How to lie with statistics (Palestinian version)

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Is Israel now a tyrannical mad dog state, arresting Palestinians in numbers that far exceed arrest numbers in other democracies, or do statistics show that Israeli police arrest far fewer people than are arrested elsewhere? ? More on this can be found here: “Israel haters lying with statistics, part 1: Arrest statistics”, Elder of Ziyon, November 13, 2022:

Someone named Laith Hanbali, of Al-Shabaka -The Palestine Policy Network, tweeted: “Israel arrested 690 Palestinians in October. That is about 1 Palestinian arrested every hour for a whole month!”

Sounds great, doesn’t it? More than 1300 people [who tweeted in response] thought so.

This is where it is important to discuss arithmetic: mathematical illiteracy. Apparently, most people can’t look at this statistic critically to realize how misleading it is.

Let’s start with another Palestinian source, Muetta, a Palestinian think tank that publishes monthly statistics on “acts of resistance.” 1,999 acts of this type are recorded in October. Some of them are vague like “resisting settler attacks,” which could mean anything, but almost a thousand of the events listed are life-threatening: shootings, firebombing, stabbings, car ramming, stone throwing.

By its own count, Israel did not arrest anywhere near the number of Palestinians who participated in violence. And that number has increased a lot this year.

Is 690 arrests a huge number compared to the number of attacks? clearly not. If anything, this shows that the Israeli arrests are not arbitrary and, if anything, not aggressive enough given the number of violent acts directed against the IDF and ordinary Israelis.

Given the number of Palestinians, is 690 arrests excessive? On the contrary. The number seems positively paltry compared to the number of arrests in large American cities with comparable populations.

There are around 4.7 million Palestinians in the territories, around 2.7 million of them in the West Bank alone. This is more than in the city limits of Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia. Goal in October, in Philadelphia (1.6 million people), police arrested 1,858 people, a rate about 5 times the rate of West Bank Palestinian arrests per million.

Chicago arrested more than 13,000 people, more than 18 every hour, during October.

That’s nothing compared to Houston, with more than 40,000 arrests in September (the most recent month for statistics). That’s 56 people every hour!…

Remember what Laith Hanbali of Al-Shabaka -The Palestine Policy Network tweeted? “Israel arrested 690 Palestinians in October. That is about 1 Palestinian arrested every hour for a whole month!”

Compare that “1 arrest per hour” among Palestinians to 5 per hour in Philadelphia, 18 per hour in Chicago, and 56 per hour 56 per hour in Houston.

Of course, there is another factor that makes Israel’s comparatively low number of arrests even more impressive. The kinds of crimes people get arrested for in Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, or London are what you’d expect: robbery, larceny, arson, rape, murder. Economic crimes predominate. But in Israel, many of the arrests are related to terrorist attacks, both of those who plan the attacks and those who carry them out. These crimes are the most common and a constant challenge for the security services in Israel. Terrorist attacks in Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Chattanooga are virtually non-existent. Due to an ongoing campaign of terror in Israel, a large number of the arrests made by the police and the IDF are terrorism-related, often involving the disbanding of a terror cell before it can act, leading to the one-time arrest. , five to ten members of a terrorist cell. This burden on the Israeli police to arrest terrorists, both those who have committed such acts and are now on the run, and those who are still in the planning stages of such acts, certainly increases the number of arrests. And that makes a figure like “690 arrests in a month” even more shockingly low.

There are other metrics one could use to compare the state of Israel with its neighbors. Israel does not lock people up simply because they oppose the government. Opposition is allowed, as long as it is peaceful. There are no political prisoners in Israel, although the Palestinians, of course, would claim that terrorists locked up in Israel for their murderous attacks, or planning such attacks, are being held as “political prisoners.” By contrast, in Egypt there are 60,000 political prisoners, in Saudi Arabia there are 30,000, in Syria 130,000 dissidents remain in prison, and in Iran, out of a total prison population of 190,000, some 35,000 – including 15,000 protesters recently – arrested, are believed to be they are political prisoners and not common criminals. Of course, the governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria deny holding political prisoners.

The next time the Palestinians, or their willing collaborators in the West, denounce Israel for the number of its monthly arrests, have both the size of the population and the number of arrests ready for an answer, in Chicago, Philadelphia. , Houston and Chattanooga, compared to the number of arrests and the population of Israel and the West Bank. And have on hand, too, the number of political prisoners held in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, and how those numbers compare to Israel’s number, zero, of such prisoners. Those answers should be enough to silence, at least for a while, Israel’s army of critics.