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Israel-Palestine Conflict: Death Toll

Updated on March 12, 2012
How many people have died for control of this beautiful region?
How many people have died for control of this beautiful region? | Source

The Israel-Palestine conflict has emerged from history as a particularly brutal, ongoing conflict in the Middle East, driven by two main religious and ethnic forces: the Israeli Jews and the Palestinian Muslims. The history of this conflict is bitter and difficult to understand, but what is clear is the amount of devastation and death that has ravaged this region and the two groups of people that lay claim to it. How many people have been killed in the Israel-Palestine conflict? How many could die and how much longer could this conflict go on? Why can't either side come to a resolution? Some of the questions regarding this conflict are easily answered with numbers and facts, but others are complex and lack any real answers. This article seeks to outline the questions that can be answered, with the hope that others can be begin to understand the more difficult questions that surround the Israel-Palestine Conflict.


Map of Israel-Palestine Conflict

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A markerGaza Strip -
Gaza Strip
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About 1.2 million Palestinians live as refugees on the Gaza Strip after being displaced by Israelis.

B markerJerusalem -
Jerusalem, Israel
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Just outside of The West Bank, Jerusalem is a religious city for both Israelis and Palestinians- its control is a source of conflict.

C markerNabulus, Israel -
Nablus
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Well inside the West Bank. The West Bank forms around Nablus and loops behind Jerusalem. Predominantly Palestinian.

History of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

In the early 1930s, Palestine was predominantly Muslim and ruled by the British Empire. Palestinian Arabs and Jews lived relatively peacefully together. In the late 1800's, however, a source of tension had begun to grow as a Jewish Zionist movement began. This movement was intent on reclaiming Palestine, which the Jews called Israel. Jews had once been the religious majority in Israel, before the Roman empire forced them out and killed many of them about two thousand years ago. Those heading the Zionist movement believed that Jews should reclaim Israel, but their growing numbers were threatening Palestinian Muslims, who were worried they would become the minority.

The Zionist movement and growing number of Palestinian Jews became very influential in 1930 when the Palestinian Muslims rose up in the Great Arab Revolt against British rule. With the help of the Jews, the British empire quelled the rebellion, but remained on tense guard in Palestine for the next eighteen years. The Jews and the Arabs began to form armies and waited for the day when the British would leave. In 1947, the UN attempted to divide the land between the Arabs and Jews, but the plan was met with hostility. In 1948, the British finally withdrew, and the Arabs lost the ensuing war. An estimated 711,000 Palestinian's became refugees and fled, while the Jews took control of Palestine. They renamed the land Israel and heralded their return to their ancient homeland.

Today, millions of displaced Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the lands surrounding Israel. Conflict is bitter between the two groups of people, as they fight for control of Jerusalem, which has deep religious meaning in the Jewish and Islamic tradition. Also among the sources of conflict is control of land, water and natural resources. Arguably the root of the conflict is the desire for recognition of both groups and a homeland for each.

Number of Deaths in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Year
Palestinians
Israelis
2011
20 (4)
16 (4)
2010
81 (9)
8 (0)
2009
1034 (314)
9 (1)
2008
887 (128)
35 (4)
2007
385 (52)
13 (0)
2006
665 (140)
23 (1)
2005
190 (49)
51 (6)
2004
832 (181)
108 (8)
2003
588 (119)
185 (21)
2002
1032 (160)
419 (47)
2001
469 (80)
192 (36)
2000
282 (86)
41 (0)
Total since 1987
7978 (1620)
1503 (142)
The number of children (age 18 and below) killed is in parenthesis. These are all Civilian Deaths. Estimates of those killed between 1948 and 1987 are widely varied. Data taken from table at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_c

Israel-Palestine Violence

Much of the violence between Israel-Palestine is unbalanced. The Palestinians do not have a very clearly defined army like the Israelis, so much of their fighting is done by civilians, which may explain why Palestinian civilian casualties are so much higher than Israelis. Suicide attacks, mines, violent demonstrations, shelling and artillery are all major contributors to the amount of life lost in recent years. Many Palestinian children are used in attacks at Israeli check points and road blocks and therefore have a higher loss of life than Israeli children in the violence of the conflict. According to the Israel Defense Force, between 2000 and 2003 alone, there were 29 suicide attacks perpetrated by children under the age of 18.

