Israel's army and police are using "reckless force" in the West Bank, killing dozens of Palestinian civilians over the past three years, says a new report by Amnesty International published Thursday.
The organization accuses Israeli security forces of "callous disregard for human life", arguing that in the deaths of Palestinians by Israeli troops that it examined, none appeared to pose "a direct and immediate threat to life".
The report also accuses Israel
of war crimes in the West Bank, saying that there is evidence in some of the deaths of "willful killings".
Violent riots in Hebron (Photo: EPA/Archive)
According to Philip Luther, the director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa program, "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."
He said that number of such incidents and the lack of accountability for those responsible pointed to a deliberate Israeli policy of abuse.
“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,” he said.
The report released Thursday investigated the deaths of 22 Palestinians last year, including four children. The group says at least 14 were killed during protests. It says soldiers' lives did not appear to be at risk.
The Israeli military responds that troops try to contain violence initiated by Palestinians, like rock-throwing, and the use of live fire is only permitted in life-threatening situations.
AP contributed to this report.