Wednesday, November 01, 2023


I'm open to arguments that public diplomacy is a complicated and tricky game, occasionally even requiring public dishonesty, but Biden's calling into question casualty figures without any justification was way out of bounds.
Biden’s dismissal of the ministry’s statistics — that he had “no confidence” in them — was striking. The State Department has regularly cited ministry statistics without caveats in its annual human rights reports. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which tracks deaths in the conflict, has found the ministry’s numbers to be reliable after conducting its own investigation. “Past experience indicated that tolls were reported with high accuracy,” an OCHA official told The Fact Checker.

Medhat Abbas, the Gaza Health Ministry’s director general, said in an interview that he was so disturbed by Biden’s comment that he ordered his staff to release a 212-page document with the name of every victim identified so far — including age, sex and identity number. The list included almost 7,000 names.