On May 12, the National Post reported that the United Nations (UN) had cut its “estimate of women and children killed in Gaza” in half. This is an outright lie published by a newspaper that launched a five-month “celebration” of Israel last year.

The article claims that, “While more than 9,500 women and 14,500 children were reported among the fatalities by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on May 6, two days later that number was revised significantly downward. Today, under 5,000 women and 8,000 children are now officially listed by the UN as casualties.”

Here’s what actually happened.

On May 6, OCHA’s brief on the ongoing genocide noted that there had been 34,735 reported Palestinian deaths, including reports of 9,500 women and 14,500 children being killed. The crucial word here is “reported.” It did not state that all of these reported deaths were fully identified, just that they’ve been reported.

OCHA’s May 10 brief then updated the reported number of Palestinians killed to 34,904, which is an increase. The National Post doesn’t mention this fact, which will likely leave readers to believe that number has dropped significantly given what else they report. 

The brief, meanwhile, didn’t state that the reported number of women and children killed had been cut in half. Instead, it added a section for dead Palestinians that had been fully identified. This number amounted to 24,686 Palestinians as of April 30, of which 10,006 are men, 7,797 are children, 4,959 are women and 1,924 are elderly. This leaves about 10,000 reported Palestinian deaths that haven’t been fully identified. 

So the number of reported women and children killed hasn’t changed. Instead, the OCHA has just added what number of those it has already managed to fully identify.

Does this mean that when the remaining 10,000 Palestinians are identified the total number of dead kids and children could be less than what has previously been reported? Possibly. But that’s not what has happened as of yet, and it’s certainly not guaranteed.

It’s also worth noting that the number of dead Palestinians not yet fully identified is enough to bring the current count of identified women and children close to what the May 6 brief listed as the reported number killed.

This is the main misrepresentation in the National Post article, but there are other serious ones as well.

For example, they state a source told them the UN decided to “quietly stop using figures provided by the Hamas-run Government Media Office (GMO),” switching to ones from the Gazan Ministry of Health (MOH), and point to reports made after May 6 as proof.

In reality, figures from both the GMO and the MOH appear in briefs before, on, and after May 6. The source for the overall count of Palestinians reported dead has always come from the MOH, and the number of those reported “missing or under the rubble” continues to have the GMO listed as one of the sources. It’s also worth noting that the disclaimer at the bottom of these briefs has stayed the same when it appears, and mentions that casualty numbers have come from both ministries.

In addition, yesterday the deputy spokesperson for the UN secretary general was asked about the issue in a press conference. He reiterated that the change in the briefs was due to the MOH simply adding the number of deaths that have been “fully identified,” and that “the documentation process of fully identifying details of the casualties is ongoing.” The spokesperson added that their team is unable to independently verify the figures because of the “situation on the ground,” including ongoing “combat” and the “sheer number of fatalities.” As such, it has relied on the MOH figures.

A reporter then asked if the UN has any reason to doubt the MOH numbers. The spokesperson replied, “Unfortunately we have the sad experience of coordinating with the Ministry of Health on casualty figures every few years for large mass casualty incidents in Gaza. And in past times their figures have proven to be generally accurate.”

Despite this, the National Post has attempted to cast doubt on the MOH by referring to it as “Hamas-run” and implying or outright stating that its casualty numbers are baseless propaganda. This is done in service of portraying Israel as having a more moral army than others. In this article in specific, the National Post prints another particularly nasty lie to this end.

The National Post writes, “According to the Times of Israel, the latest [UN brief] revision would bring the ratio of combatants to civilians killed in the conflict to nearly 1:1,” which another writer quoted by the paper describes as “historically low for modern urban warfare.”

The Times of Israel article does not report what the National Post claims that it does. It only states that 52 per cent of the identified dead are women (20 per cent) and children (32 per cent). However, 8 per cent of the identified dead are elderly people, who aren’t counted as combatants (and are also categorized separately from men and women). This brings the civilian count up to a minimum of 60 per cent, or 2:3.

Moreover, the National Post assumes that all 10,000 of the identified dead men can be counted as combatants, which it offers absolutely no proof of or basis to believe. As such, the claim that the combatant to civilian count is 1:1 is an outright error, at best. 

Here are a couple confirmed facts about Israel’s genocide relative to the war in Ukraine:

  • Yesterday, UNICEF released a statement reporting that around 1,993 Ukrainian children have been killed in the 27 months since Russia’s invasion began. The number of fully identified dead Palestinian children (7,797) is nearly four times that amount, in just seven months. And, of course, there are at least another 10,000 dead Palestinians yet to be identified, meaning that number will increase;
  • As of February, according to the UN, about 10,582 Ukrainian civilians had been killed in the war over the course of 24 months. Meanwhile, at a bare minimum based on the number of identified dead and only counting women, children and the elderly, 17,600 Palestinian civilians have been killed in just seven months. As mentioned, at least another 10,000 dead Palestinians have yet to be identified, meaning the civilian death count will increase. And this doesn’t even take into account whatever number of the more than 10,000 men killed are civilians.

Russia has been portrayed in Canadian media and by politicians as waging a particularly nasty war. And yet, Israel has done far worse in a much shorter period of time. In what world does this make it ‘the most moral army’ in existence?

The National Post has served as little more than an Israeli propaganda outlet over the past few months, and it should be treated as such by journalists and readers alike.

Postmedia Called Out For Publishing Israeli Propaganda As ‘News’
Postmedia runs syndicated articles that are ‘basically a mouthpiece for the Israeli military.’

The fact that it’s the flagship publication of Canada’s largest newspaper chain should disturb Canadians and serve as an indication to international readers of how dire the media situation in this country has become.