Amnesty criticizes ‘trigger-happy’ Israel forces in W. Bank

Israel responded by saying that the rights group did not take into account the increasing number of attacks on its forces

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Israel has killed dozens of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank over the past three years showing a “callous disregard for human life,” a report by Amnesty International said Thursday.

Israel responded by saying the London-based rights group did not take into account the increasing number of attacks on its forces in the past year or seek comment until the eve of publication.

The report entitled “Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank” documents the killing of 45 Palestinians and wounding of thousands “who did not appear to be posing a direct and immediate threat to life.”

It “shows a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings and unwarranted injuries of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces in the West Bank.”

The report accuses Israel of “war crimes and other serious violations of international law” against Palestinians.

Since occupying the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza in 1967, “Israeli authorities have signally failed to carry out independent investigations that meet international standards into alleged crimes,” Amnesty said.

The group calls on Israel “to open independent, impartial, transparent and prompt investigations into all reports of Palestinian civilians killed or seriously injured by the actions of Israeli forces.”

It also urges the United States, European Union and the rest of the international community to “suspend all transfers of munitions, weapons and other equipment to Israel” to pressure it to change.

The Israeli military said Amnesty failed to take into account “the substantial increase in Palestinian violence initiated over the past year,” which “saw a sharp increase in rock hurling incidents, gravely jeopardizing the lives of civilians and military personnel.”

“During that year alone, 132 Israelis were injured, almost double the previous year,” it added. “Over 5,000 incidents of rock hurling took place.”

“In 2013 there were 66 further terror attacks which included shootings, the planting of IEDs (improvised explosive devices)... and the abduction and murder of a soldier.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Amnesty authored its report “without even bothering to ask for response and comment,” until the eve of publication.

“Their trick is to disable our capacity to respond,” he said in an email to AFP. “And that’s what this move is about: not to get responses, but to deprive Israel of its capacity to even take part in the conversation.”