Palestinians have found, in their decades of fighting Israel, that well crafted lies can be an effective weapon. The recent 22 day battle in Gaza, between Hamas and Israel, ended with the Palestinians claiming they had lost 1,300 dead, and the Israelis admitting to 13 (including four soldiers from friendly fire.) Now, as reporters get into Gaza, and start asking questions, the Palestinian death toll is starting to shrink. Medical personnel at the Palestinian hospitals say that there appeared to be no more than about 500 dead, and most of them were young males (guys of fighting age). Civilian dead appear to have been no more than a hundred or so.
Gaza is not the first time this has happened. Take the 2002 battle in Jenin, in the West Bank. Jenin was a refugee camp that had been taken over by five terrorist groups (including Hamas) and used as a base for launching over a hundred attacks on Israelis (mostly civilians.) The fighting went on for nine days, and even before it was over (with a crushing defeat for the terrorists) it was being claimed that the Israelis had massacred over a thousand Arab civilians. But once a detailed investigation was conducted, outside experts (most of them pro-Arab) concluded that only 53 Arabs were killed (only five could be conclusively proven to be civilians), and 23 Israelis (who went to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilian casualties). The rest were armed Palestinians trying to kill Israelis. Some 200 Arab terrorists also surrendered, and a few escaped the camp.
When the Palestinians first made their claims of an Israeli massacre, the generally anti-Israeli Western media (especially in Europe, where anti-Semitism was awakening from its post-World War II slumber) accepted the claims and pumped out stories of the alleged Israeli barbarity. The Palestinians provided photo ops and trained witnesses to the alleged atrocities. Most Western media took all this at face value. Same thing happened recently in Gaza, although there were a few more Western, and Moslem, journalists who were skeptical. But they had to keep it down, as the Palestinian propaganda was still ascendant.
Back in 2002, it wasn't long before the edifice of lies began to crumble. Aerial photos of Jenin showed the area where the fighting took place was very small area. Efforts to identify victims kept coming up with only a few dozen dead. Some of more strident anti-Israeli groups insisted that this was all a clever Israeli cover-up, and that hundreds of dead Arabs were secretly carted away and disposed of. But no one could find anyone who knew any of these mystery dead. The same thing is happening in Gaza. And why wouldn't it.