PunditFact: Claim about children's deaths in Gaza

As of late Thursday, a fragile cease fire appeared to be holding between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. But already the month-long conflict has led to dozens of deaths, more of them in Gaza than Israel. And sadly, many of those who have died have been children.

On his CNN show "The Lead," Jake Tapper tried to put the disparity between deaths on both sides of the conflict into context during an interview with Israeli spokesman Mark Regev.

"If my calculations are right, Israel has -- in the last three weeks -- killed more Palestinian children, more than 200, than the total number of Israeli soldiers killed in military operations since 2006," said Tapper.

That statement caused some waves online so PunditFact looked into his claim about the casualties in Israel and Gaza.

Tapper, and virtually every other major new organization, get the statistics on deaths from United Nations figures. When Tapper made his statement, the U.N. was reporting 229 child deaths.

"We found that his point was essentially correct," said Katie Sanders of PunditFact. "But there is some question about who is responsible for all of the Palestinian children deaths."

Sanders said some of the bombings in Gaza are under dispute, with neither side taking the blame or credit.

"We don't know if it's from Hamas or Israeli military. And there's also been some children who've been killed during fire fights. And in those situations you're not really sure whose bullet killed the child, which is a very sad thing to say.

PunditFact checked casualty figures from the Israeli government and other sources since 2006. They found the number of soldier deaths at 221, eight less than the number of children.

PunditFact says that Tapper's numbers are accurate, but because there are some questions about who's responsible for the deaths of every Palestinian child, they could only rule his claim MOSTLY TRUE.

PunditFact also looked at criticism from Fox News pundit Greta Van Susteren about a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry and Hamas leaders. Click here to read their findings on the claim.


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