Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The death toll from nearly 20 years of violence between Palestinians and Israelis is 8900. 7398 are Palestinians (1,537 of whom minors) and 1483 Israelis (139 children) have lost their lives because of the conflict. The figure was calculated and reported by B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group.
The 20 years examined were marked by the first intifada (1987-1993), the second Intifada, which began in 2001 and Gaza Strip offensive (December 27, 2008 - January 18, 2009). For Palestinians this was the bloodiest year. By 15 November, the closing date of the survey, they had suffered 1387 deaths. For Israelis, the worst year was 2002, with 420 deaths.
In these 20 years, in addition, Israeli authorities have demolished 4300 Palestinian homes in the West Bank because built without a permit or as part of punitive measures against the families of bombers. Most of the houses were demolished in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, until its evacuation by the Israelis in 2005. The Gaza Strip, later saw the destruction of 6240 houses during the operation Cast Lead.
In 20 years the number of Israelis living in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has tripled. Currently they number is estimated at 500 thousand.
Israeli settlements are also being studied by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), which has called on Israel to freeze settlements and to end the permit system imposed on the West Bank. In its monthly report, the Office asserts that the possibility of movement for Palestinians within the occupied region “has not seen significant improvement" and that 60% of the area remains virtually cut off from development.
The possibility of a 10 months "freeze" on settlements in the West Bank, but not in East Jerusalem could be considered by the Israeli government. So says a high government official, according to whom Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering the bill, which would aim to unblock peace talks with the Palestinians. The PA has indeed linked the possibility of resuming dialogue with a block on settlements, which has also been requested by U.S. President Barack Obama.