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Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said after the war that more than 700 Hamas members were among the dead and Israel had their names. However, Israel has not released its own list of Palestinians killed, and hasn’t said when it would do so. It remains unclear how the military, without access to Gaza, would compile a thorough list.

Still, Regev said that “the overwhelming majority of casualties were Hamas operatives and others who were, under international law, legitimate targets.”

Also Thursday, the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, an Israeli think tank, presented its own analysis of the PCHR data, based on preliminary lists, not the final one published Thursday.

Researchers Yael Shahar and Don Radlauer said they did not dispute the final tally, since they have no access to Gaza, but they believe the number of dead combatants is higher.

They said they found 314 confirmed combatants _ 78 more than PCHR listed. Their figure is based on checking the PCHR’s list against those claimed as dead fighters on Web sites of militant groups.

The researchers also classified 518 of the dead as unknown, arguing that not enough information is available to put them in either category. They noted that about 80 percent in the group of unknowns were men, including many in their 20s.

This gender and age distribution refutes allegations that Israeli forces targeted Palestinians randomly, the researchers said. “We are being accused of not aiming, of indiscriminate attacks, and the demographics clearly contradict that,” said Radlauer.


Additional reporting by Dalia Nammari in Ramallah, West Bank.


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