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Why are the Palestinians hiding 2 Palestinian victims of the recent war in Gaza?

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |
  • PA reports ignore 2 Palestinians killed by rockets fired by the terrorists
  • The same reports include 2 other Palestinians killed by terrorist rockets, because they are children and the PA thinks it can gain propaganda points
  • Two terror groups that are members in the PLO also participated in firing rockets indiscriminately targeting Israel’s civilian population
  • Three terror groups officially claimed as their members 18 of the 31 Palestinians who were allegedly killed by Israel

On May 2, 2023, terrorists from Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip fired 104 rockets at Israel, indiscriminately targeting Israel’s civilian population. On May 9, Israel responded, launching “Operation Shield and Arrow,” which continued until a ceasefire was reached on May 14. During the course of the hostilities, according to statistics issued by the Israeli army, the Gazan terrorists fired 1,468 rockets at Israel. Of them, 1,139 of the rockets reached Israel while 290 of the rockets fell in Gaza.

While the operation once again exposed the irrelevance of the Palestinian Authority regarding anything happening in Gaza, the PA did nonetheless report on the number of Palestinian fatalities and casualties during the operation:

“The Israeli aggression killed 33 Palestinians, including six children and three women, and resulted in the injury of 150 others, the majority of them are children and women.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, English edition, May 9, 2023]

As Palestinian Media Watch will show, this PA report was false! In reality, 35 Palestinians were killed during the hostilities, but the PA is hiding two of them. For its own propaganda purposes, the PA is also inflating the number of Palestinians killed as a result of Israeli airstrikes.  

Furthermore, as PMW will show, the majority of Palestinians killed in the operation were terrorists, who belonged, inter alia, to terror groups that are part of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), headed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Fatalities 34 and 35

The carefully worded, but nonetheless deceitful, PA report explains part of the PA’s deception.

By claiming that “The Israeli aggression killed 33 Palestinians”, the PA was intentionally hiding two additional Palestinian victims. What distinguishes these two additional victims from the other 33 (also not accurate, as PMW will show) is the fact that they were killed by the rockets fired by the terrorists and not by Israel.

Victim number 34 was Ahmed Abu Gabe, aged 35. Gabe was one of over 18,000 Gazans who regularly enter Israel to work in agriculture. He was badly injured, on May 13, by a terrorist rocket that fell in Shokeda, an Israeli village situated close to the Gaza Strip. Despite being rushed to an Israeli hospital to undergo surgery, Abu Gabe died of the wounds he sustained.

[Twitter account of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, May 13, 2023]

Despite being Palestinian, Israel has recognized Abu Gabe as a “victim of terror” because he was killed while in Israel. This recognition will now entitle his family to receive substantial monthly social security payments from Israel.

Victim number 35 was Ahmed Al-Shebaki, aged 50, killed on May 10. Al-Shebaki, from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, was also killed, and his wife injured, by one of the 290 terrorist rockets that landed in Gaza, according to a Palestinian source. 

The Palestinian children killed by rockets fired by the terrorists

Al-Shebaki was not the only fatality caused by terrorist rockets falling inside Gaza. Two of the other 33 Palestinians killed were also killed by terrorist rockets that fell in Gaza. What differentiates between Al-Shebaki and the other two Gazans killed by terrorist rockets is their age.

According to the reports from a Palestinian source, Yazan Ilayan (16) and Layan Medoukh (8) were also killed on May 10, when a rocket fired by the terrorists fell on a 5-storey house in Gaza City.

Many years ago, the Palestinian leadership and terrorists learned an important reality: The world is very sensitive to Palestinian children being killed. Sickly, for the PA and other Palestinian terrorist organizations, dead Palestinian children are a “win-win”,” and as PMW has shown, the PA actively encourages children to seek death as Martyrs. (Watch PMW’s: “The Child-Martyrdom trap of the Palestinian Authority”).

The first “win” for the PA and other terrorist organizations is using the dead Palestinian children, their funeral processions and any other opportunity to demonize Israel and inflame Palestinian hatred. Their claim that “Israel executes Palestinian children” is heard any time a Palestinian child is killed whether they were an innocent by-stander, or someone who actively took part in terror.

The second “win” for the PA and other terrorist organizations is when international organizations such as UNICEF, the UN organization for the protection of children, then uses the death of the children to further demonize Israel in international arenas. Ignoring the Laws of War, and perpetuating the distorted Palestinian victim narrative, UNICEF, anti-Israel NGOs, and even members of foreign parliaments, use the deaths of the children to portray Israel as a serial abuser of children’s rights

Following this warped PA doctrine, it is clear that the PA would never admit that two children among the 33 victims they claim were killed by “Israel aggression”, were actually killed by their own terrorist rockets that landed in Gaza.

