B'Tselem: sharp rise in violence by Israeli soldiers against West Bank Palestinians since Gaza war

The Israeli human rights information center B’Tselem reported that: “Since the beginning of Operation ‘Cast Lead’ at the end of 2008, there has been a sharp rise in reports of violence perpetrated by security forces against Palestinians in the West Bank. During this nearly three-month period, B’Tselem documented 24 cases in which police officers and soldiers beat Palestinians, using rifle butts, clubs and other means of injury. 16 of the cases were especially serious and their victims suffered heavier injuries. As it is impossible for B’Tselem to document each and every case of violence by security forces in the West Bank, the above figures necessarily reflect only a portion of the violent incidents that actually occurred, and it is likely that other attacks went unreported. The documented cases took place throughout the West Bank – some at checkpoints, others in Palestinian homes, and some on roadways”.

B’Tselem noted that “For some time, violence of varying intensity by police and soldiers has been part of daily Palestinian life in the West Bank. Although Israeli officials condemn beating and abuse of Palestinians and rush to disassociate themselves from such acts, the law-enforcement authorities refrain from carrying out serious investigations of reported incidents and from prosecuting the perpetrators, rarely taking any measures against them. Since the outbreak of the second intifada, in September 2000, B’Tselem has forwarded to the authorities complaints regarding 345 offenses of violence by security forces. In only 14 of these cases, to B’Tselem’s knowledge, were disciplinary or criminal proceedings initiated against security forces … The authorities’ policy relays to security forces in the field a clear message of contempt for Palestinians’ bodies and dignity and impunity from bearing the consequences of their acts”.

This B’Tselem report can be read in full on the organizations website here.


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