In a special report published on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories Monday, Amnesty International accused Israel of widespread human rights abuses. Urging Israel to dismantle its illegal Wall and lift its regime of roadblocks in the West Bank, it said these measures had failed to bring security to Israeli.
The 45-page report, titled ‘Enduring Occupation: Palestinians under siege in the West Bank’, also highlighted Israel’s policy of land-grabbing and demanded an end to its expansion of Jewish settlements. The London-based human rights group called for the urgent deployment of an effective international mechanism to monitor human rights in the occupied territories.
He said the illegal Wall Israel is building in the West Bank and some 500 checkpoints and roadblocks across the territory severely constrained the movement of Palestinians and had caused the virtual collapse of the Palestinian economy. The report said Amnesty acknowledges Israel’s legitimate security concerns, but said its construction of much of the West Bank wall on Palestinian land was a blatant violation of international law and done in defiance of a July 2004 International Court of Justice ruling.
Reacting to the report, Israeli Deputy-Prime Minister Shimon Peres, said the Wall had succeeded in almost completely stopping Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel launched from the West Bank.
The Wall had saved ‘dozens, if not hundreds of lives,’ he said. ‘The heaviest damage caused during the Intifada, to Israel from a human standpoint, and to the Palestinians from an economic standpoint, were the result of buses blown up by suicide bombers who came into Israel from the West Bank.’
Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt during the Six-Day War, which erupted on June 5, 1967 between Israel on the one hand, and Egypt, Jordan and Syrian on the other, aided by other Arab states. Israel withdrew its settlers unilaterally from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005, and deployed around the strip, changing the strip into a large prison by not allowing Palestinian in or out of the Gaza strip.