The number of mortars, explosives and weapons used in the entirety of the conflict is not documented.

Demographics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict Death Toll

Group
% Civilian
% of Males
% of Females
% of Adults
% of Children
Palestinians
59%
94%
6%
80%
20%
Israelis
69%
69%
31%
88%
12%
 
 
 
 
 
 
Data taken from table at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_conflict

Israel Palestine Conflict Today

After the failure of attempted peace talks like the Oslo Accords (2000) and the Taba Summit (2001), it was difficult for many Israelis and Palestinians to see an end to the conflict. Most recently in September 2011, the Palestinian Authority made a movement in the UN asking for recognition of Palestine statehood. It was called a "Palestine Spring" in the wake of various uprising in Arab countries.

Today, much of the fighting goes on between the Israeli army and the Palestinian extremist groups Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement. In December of 2008, the Israeli army began Operation Cast Lead against the two groups in the Gaza Strip. Many civilians died, and the extremists retaliated with air strikes and fire mortars, killing several Israeli armed forces.

It is believed that most Palestinians and Israelis today favor a two-state solution with independent Jewish and Muslim states, but the groups face difficulties in negotiating lands and borders. The future of the conflict is uncertain.

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    • profile image

      aya2 3 weeks ago

      Hey everyone

      First, I am sorry about my english I am still learning.

      So' I am wanted to tell you something.

      I am Jewish and I live in israel

      So, before A few days I am watched on some video on youtube about what people in the world think about Israel and I wes shocked. they don’t know nothing.

      I am feeling of I need to do something.

      I am want to tell you my story.

      So Israel, you probably imagine desert with camels. Think again.

      Israel is a very small country, and really young, it is only 70 years old.

      It was established after the Holocaust When people understood of this situation can not continue.

      Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. 6 million.

      Israel is the only Jewish state in the world.

      So I wanted to tell you about my childhood.

      My first alarm was when I was 10 years old.

      If you do not know what it is, it's a loud noise that tells us to go into a protected space in a few seconds because they sent us missiles.

      After about a year, it started again, but this time a real war.

      For two consecutive months, alarms were heard all over the country, sometimes several times a day. During this time our amazing soldiers fought in Gaza and tried to stop the missiles they sent us.

      For me it was all a kind of adventure. I did not really understand that there were people who wanted us to die, that every missile they send us, to someone in the back and wanted him to hurt us.

      So if you ask me, I have not decided yet what my political opinion is. I would very much like peace. Everyone would want peace, but for that we will have to return some of our territories, which makes no sense. We're a really small country.

      Sometimes reality in the country sometimes makes no sense. Alarms and terrorist attacks have become routine.

      Do not get me wrong, I love my country and I will never go anywhere else. I love the atmosphere, the people, the warmth, the language, the food, the unity ... Maybe from what you read, the reality here looks scary, but we take everything with joy and laughter.

      I learn Arabic for two reasons that you might hear contradictory, but they are just the example of our situation.

      One, in order to communicate such a large community of people in our amazing land. And the second because I am going to enlist in the army at the age of 18 and defend my country.

      I hope this article will show you a bit about our life in Israel. I do not want to be afraid or think twice when I travel around the world and people ask where I am from.

      I want us not to judge people only by the place they came from.

      If you have any questions, please ask me.

    • profile image

      Stefan 2 years ago

      Its always the winner who write the history!

