Creating people's geographies
When will the Israeli Likudniks renounce violence and recognize the Palestinians’ right to exist?
2006 has seen the number of Palestinians — many of them children and non-combatants — killed by the apartheid state triple according to Israeli human rights organization B’T Selem. Of the 660 Palestinans killed in 2006 by Israel, 141 had been minors. Half were civilians. During the same period, the markedly lower Israeli casualties further dropped according to B’TSelem.
The announcement of a new illegal settlement has also drawn condemnation — boycotts, anyone? — with appended links below.
The following is excerpted from B’TSelem’s current press release:
This past year, we witnessed a deterioration in the human rights situation in the Occupied Territories , particularly in the increase in civilians killed and the destruction of houses and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, there was an improvement …[for] Israeli civilians.
[F]rom January to December 27, 2006, Israeli security forces killed 660 (4005 since start of the intifada; all figures in parentheses denote figures tallied thus) Palestinians in the West Bank and in Israel . This includes 141 (811) minors.
At least 322 (1920) of those killed did not take part in the hostilities at the time they were killed. Another 22 (210) were targets of assassinations. In the Gaza Strip alone, since the capture of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, Israeli forces killed 405 Palestinians, including 88 minors. Of these, 205 did not participate in the fighting when killed.
Palestinians killed 17 (701) Israeli civilians in 2006, both in the West Bank and inside Israel. This includes 1 (119) minor. In addition, Palestinians killed 6 (316) members of the Israeli security forces.
Israel demolished 292 houses military operations in the Occupied Territories, 279 of them in the Gaza Strip. These were home to 1,769 people. Some 80 of these demolitions were conducted after the home-owners received advance warning to the demolition. In addition, Israel demolished 42 homes in East Jerusalem that were built without a permit. These were home to about 80 people.
Checkpoints and restrictions on movement
Deep within the West Bank, Israel currently maintains 54 permanent checkpoints, staffed most of the time. 12 other checkpoints are within the city of Hebron. In addition, according to UN OCHA, there are on average some 160 flying checkpoints throughout the West Bank every week. In addition to the checkpoints, the Israeli military has erected hundreds of physical obstacles such as concrete blocks, dirt piles and trenches to restrict access to Palestinian communities. Palestinians have restricted access to some 41 roadways in the West Bank. Israelis have unlimited access to these roadways.
Prisoners and Detainees
As of November, Israel held 9,075 Palestinians in custody, including 345 minors. Of these, 738 (22 minors) were held in administrative detention, without trial and without knowing the charges against them.
* EU calls new Israel West Bank settlement “illegal”, ReliefWeb:
HELSINKI, Dec 27, 2006 (AFP) – The European Union Wednesday strongly criticised Israel’s approval of a new settlement in the occupied West Bank for the first time in more than 10 years, describing it as illegal under international law.
“The Presidency of the European Union expresses its deep concern at the news that the Israeli Government has authorised the construction of the Maskiot settlement in the West Bank,” said a statement by Finland, which currently holds the EU presidency.
“Such unilateral actions are also illegal under international law,” the statement said.
* Barry Schweid, State Department challenges Israel, AP Yahoo News, 27 Dec 2006:
Israel’s plan to construct a new settlement on the West Bank drew rare criticism Wednesday from the Bush administration. If Israel goes ahead, it would violate Israel’s obligations under the roadmap for peacemaking, a State Department spokesman said.
* See also Ravi Nessman, Israel Settlement Breaks Promise to U.S., Guardian, 27 Dec 2006.