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Home   »  Resources  »  Miscellaneous Resources  »  Understanding the Conflict: A ...  »  PART ONE: The Crisis

Why is the current level of violence so intense?


Israel has increasingly escalated the weapons it deployed against the Palestinians. Numerous respected human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights, have documented Israeli soldiers employing excessive force in their suppression of Palestinian demonstrators. Their reports cite the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians, attacks on medical personnel and installations, the use of snipers with high-powered rifles, and attacks on children.

As the intifada ground on, Israel escalated to the use of tank-mounted weapons, helicopter gunships firing wire-guided missiles on buildings and streets to carry out targeted assassinations, and finally F-16 fighter bombers which drop 2,000 pound bombs in refugee camps and on crowded apartment buildings.

Palestinians, unlike during the first intifada(1987-1993), had and used small arms, mainly rifles, against Israeli soldiers, tanks, and sometimes settlers. As the situation became more desperate, some young people turned themselves into suicide bombers, attacking either military checkpoints in the occupied territories, or civilian gathering spots inside Israel itself.


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