May 23, 2006

Balance of death in Palestine 2005

Ha'aretz carries the main points of the Amnesty International report on Palestine for the year 2005.
The annual Amnesty International report, released Tuesday, says that there was a marked drop in violence between Israelis and Palestinians in 2005, although there was a continuation of attacks by both sides.

According to the report, some 190 Palestinians, including around 50 children, were killed by Israel Defense Forces, and 50 Israelis, including six children, were killed by Palestinian armed groups.

It states that many of the Palestinian casualties "were killed unlawfully, in deliberate and reckless shootings, shelling and air strikes in densely populated residential areas, or as a result of excessive use of force."

Regarding the Israeli fatalities, the report states that most of the killings were carried out by Islamic Jihad and the Fatah-linked Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The report also says that Israel continued with illegal settlement construction in the West Bank during 2006, despite the summer's withdrawal from the entire Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank.

According to the report, Israel also carried on with construction of the West Bank separation fence on appropriated Palestinian land.

The group mentions "military blockades and restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement of Palestinians within the Occupied Territories," which it says led to "high unemployment and poverty."

The report also states that IDF troops carried out "unlawful attacks and routinely used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators protesting against the destruction of Palestinian agricultural land and the Israeli army's construction of the fence/wall."

Attacks on Palestinian farmers by settlers also feature in the report, which says such incidents were frequent, led to the destruction of orchards and prevented farmers from cultivating their land.

The report cites the example of an incident in March and April, in which settlers "spread toxic chemicals in fields around Palestinian villages in the southern Hebron Hills and near Salfit." As a result, the report says, the farmers could not make use of milk, cheese and meat produced by their flocks.

The report also says that, "IDF soldiers and settlers responsible for unlawful killings and other abuses against Palestinians and their property generally had impunity."

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