    • profile image

      Michael 4 years ago

      Compared to most other wars, what marks out the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the low number of casualties. According to the figures here, since 1987 (25 years) , about 10,000 have ben killed. This may sound a lot but it is a small war compared to most other wars. Even the Nepalese civil war killed more people in much less time . There are other conflicts in the middle east that are far more brutal, eg the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s, the current civil war in Syria

      To put the numbers into perspective, see

      http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/massacre.html

      What marks out the I/P conflict is the very large press coverage and the presence of the highest concentration of international press at all times. The interest shown in the conflict by people around the world is out of all proportion to its actual importance and may even hinder a resolution.

      Even the figures for refugees seem high. Palestinian refugees are counted differently to any other kinds of refugees and can pass on refugee status through the male line. Palestinians, born in Palestine, under the control of the Palestinian Authority are classed as refugees. In other conflicts they may be classed as Internally Displaced or not counted at all.

    • profile image

      siti 4 years ago

      I just do not understand one thing

      How can we call army in Israel as "Israeli army" but then we call Hamas extremist?Hamas role is same like army in Israeli.They're Palestinian army, not an extremist or terrorist.

      If we can accept the existence of Israeli army, we should also accept the existence of Palestinian army, which is Hamas group.

    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 5 years ago from Pune( India)

      I am an Indian, we experienced partition of our nation by British imperialist and later bloodbath. Wherever British left they used to divide the colonies and sow the seed of permanent enmity and divide. I can understand plight pales tins and sympathy to refugees both Arabs and Jews.

      Now we have direct diplomatic and trade relations with Israel ,for India this Palestine-Israel conflict is an tricky issue. There are opponents of Israel and supporters of Israel in India, at present India is importing some advanced weapons and missiles form Israel.

      This issue is in hands of super powers and they can only resolve and continuous bleeding is a stigma on mankind. It should be stopped.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great and concise history of this tragic conflict, Shanna11. It is unfortunate that both sides seem to talk over each other and then resort to violence. Now American politics are using it as a political device. We need to conduct serious bi-lateral talks with the U.S. as a fair mediator. Solving this long time conflict would go a long way to easing our Middle East terrorism problems.

    • profile image

      Bets 5 years ago

      I was looking for info on this subject and bumped in to this article.

      It is well done, thanks!

      But I'd like to share this link which lists the most brutal conflicts since 1950. Its seems that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, although a bad one, is not "particularly brutal" compare to the brutal ones and is ranked 49th. It probably feels that way because of all the news coverage it gets.

      http://www.danielpipes.org/4990/arab-israeli-fatal...

    • profile image

      west coast swing 5 years ago

      Why have death tolls gone down enormously in the last two years? Does Obama and Hillary Clinton deserve credit?

    • slcockerham profile image

      slcockerham 5 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Hey Shanna11, Good informative article! Even the current death tolls don't tell the whole story. It goes all the way back to Isaac and Ismael in the Bible. This Zionist movement was influenced as well by the destruction of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, and their being expelled from countries around the world.

    • Shanna11 profile image
      Author

      Shanna 5 years ago from Utah

      Thetravelername- Ah, thank you for letting me know!

    • profile image

      thetravelername 5 years ago

      interesting but, in the name of brevity, you have misstated a bit.

      In 1947, the Israelis accepted the partition -even though much of their land was the Negev desert.

      The war didn't occur, the surrounding Arab countries attacked Israel.

      About 700,000 Palestinians either fled or were expelled and were settled in camps; the Arab states expelled about as many of their resident Jews (who had lived their since Roman times in many cases) and Israel absorbed most of them. The Arab countries would not accept the Palestinians.

    • Shanna11 profile image
      Author

      Shanna 5 years ago from Utah

      Ruevera- Yes, it's hard to delve too deep into a topic without sacrificing my actual school work. I tried to just provide a broad overview of the topic. I can only fit so much into my already jam-packed schedule. I do not take offence at all and welcome the youtube links- I will definitely take some time soon to watch them and gain a little more knowledge and perspective.

