Sharp increase in Palestinian deaths in 2011

A human rights group has found a sharp rise in the number of civilians killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    B'Tselem found that in 2011, the Israeli army killed a total of 105 Palestinians in Gaza and 11 in the West Bank [EPA]

    The past year saw a sharp rise in the number of civilians killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a human rights group said.

    An annual report from the Jerusalem-based B'Tselem showed that in 2011 Israeli security forces killed a total of 105 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, of whom 37 were confirmed as non-combatants.

    "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, but pulled its settlers and soldiers out of Gaza in 2005. It still occupies the other areas until today.

    The 63-page B'Tselem report said that the 2010 Gaza total was 68 fatalities, of whom 18 were not taking part in hostilities.

    In the West Bank and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, it said, Israelis killed 11 Palestinians in 2011, although it 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 quoted its executive director, Jessica Montell, as saying.

    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 and one 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.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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