[News] 5-year high in number of Palestinians killed in West Bank

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Dec 31 11:41:48 EST 2013


*'5-year high' in number of Palestinians killed in West Bank*

Published today (updated) 31/12/2013 18:03

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel killed 27 Palestinians in the occupied West 
Bank in 2013, making it the deadliest year for Palestinian fatalities 
since 2008, Israeli rights group B'Tselem said Monday.

According to data compiled by the rights group, three times as many 
Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in 2013 compared to 2012.

By contrast, in 2012 Israeli security forces killed eight Palestinians 
in the West Bank and 246 in the Gaza Strip, including at least 167 in 
its November war on the coastal territory.

In nine of the 2013 West Bank killings, Israeli military forces raided 
Palestinian communities during arrest operations.

Four of those killings involved an exchange of fire, according to 
Israel's army, while four other cases involved Israeli soldiers opening 
fire after stones had been thrown at them.

Seven other killings took place while Israeli soldiers were lying in 
wait to capture alleged stone throwers or after Israeli soldiers had 
used live fire against Palestinians throwing stones.

One Palestinian was killed when he tried to enter Israel without a 
permit, one female bystander was shot dead by soldiers, another man was 
killed after breaking into a military base with a tractor and one man 
was shot after allegedly assaulting a border police officer.

In the final case, the Israeli border police volunteer retracted his 
original claim that Antar Shalabi Mahmoud al-Aqraa had tried to stab him 
before being shot dead.

In the Gaza Strip, nine Palestinians were killed, four of whom were 
allegedly taking part in hostilities when they were killed and three who 
were not, B'Tselem said.

In one case the group said it is unknown if the victim was taking part 
in hostilities. Another Palestinian was assassinated by Israeli forces.

Three-year-old Hala Abu Sbeikha was killed last Tuesday in Gaza 
following an Israeli airstrike.

*Investigations into killings 'slow and cumbersome'*

B'Tselem says that over two years have passed since a new investigative 
policy by the MAG Corps unit went into effect, in which time 35 
Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers.

A total of 23 investigations into the fatalities were launched, with the 
MAG corps reaching a decision on only five of the cases.

In one case, a decision was made not to open an investigation, in three 
cases the file was closed, and in another an Israeli soldier was 
indicted and convicted by plea bargain based on his admission, B'Tselem 

"The sharp rise in fatalities in the West Bank only serves to intensify 
concern about lack of accountability. Admittedly, MPIU investigations 
are now launched almost automatically, yet the essence of the 
investigative mechanism remains unchanged," B'Tselem Director Jessica 
Montell said.

"It is slow and cumbersome and decisions are made only years after an 
incident takes place. Such a mechanism, in which practically no one is 
held accountable for the killing of Palestinians, does not serve as a 
deterrent and indicates disregard for human life."

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