MOURNERS CARRY the body of Odah Hamad at his fun.
(photo credit: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)
The number of Palestinians killed in 2013 by IDF-related
violence in the Gaza Strip dropped by 96 percent compared to 2012, but rose in
the West Bank by almost 238%, according to information published Monday by the
Israeli NGO B’Tselem.
The relatively high number of Palestinian
fatalities in Gaza in 2012 was largely due to an eight-day IDF action named
Operation Pillar of Defense in November of that year. It broke out after
hostilities flared with Hamas.
According to B’Tselem, 246 Palestinians
were killed by the IDF in the Gaza Strip that year; 167 of those deaths came
during Pillar of Defense. B’Tselem noted that 104 of the 167 were not taking
part in the hostilities.
Even if one compares the nine Palestinian
fatalities from IDF-related violence in the Gaza Strip this year to the 79 that
occurred outside Pillar of Defense, the drop is still significant, at
In 2013, the highest number of Palestinian fatalities was in the
West Bank, where Israeli security forces killed 27 Palestinians in 21 incidents.
The IDF killed eight Palestinians there last year.
The report did not
analyze the reasons for the rise in West Bank fatalities or the drop in the Gaza
deaths, but provided details about the 21 incidents involving Palestinian
fatalities in the West Bank this year.
Nine of the incidents involved
security forces entering Palestinian communities to arrest wanted suspects,
B’Tselem said. In four of these cases, soldiers shot at stone throwers. In
another four there were exchanges of live fire. The NGO said it was unable to
verify the ninth incident, in which both sides were said to have shot at each
The report said that seven of the incidents involved stone
throwing. In four of those cases, soldiers fired at Palestinians who were
throwing stones at them. In the other three, soldiers fired “while lying in wait
to capture stone throwers,” B’Tselem said.
B’Tselem said that this year
in the Gaza Strip, Israeli security forces killed four Palestinians engaged in
violence against Israel. Another, it said, was killed in a targeted
assassination. In the sixth case, the circumstances of the death were unclear.
The NGO added that in three instances, the Palestinians were not taking part in
hostilities when they were killed.
The report also chastised the IDF
Adjutancy-General Corps for failing to hold soldiers accountable for their
actions in spite of a new, more stringent policy adopted almost three years
The B’Tselem report also recorded that Palestinians killed three
Israeli civilians this year, two in the West Bank and one in Israel near the
Gaza border, compared to four Israeli civilians killed last year, all by
Palestinian rocket fire in the South. Separately, Palestinians killed three
Israeli security personnel in Israel and the West Bank. In 2012 there were no
Israeli civilian fatalities from Palestinian violence in the West Bank or