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Number of Israeli-Palestinian fatalities dropped in 2007, says report

But the situation in Gaza worsened and intra-Palestinian killings reached a record high, the human rights report adds.

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According to a new Israeli human rights report, 2007 saw the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces decrease to nearly half of those killed in 2006, but those killed in intra-Palestinian fighting reached a record high.

The report, published by the human rights group B'Tselem, says that 373 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces through Dec. 29, 2007, a 43 percent drop from 2006, when Israeli forces killed 657 people. The report also says that of those Palestinians killed in 2007, 35 percent were civilians not involved in hostilities – also a drop from 2006, when 54 percent of Palestinians killed were civilian bystanders.

In addition, the report says that only seven Israeli civilians were killed in 2007, the lowest Israeli civilian fatality rate since the beginning of the intifada. In 2006, 17 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians.

But the B'Tselem report adds that there were a number of setbacks as well in 2007. The number of Palestinians killed in internal violence, at least 343, was the highest ever during the intifada, due to the fighting between Hamas and Fatah. Also, 2007 saw an increase of 13 percent in the number of Palestinians held by Israel in administrative detention without trial, and the number of permanent checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank remained largely unchanged.


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