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Rights group says Israel-Palestinian conflict claimed almost 9,000 lives in twenty years

[JURIST] Marking its own 20th anniversary, Israeli human rights group B'Tselem [advocacy website] claimed Sunday that almost 9,000 people have been killed [materials; press release] in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians since 1989. A majority of the deaths - 7,398 - were Palestinians. Of that number, 1,537 were thought to be minors. The report also said that 2009 has resulted in the highest casualties for Palestinians - 1033 - most of which were incurred in fighting in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead [JURIST news archive]. During the same period, there were 1483 Israelis deaths, including 139 minors. The worst year for Israel was 2002, when 420 Israelis were killed during the second Palestinian intifada [BBC backgrounder]. The report also discussed the increase of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem [JURIST news archives] over the same time. In 1989 there were 69,800 Israelis living in the West Bank and 118,100 in East Jerusalem, compared to present numbers of about 300,000 and 190,000 respectively.

Earlier this month, the UN General Assembly [official website] adopted a resolution giving Israel and Palestine three months to conduct independent investigations into possible war crimes committed during last winter's Gaza conflict [JURIST news archive]. The General Assembly voted 114-18 with 44 abstentions [press release] expressing support for the Goldstone Report [text, PDF], the result of a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] fact-finding mission, which accused both Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) [official website] and Hamas [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] fighters of war crimes during the conflict. Israel has criticized the report as biased, questioned the objectivity of the fact-finding, and has urged the UN not to adopt the report's findings in a statement to the General Assembly [statement text].

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