IDF Israel Palestine Palestinian Tear Gas Hebron West Bank Conflict Jew Arab
Israeli soldiers walk with their weapons behind a group of Palestinians during clashes in the West Bank city of HebronReuters

A report released by Amnesty International has accused "trigger-happy" Israel Defense Force (IDF) soldiers of using disproportionate violence in the occupied West Bank, killing dozens in the last three years.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the report "smacks of bias, discrimination and racism", ignores an increase in Palestinian attacks against Israel. Furthermore, no Israeli response or comment was sought about the report until the eve of its publication, said Israeli officials.

In the report, which is entitled Trigger Happy, Amnesty called upon nations to "suspend transfers to Israel of munitions ... and crowd control weapons".

It accuses Israel of killing 45 Palestinians in the last three years and wounding thousands "who did not appear to be posing a direct and immediate threat to life". The report stated that IDF soldiers showed a "callous disregard for human life".

"In some [cases], there is evidence that they were victims of wilful killings, which would amount to war crimes," the report said.

It "shows a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings and unwarranted injuries of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces in the West Bank," said Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the NGO.

"Without pressure from the international community, the situation is unlikely to change any time soon," he continued.

The Israeli military defended the accusations by claiming that Palestinian violence had increased in 2013 with a "sharp increase in rock hurling incidents, gravely jeopardising the lives of civilians and military personnel."

"During that year alone, 132 Israelis were injured, almost double the previous year. Over 5,000 incidents of rock hurling took place," it said.

"In 2013 there were 66 further terror attacks which included shootings, the planting of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) ... and the abduction and murder of a soldier."

The group urged Israel to "open independent, impartial, transparent and prompt investigations into all reports of Palestinian civilians killed or seriously injured by the actions of Israeli forces".

The report concluded that the current system in Israel "has proved woefully inadequate" and that a strong message "must be sent to Israeli soldiers and police officers that abuses will not go unpunished".