Eighty-three Palestinians and seven Israeli Arabs have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since Operation Cast Lead in the winter of 2008-2009, according to the annual report of the B'Tselem human rights group, which was released Sunday.
Of the dead, 31 did not participate in hostilities, nine were killed by Palestinian security forces and two were executed for allegedly collaborating with Israel, the report said. Two-thirds of those killed lived in the Gaza Strip.
The report also said there has been a drop in the number of administrative detentions in the past year, from 229 in late March 2009 to 222 in April. However, B'Tselem said Israel continues to allow its security forces and civilians to harm Palestinians or damage their property without being penalized.
"The policy according to which security personnel suspected of harming Palestinians are not held accountable for their actions, except in unusual circumstances, remains unchanged," the report said. "Israeli citizens who harmed Palestinians or damaged their property have, in general, not borne the consequences for their actions. Even though Israel has declared a freeze on settlement construction, the settlement enterprise continues to undermine the human rights of Palestinians."
The report also states that since January 2009, four more kilometers of the separation fence have been built, bringing the total length to 412 kilometers. There are 39 roadblocks along the fence, 19 of which are used for security checks of those wishing to enter Israel.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, the number of manned checkpoints went down from 63 to 44, 18 of them in Hebron.
During the 16-month period the report covers, the Civil Administration Authority razed 44 illegal structures built by Palestinians, most in the Jordan Valley, the report found.
"These days we are marking 43 years to the seventh day of the Six-Day War, which was also the first day of Israel's occupation in the territories," said Jessica Montell, executive director of B'Tselem. "So long as Israel rules over millions of Palestinians, it is obligated to safeguard their rights. The ongoing occupation holds clear dangers to Israeli democracy and as such, we as Israelis have the duty to demand accountability for what is being done in our names in the territories and a change in the policy that harms human rights."
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