This year saw the fewest Israeli deaths from Palestinian violence since 2000.
A report issued by the B’Tselem human rights group recorded 11 Israelis — seven civilians and four soldiers — killed by Palestinian terrorists and guerrillas in 2007. The report did not include last Friday’s killing of two off-duty Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, which raises the 2007 death toll to 13.
In 2006, 23 Israelis were killed by Palestinians, and the toll reached triple figures in years prior to that.
Security experts credit Israeli security measures, as well as exhaustion and infighting among Palestinians, for the drop-off in bloodshed.
According to B’Tselem, Israeli armed forces killed 373 Palestinians in 2007, a 43 percent reduction over last year. The report also found an improvement in the combatant-to-civilian ratio among Palestinian casualties caused by Israel, with 35 percent of those killed in 2007 being bystanders, down from 54 percent last year.
The Israeli military reserved comment on the report, saying it had not been given access to the findings. But military officials reiterated that troops are under orders to make every effort to avoid harming non-combatants during security operations.
For the first time since fighting broke out in 2000, internecine Palestinian clashes claimed almost as many lives as Israeli forces this year. According to B’Tselem, 344 Palestinians died at the hands of their compatriots in 2007, mostly during the June civil war in the Gaza Strip.