Feb. 10, 2015
The UN relies mainly for information on casualties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) on the NGO Protection Cluster framework which in turn is linked to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the (OCHA-OPT). The OCHA-OPT has in turn appointed three NGOs to provide data on Palestinian casualties: The Israel based B’Tselem and Gaza based Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), both of which rely heavily on information from the Hamas Ministry of Health in Gaza.
B’Tselem dominates the Palestinian casualty information scene and one should expect that with its international funding and extensive world wide contacts, this organization would observe a rigid standard to maintain credibility in its data collection methodology. Sadly, the opposite is the case. Unfortunately B’Tselem provides the UN and the world with much unverified, inaccurate information.
For example during the recent Gaza conflict B’Tselem relied largely on telephone interviews to provide information that it claims to be reliable. Believe it or not! B’Tselem’s web site declares without embarrassment: