The War of the Casualties: During Operation Cast Lead it was Hamas policy to hide the real number of its casualties.

The factual data was released two years later, only after false information that Israel was responsible for the mass killing of Gaza Strip civilians had percolated into the world's consciousness and entered the Goldstone Report[*].

Fathi Hamad, minister of the interior in the de-facto Hamas administration
Fathi Hamad, minister of the interior in the de-facto Hamas administration, who only revealed the true number of Hamas and other terrorist operatives killed about two years after Operation Cast Lead had ended (, November 1, 2010, archive picture)

1.   During Operation Cast Lead Hamas adopted a policy of hiding the casualties caused by the IDF among its terrorist operatives. Its objective was to prevent harm to morale and the image of "victory," and to establish the (false) propaganda message that Israel had deliberately attacked civilians. To implement the policy Hamas gave instructions to all surfers who entered its PALDF forum (its main website) during the fighting. They were told that the terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip (the "jihadist resistance") had forbidden the posting of pictures, names or information about "resistance" fighters killed or wounded until the end of Israel's "aggression" in the Gaza Strip (similar instructions were also issued by the Hamas-controlled ministry of the interior during Operation Protective Edge, on the night of August 5, 2014). As a result, there were reports of unofficial (and sometimes secret), improvised burials of terrorist operatives held throughout Operation Cast Lead.

2.   The policy of hiding the true number of terrorist operative casualties, as opposed to the exaggerated number of civilian deaths, continued after the end of Operation Cast Lead. The biased representation of the number of civilian deaths served to bolster the false message that Israel had committed the mass killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead (the so-called "holocaust" of the Gaza Strip, as it was dubbed by pro-Hamas propaganda). The small number of terrorist operatives killed, as represented in the media, also helped to reduce and/or hide the force of the blow dealt to Hamas' military-terrorist wing and was integrated into the "myth of victory" Hamas has striven to construct since the end of the operation.

3.   Apparently, for Hamas the policy wore itself out about two years after the war (especially after the Goldstone Report was issued, which Hamas regarded as an important achievement). In addition, the considerations on which the policy was based changed, and Hamas found itself needing to emphasize that its forces had played a major role in Operation Cast Lead and paid the price. It was in those circumstances that on November 1, 2010, for the first time Fathi Hamad revealed the true number of Hamas operatives killed in Operation Cast Lead (in an interview with the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat, reprinted in Hamas' daily Felesteen, printed in the Gaza Strip).

4.   In the interview Fathi Hamad admitted that during Operation Cast Lead 700 Hamas operatives of its military-security apparatus had been killed. The number was significantly higher than the false figure that served as the basis for the Goldstone Report and the reports provided by the human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, the numbers were consistent with the findings of Israel security sources, which indicated that at least 60% of all those killed during Operation Cast Lead were terrorist operatives who belonged to Hamas or the other terrorist organizations.

5.   For further information see the November 3, 2010 ITIC bulletin, appended below, entitled "Fathi Hamad, the Hamas administration's interior minister, revealed that as many as 700 Hamas military-security operatives were killed during Operation Cast Lead. The number, consistent with Israel's examination, is significantly higher than the biased numbers given in the past by Hamas and used by the Goldstone Report to defame Israel."

[*] Continuation of the August 6, 2014 bulletin, "War of the Casualties: the Hamas-controlled ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip issued a warning not to divulge information about terrorist operatives killed in Operation Protective Edge."