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Report: Deaths of civilian Palestinians growing

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 21st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Jerusalem-based human rights group B'Tselem has uncovered some unwelcome news. Civilian Palestinians being killed in recent Israeli-Palestinian conflicts has grown. According to their latest report, the Israeli army killed a total of 105 Palestinians in Gaza and 11 in the West Bank. Thirty-seven of these people have been confirmed as non-combatants.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The picture is harsh, not because of dramatic events or a sudden deterioration, but precisely because of the routine," the report said.

"This year, we enter the 45th year since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip. What was supposed to be a temporary situation appears firmly entrenched with no change in sight."

Israel captured the West Bank, the Golan Heights, mainly Arab east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Six-Day War. While Israel has pulled out its settlers and soldiers out of Gaza in 2005, it still occupies the other areas today.

The 63-page B'Tselem report said that the 2010 Gaza total was 68 fatalities. Eighteen of these people killed were not taking part in hostilities.

According to the report, in the West Bank and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, Israelis killed 11 Palestinians in 2011. The report could not give a definitive breakdown of how many were engaged in hostilities.

"Human rights violations are inherent in a military occupation, and the protracted nature of Israel's occupation only exacerbates human rights violations," B'Tselem's Executive Director Jessica Montell said.

Between January and December 2011, B'Tselem said, Palestinians killed 11 Israeli civilians, among them a couple and three of their children murdered in their West Bank settlement home.

Eight of the deaths occurred in the West Bank, two in rocket attacks on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. One death occurred from a bomb in Jerusalem.

In 2010 five Israeli civilians, two foreign nationals and three members of the Israeli security forces were killed, the report said.

The report also found that Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians are not properly investigated.

B'Tselem has filed 352 complaints regarding attacks by Israeli civilians against Palestinians and their property, including gunfire, assault, and theft of crops and torching of fields.

Investigations were opened into 250 cases, but only 29 resulted in an indictment.

In some cases, security forces were present during attacks but did not intervene and on occasions they took part in the violence.

The Israeli army said in a statement they had received the report earlier in the day, and it "will be thoroughly studied."

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