In the year 2023, a grim and distressing reality continues to unfold in lands occupied by Israel in 1948 as the death toll among Palestinians steadily rises. Since the beginning of the year, 181 Palestinians have lost their lives to various acts of violence, drawing attention to a disturbing trend of escalating brutality.
The death toll has been on a relentless ascent, with the year starting with six Palestinian fatalities in January and tragically peaking at 28 deaths in September. The crimes responsible for these lives lost are chilling in their diversity, ranging from shootings and explosive devices to severe beatings, stabbings, family disputes, vehicular homicides, and bombings. The breadth of these atrocities speaks to a reality that engulfs Palestinian communities within the 48-lands.
Shootings have emerged as the most prevalent form of violence, with a staggering 168 such attacks reported throughout the year.
Perhaps the most heart-wrenching aspect of this violence is the toll it has taken on innocent children and minors. Nine young lives, aged between 2 and 17, were cut short by these horrific crimes, casting a long shadow of sorrow over Palestinian families.
The geography of this violence is alarming, with cities, villages, and towns across the 48-lands serving as backdrops for these heinous acts. In January alone, six Palestinians were killed in shooting attacks that occurred in locations such as Jaffa, Lod, Iblin, Nazareth, Ramla, and the Negev. The situation only worsened as the year progressed, with the death toll surging in subsequent months.
March saw the loss of 15 Palestinian lives, including a 6-month-old baby and a 2-year-old child. In April, 16 Palestinians fell victim to shooting crimes, and one person succumbed to severe beatings, primarily concentrated in the Negev region. In May, 23 Palestinians, including two children, became casualties of rampant violence.
As the summer months continued, the violence showed no signs of abating. In June, 25 Palestinians lost their lives, with 23 falling victim to shootings, one to a stabbing, and another to a tragic accident. July and August witnessed similarly alarming figures, with 24 and 26 Palestinians killed, respectively, mainly by shootings.
September proved to be particularly bloody, with 28 Palestinians losing their lives, including three women. The Negev region emerged as a hotspot for violence against the Palestinian community, with five Palestinians killed in a single attack in Basmat Taboun. The toll also included a tragic run-over incident in the village of Hura. Once again, shootings were the primary cause of death, with 27 victims.
The victims of this targeted violence are not limited to one age group or demographic. The statistics reveal a disturbingly broad spectrum of casualties, including women, Palestinians in their twenties and thirties, and even minors under the age of twenty.
Accountability for these attacks against Palestinians is paramount, and it falls squarely on the shoulders of the Israeli government to investigate, address, and bring those responsible for these crimes to justice. The international community must exert pressure and insist upon transparent investigations, ensuring that the perpetrators face the full weight of the law.