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LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment
Special Report on the First Year of the Palestinian Intifada - Extracts,
29 September, 2001


Introduction

The ongoing Palestinian Intifada has entered its second year. On Friday September 29, 2000, Israeli troops stormed the Noble Sanctuary (Al-Haram al-Sharif) and opened fire on Palestinian worshippers, killing four and wounding more than 200. Consequently, clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces and a fifth Palestinian was killed. On the third day, ten more Palestinians were killed. On the following day, violent clashes broke out between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers and spread to all main Palestinian cities. Eleven Palestinians were killed. On the third day ten more Palestinians were shot to death by Israeli troops. On the fourth day, Palestinians living inside the Green Line clashed with Israeli police and border guards, and 16 Palestinians were killed, including seven from within the Green Line. The Intifada intensified and more Palestinians fell victim to the Israeli excessive and disproportionate use of force.
The Israeli occupation forces committed blatant human-rights violations during the first year of the Intifada. According to LAW's documentation, excessive force has been used against the Palestinian stone-throwers, even though such stone-throwing was not life-threatening to the soldiers. Evidently, excessive and disproportionate use of force by Israel was aimed at causing as many Palestinian casualties as possible.

Excessive Use of Deadly Force

According the LAW's documentation, many Palestinians died from tear-gas inhalation and from rubber-coated steel bullets. In several cases, tear-gas inhalation caused spasms and fits, which raised fears amongst Palestinian medical sources that Israeli forces were using a new type of tear gas. Furthermore, LAW's documentation proved that rubber-coated steel bullets used by Israeli forces were fatal when used at close range.
LAW's documentation shows that 678 Palestinians were killed during the first year of the Intifada, as follows:
• 578 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers
• 23 Palestinians were killed by Israeli settlers
• 28 Palestinians were killed in circumstances in which Israeli forces were suspected to be involved in their deaths
• 22 Palestinians died at Israeli military roadblocks after being prevented from crossing for emergency medical reasons
• 27 Palestinians died in suicide bombings.
The number of Palestinians killed includes 30 females, 19 of whom were shot dead by Israeli troops and Jewish settlers, 8 died at Israeli military roadblocks, and 3 died under suspicious circumstances. The figure also includes 173 children under 18 years of age: 162 were shot dead by Israeli troops, 7 died under suspicious circumstances, and 4 died at military roadblocks. Furthermore, those killed include 4 Palestinian doctors, a German doctor, 3 paramedics, 3 Palestinian journalists and 95 police officers. One hundred and sixty-two Palestinians were killed during Israeli shelling and 35 Palestinians were assassinated by Israeli forces. Seventeen Palestinians were killed during extra-judicial executions of Intifada activists.

The Wounded

According the LAW's documentation, 10,596 Palestinians sustained gunfire and shrapnel wounds, including 6,722 in the West Bank and 3,874 in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, thousands of Palestinians sustained injuries from tear- gas inhalation, from falling while trying to escape indiscriminate Israeli shelling of Palestinian homes, and from being physically attacked by Israeli troops and settlers.

Extra-Judicial Execution

Israeli forces assassinated 35 Palestinians during the first year of the Intifada: 33 civilians and two policemen. Seventeen Palestinian passersby died simply because they were present at the scene of these extra-judicial executions. Weaponry used to carry out these assassinations included sniper fire, helicopter gunship missile fire, tank-fire and explosive devices planted in vehicles and telephone booths. The killings were carried out under circumstances that demonstrate complete disregard for the risk involved to the lives of innocent bystanders. Some of those targeted were gunned down in town centers, or even in taxis while other passengers were present.
Sharon's government has continued the policy of extra-judicial execution initiated by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

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