U.S. Officials Should Stop Using Hamas’s Casualty Figures

Hamas disinformation about the number of civilian casualties in Gaza is being taken at face value and cited by U.S. officials, including U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who testified before Congress on February 29 that Israel has killed over 25,000 Palestinian women and children during its campaign in Gaza. In addition to being factually wrong, repeating Hamas-provided estimates implicitly legitimates Hamas’s casualty figures, which fail to distinguish between civilians and combatants.

To prevent Hamas’s propaganda figures from being propagated further—and remaining uncorrected for future historians and critics of Israel to cite—the Department of Defense should issue a formal correction of Secretary Austin’s remarks and initiate a process to correct the official committee hearing transcript.