Israeli forces have killed more Palestinians in the occupied territories during 2022 than in any year since 2005 when the second intifada ended, according to Middle East Eye‘s (MEE) end of year report, which relies on UN, Palestinian, Israeli and rights groups’ data.
The report found that at least 220 Palestinians were killed, including 48 children, 167 of them in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and 53 in Gaza. Some 9,000 were injured in the West Bank, MEE stated, citing UN sources.
MEE said 95 Palestinian bystanders were shot by Israeli troops during raids or while taking part in anti-occupation protests, 21 Palestinian fighters were killed during clashes with Israeli troops; and in the cases of a further 20 people killed in Israeli raids, it was not clear whether or not they were combatants.
Five Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by Israeli forces, according to MEE, while the Israeli foreign ministry said Palestinians killed 29 Jewish Israelis.
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The uptick in violence – which has been well reported in Israeli, Palestinian and foreign media – followed several Palestinian attacks on Jewish Israelis in March. In response, Israel launched a protracted military campaign it called “Break the Wave” involving nightly raids into West Bank towns and cities. The main focus has been Nablus and Jenin in the north, where armed Palestinian “brigades” have emerged to counter Israeli incursions and mount attacks on Israeli military posts.
There is “a new dynamic in the West Bank and around Jerusalem” due to the emergence of a “new generation,” on both sides, UN envoy Tor Wennesland told the Washington Post. There was an “urgent need to de-escalate”, he said.
In a mid-December press release, UN human rights council experts “condemned the rampant Israeli settler violence and excessive use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank” during 2022. The experts, Francesa Albanese, Morris Tiball-Binzm and Clement Voule, reminded Israel that as long as the occupation existed, Palestinians “must be treated as protected persons, not enemies or terrorists”.
MEE, which is a London-based news website, cited Israeli rights group Yesh Din’s claim that “less than one per cent of [Israeli] soldiers accused of harming Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza are ever charged with crimes”. Yesh Din said this policy “encourages the continued use” of deadly force.
“Even in the rare cases in which soldiers are convicted of offences against Palestinians, the military courts hand down extremely lenient sentences,” Yesh Din stated in its annual report released last month.
Meanwhile on the ground in the West Bank, a Palestinian child, 15-year-old Adam Ayyad, was shot and killed on Tuesday by Israeli soldiers during a raid on the Deheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem, bringing fatalities in 2023 to three, the Palestinian ministry of health reported. Two Palestinian men, Mohammed Samir Houshieh (22) and Fouad Mahmoud Abed (25) were killed on Monday during an Israeli raid on the northern West Bank town of Kufr Dan, the ministry said.
Israel’s government spokesman has not replied to The Irish Times’ request for comment on Palestinian and Israeli fatalities.