Here is a very sobering statistic.
Amidst the carnage and devastation underway in Israel and the Occupied Territories there is a minor legal flap over whether the IDF (the Israel Defense Forces) can remove and bury bodies of Palestinians killed in the fighting in the Jenin refugee camp.
Palestinians have accused the IDF of burying bodies in a mass grave and yesterday the High Court ordered the IDF not to remove the bodies pending a legal hearing, which presumably will get to the bottom of the accusations.
These sorts of accusations and conflicting accounts are to be expected in such a situation. Each side will at least lean toward estimates of dead and wounded which are most favorable to them. And this question isn’t what I mean to draw your attention to, only to draw some context.
What did catch my eye is this: According to this article in the respected Israeli daily Ha’aretz, “[IDF] Soldiers had been removing bodies [from Jenin] since Thursday and plans were to continue to do so … [and] the army estimates that there are still 100 to 200 bodies in the camp.”
As a matter of principle, deaths suffered as a result of legitimate acts of self-defense or retaliation are not the same as those lost in the original act of aggression. Thus, to me at least, you can’t compare civilian casualties in Afghanistan to those in the World Trade Center. In a related manner, an army has very little choice if enemy soldiers or paramilitaries simply refuse to surrender and insist on fighting to the death.
Still, those numbers are very high and they come from only one — albeit very large — camp. And I hadn’t heard such numbers before.