The Palestinian counts of their dead in their own Al Aqsa
intifadah include those they killed themselves. Also,
Palestinian spokesman have no compunction about calling for
"revenge" on Israel for Palestinian killing.
A case in point is an explosion last Sunday night that killed
Samir Abu Zeid and two of his children. Just before midnight
Sunday, Zeid, a commander in the Palestinian Popular
Resistance Movement, was blown up in the yard of his home in
the Rafah refugee camp. The large explosion also killed his
seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. Nine others
from his family were injured.
On Monday, Hamas "vowed" revenge against Israel for the
explosion and said that it has suicide bombers waiting inside
Israel to carry out attacks.
However, by late Monday, the IDF determined with relative
certainty that Zeid killed himself and his children in what it
euphemistically terms a "work accident". That is, that Zeid
blew himself and his family up while preparing a bomb to use
The Palestinians first said that the deaths of the Zeids were
caused by missiles fired by the IDF.
In its first reaction, the IDF flatly denied this, saying that
it knew that none of its forces in the area had fired any sort
of weapon that could have caused such an explosion. The IDF
did ascertain that Palestinians in the general area had been
firing mortar shells, and initially speculated that one of
those shells had fallen on the family.
However an AP reporter who visited the house on Monday found
no evidence of either a missile, mortar shell, or other
projectile, and there was also no crater which would have been
expected if there was a hit either by a rocket or a mortar
shell. Buckled and bloodstained sheets of corrugated iron were
scattered around, and neighbors said Palestinian police had
removed all the "evidence."
By Monday afternoon the IDF Spokesman said that they had
"credible and confirmed" evidence Abu Zeid blew himself and
his children up while making a powerful bomb in his yard.
On Monday afternoon, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ron Kitrey
explained to the press: "We know two facts for sure: Abu Zeid
and his two kids were killed and others were wounded at the
site, and we know for certain that our forces did not open
"On the basis of these two facts, we presumed, due to what was
happening on that front at that moment, that a mortar shell
which had been fired missed its target, as often happens, and
landed in Palestinian territory. And we put out a statement
that it was this shell which hit these people."
Kitrey said the IDF received more intelligence information
during the night which led to the change in its original
"We know now beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was a `work
accident.' I am not sure, but Abu Zeid was apparently dealing
with explosives and trying to assemble a bomb," he told Israel
Also on Monday, Palestinians in Nablus buried Salah Zeidan,
33, who was shot in a clash with troops late Sunday night. His
family told reporters that he had not been involved in the
fighting and was hit in the chest when he went out to his
porch. The IDF said that its position on Mount Grizim had come
under fire and troops returned fire.
These names are added to the list of Palestinian dead, which
now number over 600. Zeidan, for example, was killed by the
IDF even though it was in returning file, but responsibility
for Zeid's death and the death of his children lies entirely
with Zeid himself.
Painstaking Israeli investigation of Palestinian claims has
found them to be far less than they seem. The 12-year-old
child killed in cross-fire in the early days of the intifadah
almost a year ago, was found by the IDF to have "probably"
been shot in the back by Palestinian fire. Through an
elaborate reenactment and careful measurements of the angles
of fire, the IDF found that it was impossible for its soldiers
to have hit the boy, but there was a clear line to Palestinian
Another "martyr" listed among the dead is a doctor who died
from a sudden heart attack in his car, according to his
family. Another child listed as a "martyr" was killed when a
member of her family was playing with a gun.
Israeli dead acknowledged are about a quarter of the
Palestinian number, but all of those were murdered by
terrorists and most of them are entirely innocent
Nonetheless, these contrasting figures are repeatedly cited to
show that the Palestinians are suffering more from the
One observer suggested that a number that more accurately
represents the situation is the number of attacks by the two
sides. Since the beginning of the hostilities, the IDF says
that the Palestinians had initiated 6,600 attacks as of August
14, in which 155 Israelis were killed, including 60 suicide
attacks. The IDF spokesman did not give the number of IDF
attacks on Palestinians, but it is estimated to be less than
300, or about 20 times less. These two figures provide a more
accurate summary of the dimensions of the activity.