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Palestinian killed in West Bank as report decries excessive force

JTA

February 27, 2014 | 10:15 am

Israeli soldiers near Ramallah on Jan. 31. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

Israeli soldiers near Ramallah on Jan. 31. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

The Israeli military rejected an Amnesty International report accusing its soldiers of using excessive force against Palestinians.

On Thursday, the day the report was released, Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian man suspected of planning to carry out a terror attack in the West Bank.

Amnesty International in its 87-page report concluded that Israeli forces over the past three years have used excessive force against Palestinians in the West Bank, leading to the deaths of dozens of Palestinian citizens.

The report, titled “Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank,” examined what it said were human rights abuses against Palestinians in the West Bank by soldiers acting with “near total impunity.” It called for an independent evaluation of the deaths of 45 Palestinian civilians killed in the West Bank in the past three years.

Many of the killings occurred during Palestinian protests.

“The report presents a body of evidence that shows a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings and unwarranted injuries of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces in the West Bank,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International. “The frequency and persistence of arbitrary and abusive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers and police officers – and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators – suggests that it is carried out as a matter of policy.”

In rejecting the findings of the report, the Israel Defense Forces said there has been a rise in Palestinian violence in the West Bank in recent years.

“Amnesty International wholly ignores the substantial increase in Palestinian violence initiated over the past year, and shows a complete lack of understanding as to operational challenges the IDF is posed with,” the IDF Spokesman’s office said in a statement.

“The IDF operates in Judea and Samaria in order to contain Palestinian initiated violence. Where feasible the IDF contains this life threatening violence using riot dispersal means, including – loud sirens, water cannons, sound grenades and tear gas. Only once these tools have been exhausted and human life and safety remains under threat, is the use of precision munition authorized,” the statement said.

In the West Bank, the wanted Palestinian, 22, was killed after barricading himself in his home in a town near Ramallah, according to reports. His home was surrounded by Israeli police and soldiers.

Reuters reported that the man was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and had helped plan and carry out several attacks in the West Bank.

“Early today a terrorist resisted arrest in Bir Zeit, forcing IDF soldiers to open fire. Forces found the suspect dead in his home w/ a rifle,” the IDF said in a tweet on Thursday.

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