Killing: During the reported period, IOF killed 3 Palestinians. Two were victims of extra-judicial assassinations and the third was a mentally-handicapped 9-year old girl. On 26 January 2006, IOF killed a 9-year old Palestinian girl in Khan Yunis. IOF fired at agricultural land east of Khan Yunis and killed the mentally-handicapped girl, who was lost. And on 31 January 2006, IOF committed an extra-judicial assassination in the village of Arraba in the West Bank. The victims were the commander of Al-Quds Battalions in the West Bank and his assistant. In addition, 13 Palestinians, including 1 child, were injured during the reporting period.
Incursions: IOF conducted 27 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, IOF raided houses and arrested 53 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children. IOF also transformed 6 houses into military sites.
Restrictions on Movement: IOF have continued to impose a comprehensive siege on the OPT, in violation of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of Palestinian civilians.
IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the Gaza Strip, transforming it into a big prison. Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border, the sole outlet for the Gaza Strip to the outside world, has been partially reopened. The crossing point is operated for 8 hours a day only. IOF reopened Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for a limited number of workers after closing it for a month. The crossing’s operation was handed to a private company, a step PCHR fears will lead to transforming it into an international border crossing. IOF have continued to close al-Mentar (Karni) commercial crossing, east of Gaza City, since 15 January 2006.
IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on Palestinian communities in the West Bank. They have imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. IOF continue to prevent residents of Jenin and Tulkarm from passing through Za’tara checkpoint since 15 August 2005. Over the past month, IOF have prevented north West Bank residents, apart from a few humanitarian cases, from passing through the checkpoint. And on 1 February 2006, IOF closed the road connecting the northern part of the West Bank with the center. The road was closed under the pretext of evacuating the settlement outpost of Amouna. Eight Palestinian civilians were detained at IOF checkpoints during the reporting period.
Annexation Wall: IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank. During the reported period, IOF continued to raze areas of land to the east of “Shavi Shomron” settlement, northwest of Nablus, to establish a wall around it. In addition, they bulldozed an area of approximately 150 dunums in Beit El-Rosh village. IOF demolished 2 houses in El-Nu’man village because they were located close to the Wall. IOF used excessive force to disperse a peaceful demonstration by Palestinian civilians, international solidarity activists, and Israeli peace activists in Bal’ein. 2 demonstrators were injured, and a Palestinian and 3 Israelis were detained and beaten. In addition, 6 Palestinians were detained around the Wall.
Illegal Settler Activities: Israeli settlers, in breach of international humanitarian law, continue to reside in the OPT and have launched a series of attacks against Palestinian civilians and property. During the reported period, Israeli settlers from Kiryat Arba attacked Palestinian civilians and property close to the settlement. In addition, Palestinian civilians and property in Kufr Laqif came under settler attacks. And on 31 January 2006, settlers carried out a series of attacks throughout the West Bank in the aftermath of evacuating the settlement outpost of Amouna, east of Ramallah. IOF bulldozed 2 houses in El-Walja village, northwest of Bethlehem, and bulldozed 2 dunums of agricultural land in Al-Khader village.
In this context, the Israeli civil administration in the West Bank announced that the number of settlers there increased by 5% in the year 2005. This increase comes despite the evacuation of 4 settlements in the northern West Bank. The number of settlers at the end of 2005 was 253,137, compared to 241,494 at the end of 2004. The number of settlers in the West Bank at the end of 2005 exceeded the number of settlers in the Gaza Strip and West Bank at the end of 2004, which stood at 250,494. It is noted that the number of West Bank settlers increased by 3.09% in the second half of 2005.
To download the full report (PDF) click here.