critical condition, while 868 were listed in moderate condition.

“Additionally, 8,308 suffered minor injuries, 600 suffered anxiety attacks, and the condition of 206 is unknown. The army’s figure of 1,593 wounded soldiers accounts for only 15 percent of the total number of admissions, which seems unusually low, since one would expect a significant portion of the war-related casualties to be soldiers.”

Possible Explanation

“It was very clear from the start that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set lofty goals for his war in Gaza, knowing full well that they are unachievable,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud, said.

“Netanyahu simply wanted the war to serve as a platform for Israelis to vent their anger at the Gaza civilian population, not at his failed government,” Baroud added.

The outcome was a “textbook case of genocide”, as per the words of Raz Segal, associate professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University. 

“The assault on Gaza can also be understood in other terms: as a textbook case of genocide unfolding in front of our eyes,” Segal wrote.

But even after the war has caused the death and injury of tens of thousands of Palestinians, mostly women and children, the Israeli public’s appetite for war never subsided. 

“This caused a major problem for Netanyahu. He made a strong case for war, but with time, he realized this is a war that cannot be won,” Baroud said.

“It’s a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If the war continues, hundreds, in fact, thousands of Israeli soldiers will be killed and wounded. But if the war ends, Netanyahu will surely be disgraced and his political career will come to a humiliating end.”

Therefore, according to Baroud, information about the actual cost of the war are being unofficially released by Israeli media, despite the gag order, perhaps with the hope of “reminding Israelis that there is also a high cost for the ongoing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza.”

If this is the case, we are most likely to see more such ‘leaks’ and supposedly unofficial revelations about Netanyahu’s war on Gaza, one that was supposedly meant to ‘eliminate Hamas’, but is, instead, eliminating whatever reputation the Israeli army still possesses.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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