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Excessive and Indiscriminate Use of Force; Deportation; Detention and Torture

In the OPT -Since the beginning of the second Intifada, Israel has launched dozens of military operationsi with the aim to suppress the Palestinian uprising. Israel as the occupying power routinely employs excessive and indiscriminate force, willful killing and extrajudicial assassination.ii At least 39,000 Palestinians have been injured and 6,322 killed in the current Intifada since 29 September 2000.

This number includes the approximately 6,800 Palestinian casualties (1,414 dead, more than 5,000 injured) in the Gaza Strip – the overwhelming majority of them refugees – inflicted by Israel’s military operation between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009.iii Among those killed since 2000 are 1,165 Palestinian children and 279 women. Among the dead are 742 persons murdered in extra-judicial assassinations, as well as 11 journalists and 26 medical personnel.iv

Since 1968 Israel has deported approximately 2,000 Palestinians. This does not include between 6,000 and 20,000 Bedouin farmers evicted from the Rafah salient southwest of the occupied Gaza Strip between 1969 and 1972.v Deportees include Palestinians who fought against the Israeli occupation and served time in Israeli prisons, political activists, school principals and supervisors who protested against censorship of textbooks, teachers and students who initiated school boycotts, and attorneys who organized lawyers’ strikes. A substantial but unknown number of them were able have their deportation orders rescinded in the mid-1990s. Since 2002, Israel has also forcibly transferred (“assigned residence”) to at least 76 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank to the segregated Gaza

Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned an estimated 700,000 Palestiniansvii on charges related to the political struggle and resistance. At least 40 percent of all Palestinian males in the OPT are estimated to have served time in prison.viii At the end of July 2009, Israel held 7,430 Palestinians in detention facilities, including 333 minors. 387 additional Palestinians were held without trial in so-called “administrative detention.”ix 

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are subjected to various forms of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.xIn Israel - At least 43 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed since September 2000 by Israeli police and state security forces, or Jewish citizens.xi In only one incident was a police officer convicted for killing a Palestinian citizen, with the perpetrator sentenced to 6 months in prison.xii This despite a governmental commission set up in the wake of the police killings of 13 citizens in October 2000, which recommended the state do away with discrimination. 2008 witnessed at least 17 incidents of violence of police or security forces resulting in injury of Palestinian citizens.

Approximately 150 Palestinian citizens of Israel are held in Israeli prisons on charges related to the political struggle and resistance.
iA brief overview of some Israeli military operations in Gaza from 2004 on: "Operation Rainbow", 12-14 May 2004: 66 killed, 261 homes destroyed in Rafah; "Operation Days of Penitence", 28 September – 15 October 2004, Jabaliya Refugee Camp and Beit Lahiya: 103 dead, 4,000 displaced, 83 homes destroyed, 18 workshops, 19 public institutions, 210 acres of agricultural land razed; end of March – mid-May 2006, Israel undertakes a policy of firing artillery shells at Gaza. The Israeli media reports 5,100 shells fired during this time; "Operation Summer Rains", 25 June – 15 November 2006: a wide scale campaign involving many sub-operations each of which lasts several days. They include: "Operation Southern Shalit" (28 June); "Operation Bashan Oaks" (2 July); "Operation Feedback" (12 July); "Operation Final Grade" (July 16); "Operation Samson's Pillars" (26 July); "Operation Horizon Line (August 2); "Operation Locked Garden" (26 August); "Operation Rain Man" (14 October); "Operation Four Kinds" (16 October); "Operation Squeezed Fruit" (17 October); and "Operation Autumn Clouds" on 1 November. In total 434 Palestinians were killed; in 2007 some 290 Palestinians were killed in more military operations, including "Operation Warm Winter", 29 February, 2008: 69 Palestinians killed in Jabaliya.
ii The Palestinian Center for Human Rights documents the death of 3741 Palestinians during the Second Intifada at the hands of the Israeli occupation army, between 29 September, 2000 and 20 December, 2008. A further 1130 Palestinians were killed in armed clashes and 742 were assassinated. See PCHR website "Statistics related to the Al Aqsa Intifada" at:
A concise example of Israel's use of excessive and indiscriminate force was seen in Israel's assault against the Gaza Strip in operation codenamed "Cast Lead." The United Nation's fact finding committee established in the wake of the assault affirmed this conclusion, hinting at the Israeli Occupation army committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. See Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, Human Rights Council, Twelfth session, A/HRC/12/48, 15 September, 2009.
iii For statistics based on a variety of official and NGO sources, see for example: (last visited 13 May, 2009).
iv See "Statistics" at: accessed 7 May, 2009; also: "The Dead in the course of the Israeli recent military offensive on the Gaza strip between 27 December, 2008 and 18 January, 2009." Special Report at:, and a PCHR press release of 12 March, 2009 (REF: 36/2009).
vSee Masalha, Nur, A Land without a People: Israel, Transfer and the Palestinians, London: Faber & Faber Ltd, 1997.For more detail and additional references, see Appendix 1.1 in this Chapter.
.vi Between October 2000 and 2004, for example, Israel “assigned residence” in the Gaza Strip to approximately 50 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank. The Annual Report for 2004, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, May 2005, p. 40. “Under a secret agreement brokered with international assistance, 39 of the Palestinians [who had been besieged in Bethlehem's Church of Nativity] were deported or transferred on 10 May, 2002, 26 of them to the Gaza Strip and 13 others abroad, mainly to Europe.” Coakley, Kate and Divac Oberg, Marko “Israel’s Deportations and Forcible Transfers of Palestinians out of the West Bank During the Second Intifada” Occasional Paper 15, Ramallah: Al Haq, April 2006, p. 3.
vii "Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. 2008 Annual Report", B’Tselem
viii Addameer, "Political Detention: The Infinite Violation of Human Rights", at: At the end of 2008, Israel held at least 9,000 Palestinians, including 248 children and 69 women. 900 Palestinians, including elected members of the Palestinian parliament in the OPT, were held in administrative detention. PCHR Annual Report 2008.
x See, for example, PCHR Annual Report 2008, p. 52.
xi This includes 24 Palestinian citizens shot dead by Israeli policemen; 5 Arab citizens shot dead by Israeli soldiers; 8 Arab citizens shot dead by Jewish citizens; and 2 Arab citizens shot dead by private security companies; 2 Arab citizens shot dead by Israeli soldiers serving in police and border patrol. "October 2000, the events in Akka…Today Um El-Fahem…what is the future?" Mossawa Center, 15 December, 2008.
xii “Racism Report 2009", Mossawa Center, March 2009.


Last modified on Thursday, 03 June 2010 10:26