      I was considering Hebrew or Farsi even along with Arabic, but I'm already double majoring, so fitting it in will unfortunately be next to impossible.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 5 years ago from USA

      Hi. With all respect to your work, it is just a very good high school report. Don't take it as an offence if you would like to grow and become a better historian. For a high school report, it is very well done. For a serious research, it is narrow. If you don't mind an advice, you can do a deeper research, maybe in future, if you really want to study the topic. There is so much more to this problem. You have some really truthful points and it's a pity that you did not elaborate on them, though.

      I am posting here a couple of youtube clips, giving some deeper light to the issue.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGYxLWUKwWo

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_3A6_qSBBQ

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAuBc_cbXo0

      I wish you all the best and success in your projects. Are you going to study Hebrew language as well as Arabic?

    • Keri Summers profile image

      Keri Summers 5 years ago from West of England

      You are wise beyond your years, Shanna - we don't get enough of the history behind the current facts in news stories etc, and this has improved my understanding of how the conflicts started. Also, I think it's great that you're studying Arabic (noticed this in your profile) which sounds like a really constructive thing to be doing. We native English speakers can be lazy about languages, and I think that making the effort is a great contribution towards a better understood and respected world.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Good current events lesson, written in easy to understand format for those (like me) who need to improve their knowledge of word events!

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      This was a fantastic read. I admit that as much as I am aware of the conflict taking place and knew the source of the conflict was land, I do (or did) not fully understand the events in history that involved the land. I really learned a lot from this hub. Very well done.

    • Shanna11 profile image
      Author

      Shanna 5 years ago from Utah

      K9- They are absolutely awful- and so many children have died as well. A lot of the conflict is still perpetuated with the idea of revenge on both sides. It's a frustrating situation.

      Teresa- Thank you very much. It was a hard Hub to write, but the subject deserves some light.

      Zak- Thank you very much. I'm pleased it was unbiased. There are so many biased sources out there, and I think being fair is crucial when you're delivering information.

    • Zakmoonbeam profile image

      Michael Murchie 5 years ago from Parts Unknown

      This must be one of the most informative and well researched Hubs it has been my pleasure to read. It's a difficult subject to approach, and here it has been fully done justice.

      I think all rational people wish the conflict to end, but it's sad that the issues are so complex that it is still going to be a long time coming.

      Thanks for a brilliantly unbiased read!

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What an informative hub. It is so tragic thatbthevfighting never seems to end in the Middle East and many of the victims are the young and defenseless. Nice job.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 5 years ago from Northern, California

      Wow Shanna, truly staggering death tolls. It is critical that we understand the actions that occur in this part of the world. So many tragic endings for the people. You offer such helpful information surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict. My hope is there will be peace for all concerned in time.

      Nice job!

    • Shanna11 profile image
      Author

      Shanna 5 years ago from Utah

      Cclitgirl- It is truly sad. I was just reading about a new wave of violence that had broken out over there between them. Most people see it so often they glaze right over it.

      Alissaroberts- Thank you very much! I hope they can as well...

      Missolive- Thank you for visiting and commenting. I wasn't fully aware of the conflict either until I did a report on it in high school. I just didn't care, but then I realized how important it is to understand things happening around the world, even if they are very tragic.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Shanna, very tough issues. You've helped describe this conflict for me. Your tables and data are a real eye-opener and shed light to the death toll in this historical crisis. This is a reality many on my side of the globe are not fully aware or knowledgeable of. Thank you for writing this informative and sobering hub on a conflict that has a very complex resolution...if any.

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Job well done on a very informative and interesting hub. I don't keep up with this conflict so the death tolls in your table come as quite a shock. Hope they can eventually resolve this conflict some day. Great hub - voted up!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Wow. This is a great current events/history lesson. I had no idea about these death tolls, only that the news reports on this conflict ad-infinitum such that people don't always pay attention to what is going on. It's sad to think that this conflict may not end anytime soon. Thanks for compiling this information.