'Excessive use of force'
Amnesty slams Israeli policy in Territories
In Report on state of world's human rights, organization claims Israel behind repeated human rights violations in Palestinian territories. State accused of unlawful killings of Palestinians, injustice at courts, and of imposing restrictions that yield poverty
In its annual 2006 report, Amnesty International harshly criticizes Israel's policy towards the Palestinians in the territories, branding some of the army's operations 'unlawful' and stating soldiers have often used "excessive force" in dealings with civilians.
Some 190 Palestinians, including around 50 children, were killed by Israeli forces, and 50 Israelis, including six children, were killed by Palestinian armed groups, the report stated.
"Israeli forces 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," the report claimed.
According to Amnesty "Israeli soldiers and settlers responsible for unlawful killings and other abuses against Palestinians… generally had impunity."
The human rights organization further claimed that despite Israel's withdrawal from Gush Katif last summer, the country continued to build and expand illegal settlements, and the security fence itself.
"Military blockades and restrictions impose by Israel," the report stated, "continued to cause high unemployment and poverty among the Palestinian population."
Military courts slammed
The report also issued a scathing attack against the Israeli justice system in the Territories, claiming that trials before military courts "often did not meet international standards of fairness, with allegations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees inadequately investigated."
Meanwhile, Amnesty asserted, soldiers and settlers who committed offences against Palestinians were rarely prosecuted or convicted.
According to the group, while settlers "repeatedly attacked Palestinians and their property," the army in most cases "failed to intervene and often responded to settles' attacks by imposing further restrictions on the local Palestinian population."