Israeli occupation forces killed 313 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, including 71 minors, Israeli rights group, B’Tselem, said in a report issued on Tuesday.
The report stated that 236 in the Gaza Strip, mostly during the Israel offensive on Gaza between 11 and 21 May, and 77 in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
According to B’Tselem, three other Palestinians were killed either by armed settlers or by soldiers who were escorting the settlers.
It also stated that “another Palestinian minor was shot by an Israeli civilian and, later, by Border Police officers; and two Palestinians were killed by armed settlers.”
Human Rights Watch has reported a United Nations report saying that “during the May fighting, attacks by the Israeli military killed 260 Palestinians”. The report also said that this number included 66 children.
About the Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank, B’Tselem said that 32 of them “killed by the Israeli security forces, including nine minors, were killed at or near demonstrations or in incidents in which Palestinians hurled stones.”
It added: “Among them were Islam Dar Nasser, 16, and Muhammad Tamimi, 17, whom soldiers shot from behind.”B’Tselem also stated that the “14 May 2021 was the deadliest day in the West Bank since 2002: 13 Palestinians were killed… Among them were Nidal Safadi, ‘Awad Harb and Isma’il Tubasi – all three killed by armed settlers or by soldiers escorting them.”
The Israeli rights group said that it investigated 336 incidents of settler violence in 2021, compared to 251 in 2020.
“These incidents make it abundantly clear that settler violence is not a private initiative but another, less formal tool, that Israel’s apartheid regime uses to take over more and more Palestinian land,” B’Tselem said.
In its report, B’Tselem said, “Israel’s lethal, wanton, unlawful open-fire policy resulted in the killing of hundreds of Palestinians this past year. About 70 per cent were killed in the Gaza Strip when the criminal policy of bombarding densely populated areas was implemented.”
B’Tselem said that senior Israeli officials “insist that lethal fire is used as a last resort, in accordance with Israeli and international law, and stress that the incidents are investigated.
“Yet the facts show otherwise: lethal shootings are a routine affair, and no one is held accountable.”