Identifying the Gazans killed

While there appears to be a common misconception that only terrorists from PIJ participated in the firing of the rockets and the wholesale attempts to indiscriminately murder Israelis, in reality many of the different terror groups in Gaza played an active role in the attack against Israel. Alongside PIJ, other groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) also published footage of their members participating in the hostilities.

Special attention should be paid to the participation of the PFLP and DFLP in the hostilities, since both of these groups are part of the Abbas-headed PLO, and receive funding from the PLO. While these groups continue to actively participate in terror and remain part of the PLO, it is clear that
the United States cannot cancel the designation of the PLO as a terror organization, as the PA constantly demands.

Reflecting their participation in terror, of the 31 remaining fatalities, three different Palestinian terror groups announced that 18 of those killed were members of their organizations. PIJ claimed 11 of the fatalities, the PFLP claimed 5 and the Palestinian Mujahideen Movement claimed 2:

  • PIJ published the following poster showing pictures of the members of the organization who were killed, alongside pictures of different armaments, ostensibly hinting that the organization used those weapons.  

PIJ terrorists from left to right (top row first):

Tariq Izz Al-Din, Khalil Bahimi, Jihad Al-Ghanam, Iyad Al-Hosni, Ali Ghali

Ilayan Abu Wadi, Abd El-Haleem Al-Najjar, Wael Al-Agha, Saed Ferwana, Mohammed Adb Al-Aal, Ahmed Abu Daqqa

  • The PFLP published two posters, one with the names of 4 terrorists and one with the remaining name:

PFLP terrorists from left to right:
Mohammd Abu Ta’mia, Ayman Sedam, Alaa Abu Ta’mia,  Alm Abd Al-Aziz, Uday Al-looh

  • The Palestinian Mujahideen Movement also published pictures of their terrorists killed:


Taking these admissions into account, a more accurate version of the picture of the fatalities that is circulating in the international media and social media would look like this:

It is important to stress, that while PMW was able to identify 18 of the the dead as terrorists, and another 2 as children killed by the terrorists, PMW did not and cannot confirm that the remaining 13 - out of the 33 claimed by the PA - people were killed in Israeli attacks. 

While the PA and other terror organizations are trying their utmost to paint Israel as the sole unjustified aggressor, the truth is that “Operation Shield and Arrow” was a direct response to the rockets fired by Gaza-based internationally designated terror organizations. While the Gazan terrorists indiscriminately targeted Israel’s civilian population, Israel targeted terror infrastructure and specific terrorists, successfully eliminating at least 18 of them. Needless to say, while the non-terrorist fatalities and casualties are extremely regrettable, the reality is that it is the terror organizations who intentionally place and fire their rockets from urban surroundings and use the Palestinians as human shields, who bear the responsibility for these deaths.

The question now is will the international community and organizations recognize the truth of “Operation Shield and Arrow” or will they fall for the Palestinian propaganda?  

2023 Operation Shield and Arrow – Israeli counter-terror operation against the Islamic Jihad terror organization in the Gaza Strip, in response to Islamic Jihad rocket attacks targeting Israel and particularly on May 2, 2023, when over 100 rockets were fired at Israel. Israel’s operation began on May 9, 2023, when Israel killed senior Islamic Jihad officials Khalil Al-Bahtini, Tareq Izz Al-Din, and Jihad Al-Ghannam together with 10 others, primarily their relatives, in targeted airstrikes. The terrorists were involved in the previous rocket attacks and were actively planning terror attacks in the West Bank. During Israel's operation, Islamic Jihad launched over 1,000 rockets, murdering 80-year-old female Israeli civilian Inga Avramyan and a 34-year-old Palestinian laborer from the Gaza Strip working in Israel. Approximately 20% of the rockets fell short within the Gaza Strip, killing at least 4 Palestinians. Israel attacked Islamic Jihad terror infrastructure and later in the operation also killed Islamic Jihad officials Ayed Al-Husseini, who was Al-Bahtini's replacement as commander of operations; Ali Ghali, commander of Islamic Jihad's rocket force; and Ghali's deputy Ahmed Abu Daqqa. An Egyptian mediated ceasefire was announced on May 13, 2023.


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