"Israel has committed the war crime of the 21st century," cried a Palestinian representative. Using massive force against a crowded refugee camp, Saeb Erakat claimed, the Israelis had "massacred" hundreds of Palestinian civilians. A CNN reporter used the figure of 300-400 dead. Peter Hansen, the commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) told a Danish newspaper that 300-400 Palestinians had been killed.
The place was not Gaza in 2009, but Jenin in 2002. The great Jenin massacre turned out to be another in a long series of false atrocity stories manufactured by the Palestinians and credulously repeated by the international press (which likes nothing so much as the image of vicious Israelis). Cartoonists across Europe delighted in drawing Israelis in Nazi uniforms. Le Monde ran a cartoon comparing the destruction of Jenin with the Nazi destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto.
In fact, in August 2002, the United Nations and Human Rights Watch (neither very friendly to Israel) put the final fatality figures at 26 Palestinian fighters, 26 civilians and 23 Israeli soldiers. The Israeli casualty figures were comparatively high because the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) decided to fight street by street with soldiers on foot instead of using air power or tanks precisely to minimize civilian casualties. The houses in Jenin were booby-trapped. The terrorists surrounded themselves with civilians.
Now we are told that Gaza suffered 1,300 killed and up to 4,000 wounded. These numbers come exclusively from Hamas sources and have not been independently verified. In fact, the numbers have been challenged by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which put the number of dead at between 500 and 600, the majority of whom were young men. Others suggest that as many as 1,000 may have been killed, the majority Hamas fighters.