B’Tselem is an Israeli human rights group. This week it commemorates its 20th anniversary with the release of data collected over a 20-year-period. It makes for grim reading:
In the last 20 years Israeli security forces killed 7,398 Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories. While 1999 saw the lowest level of Palestinian casualties – 8 altogether – in 2009, the number of Palestinian killed rose to 1,033.
During the same period Palestinians killed 1,483 Israelis, of whom 488 belonged to Israel’s security forces and 995 were civilians. And while – again – 1999 saw the lowest number of Israeli casualties – 4 in all – in 2002, which was a bloody year of suicide attacks on Israeli towns and cities, 420 Israelis were killed.
Of the measures used by the IDF in the Occupied Territories, house demolition is one of the most controversial. According to B’Tselem, in the last twenty years, Israel has demolished at least 4,300 Palestinian houses, either for being built without a permit, or as punishment. This figure, however, does not include the destruction of property during military operations which amounts to some 6,240 Palestinian houses.
As for Jewish settlers: while in 1989, 69,800 lived in the West Bank and 118,100 in East Jerusalem, today – over 300,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and 190,000 in East Jerusalem.