B'Tselem: Israeli security forces killed 660 Palestinians during 2006
By Haaretz Service
According to an annual B'Tselem report, from the beginning of 2006 to December 27, Israeli security forces have killed 660 Palestinians, a figure more than three times the number of Palestinians killed in 2005, which was 197.
The data compiled by the human rights organization also indicated a significant decrease in Israeli casualties. Palestinians killed 23 Israelis in 2006 - 17 civilians, among them one minor, and six Israel Defense Forces soldiers. The figure constitutes less than half of the 50 Israelis killed in 2005.
B'Tselem also listed the overall figures for casualties since the beginning of the intifada, with Palestinian casualties at 4005 and Israeli casualties at 1017, 701 of which were civilians.
The report states that 2006 saw an improvement in the realization on Israeli civilians' right to life, while, on the other hand, also seeing "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."
According to the report, about half of the Palestinians killed, 322, did not take part in the hostilities at the time they were killed. 22 of those killed were targets of assassinations, and 141 were minors.
The report says the majority of Palestinian casualties were killed in the Gaza Strip in the second half of 2006, following the capture of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit. During this period, 405 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip alone, of them 88 were minors and 205 did not take part in the hostilities at the time they were killed.
According to the report, the IDF demolished 292 Palestinian houses, 95 percent of them in the Gaza Strip. These were home to 1,769 people.
B'Tselem's report says the owners of 80 of the homes received advance warning to the demolition. Israel demolished 42 additional homes in East Jerusalem that were built without a permit. These were home to about 80 people, according to the report.
The report indicates that movement restrictions in the West Bank became more severe in 2006. Israel currently maintains 54 permanent checkpoints in the West Bank that are usually staffed, and 12 other checkpoints within the city of Hebron.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there is an average of 160 flying checkpoints throughout the West Bank every week.
In addition to the checkpoints, the report says IDF has erected hundreds of physical obstacles such as concrete blocks, dirt piles and trenches to restrict access to and from Palestinian communities. Palestinians have restricted access to 41 roadways in the West Bank, to which Israelis have unlimited access.
According to the report, as of November, Israel held 9,075 Palestinians in custody, including 345 minors. Of these, 738, including 22 minors, were held in administrative detention without trial and with no knowledge of the charges against them.