B’TSELEM: Israel-Palestinian conflict kills 8,900 in 20 years November 27, 2009

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Dawn.com -  22 November 2009

JERUSALEM: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed almost 8,900 lives in two decades, the vast majority of them Palestinians, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said in a statement published on Sunday.

Israeli forces killed 7,398 Palestinians, including 1,537 minors, both in Israel and the occupied territories during that period, while Palestinians killed 1,483 Israelis, including 139 minors, B’Tselem said.

Among the Israeli victims, 488 were police officers or military troops, and the remaining 995 were civilians killed in attacks in Israel or in the occupied territories, the statement said.

This year, marked by Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip, was the bloodiest in the past two decades for Palestinians.

A total of 1,033 Palestinians, including 315 minors, were killed so far in 2009, most of them during the Gaza war, the report said, adding that a total of 1,387 Palestinians were killed during the Israeli offensive.

Thirteen Israelis were killed, including four soldiers by friendly fire, in the three-week-long war that was launched on December 27.

For Israel, 2002, at the height of the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, was the deadliest year, with 420 people killed, including 269 civilians of whom 47 were minors, the statement said.

The statement, which marks B’Tselem 20th anniversary, also said 335 Palestinians are currently held without trial under Israeli military orders. In 1989 the number reached 1,794.

It also said Israeli authorities tore down 4,300 Palestinian homes over the past 20 years.

Israel justifies the demolitions saying the houses lacked the necessary permits, but Palestinians and human rights groups say the documents are virtually impossible to obtain.

In addition, B’Tselem estimates that 6,240 houses were destroyed during military operations in Gaza, including 3,540 during the December-January offensive which Israel said it launched to halt rocket attacks from the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.

The group took out a full-page ad in the Haaretz daily which looked like a funeral notice and stated: ‘The B’Tselem organisation regrets to announce that it has reached 20. We are fed up and people are fed up of us, but four million people live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are to this day deprived of their most basic human rights and they are even more fed up than we are,’ it said. —AFP


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