The Israeli military announced today that it will stop the controversial practice of night raids on Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, the goal of which is to gather information about tenants and their houses.
Earlier, the army, justifying such a practice, stated that it was a necessary measure to oppose extremist organizations.
However, human rights organizations have warned that this only scares civilians.
Soldiers woke the occupants in the middle of the night to record their names and the dimensions of the houses in the occupied territory.
Human rights organizations have said that they are breaking into the homes of Palestinians who are not suspected of illegal activities, and that such practices have no strategic purpose and cause deep psychological trauma.
Half a year ago, three Israeli organizations published a report describing the so-called “arbitrary invasions” of private Palestinian homes, estimating that they “effectively serve as a means of oppressing and intimidating the Palestinian population in order to increase control over them.”
Israel conquered the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War.
The Palestinian Authority, recognized by the international community, controls the autonomous zones in the territory but Israel is in charge of overall control and often conducts raids even in areas under Palestinian control.
According to official Palestinian data, almost three million Palestinians live in the West Bank, in addition to almost half a million Jewish settlers.
The Palestinians intend to establish their independent state on the entire West Bank, which will include the Gaza Strip, and for the capital to be East Jerusalem.
Much of the international community considers the West Bank occupied territory and Jewish settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel says that the West Bank is a disputed territory and that its fate should be resolved at the negotiating table.
The military has now announced that incursions into Palestinian homes will cease “except in exceptional circumstances”.
Less than a month ago, riots spread throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and even in Israeli cities where a mixed Arab Jewish population lived during the 11-day war between the Israeli army and Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip.
The war broke out after Hamas fired rockets at Israeli cities after weeks of rising tensions and clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem.