JERUSALEM - An Israeli rights group on Wednesday accused Israeli security forces of using "excessive and unwarranted" force in the killing of some Palestinians who attacked or were suspected of attacking Israelis during the current wave of violence.
Israeli officials rejected the allegations by the B'Tselem group. The watchdog's statement said Israeli officers had used excessive lethal force against Palestinians in at least 12 cases in Jerusalem and the West Bank over the last two months.
According to the group, Israeli troops and police officers fired at some Palestinian assailants even after they were wounded and posed no further threat.
In some cases, it claimed officers carried out what the group called "summary executions," killing Palestinians instead of arresting and trying them in court.
Since mid-September, Palestinians have carried out stabbings, shootings and attacks in which cars or other vehicles were used to ram into Israelis, killing 19 Israelis and an American Jewish seminary student. During the current wave of violence, at least 115 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. Israel has said that 78 of them were assailants, and the rest were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
"This wave of violent assaults is appalling, and clearly Israel's security forces must protect the public and use the force necessary to that end, as determined by the circumstances," B'Tselem said in a statement, adding that shooting to kill is permissible if a person poses mortal danger.
"However, in at least some of the cases, firing at the assailants did not cease even after they no longer posed any danger," the group added.
Most of the Palestinian attackers, as well as others who Israel said tried to carry out attacks, have been shot on the spot by Israeli security forces.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld dismissed B'Tselem's accusations. "The Israeli police have responded in proportion based on the threats that we have to deal with, in the same way that any other police force in the world, any other police force facing those types of threats in Europe or America, would do," Rosenfeld said.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the rights group "deliberately ignores the unique challenges facing Israel's security forces and the wave of incitement and violence which Israel and its citizens are facing.
"It is high time that B'Tselem . . . care more about the Israeli victims than the Palestinian terrorists," Nahshon added.