February 8The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, hold a summit meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt. At the end of the meeting, the two leaders declare a cease-fire.
February 17A committee appointed by the chief of staff, headed by Major General Udi Shani, determines that demolition of the houses of terrorists causes more harm than good and should be stopped. The committee finds that the deterrence gained by demolition of the houses, which is limited in any event, is less significant than the hatred and enmity resulting from the demolitions. The army adopts the recommendations and ceases, as a rule, the use of the demolition of houses as punishment. The demolition of houses on a “security” pretext in Rafah and in other places, and the demolition of houses built without a permit in East Jerusalem and in Area C, continues. The Israeli Committee against House Demolitions estimates that since the beginning of the occupation, Israeli authorities demolished about eighteen thousand houses in the Occupied Territories.
March 8Attorney Talia Sason submits her report, made at the request of Prime Minister Sharon, on the unauthorized settler outposts. Sason notes the deep involvement of government ministries and the Civil Administration in establishing, budgeting, maintaining, and protecting the outposts, classifying these actions an “institutional breach of the law.” The report states that at least half of the 105 unauthorized outposts were built on private Palestinian land, meaning that their establishment cannot be approved retroactively.
March 16Palestinians coming from Jordan via the Allenby Bridge (the only way to get to the West Bank from abroad) are forbidden to enter via the Jordan Valley, even if they are headed to areas in the northern West Bank. Residents of Jericho wanting to travel north are also forbidden to cross through the Jordan Valley. Later, all Palestinians from the West Bank, except for Palestinians whose registered address is in the Jordan Valley, will be forbidden to enter the area. The prohibition prevents two million Palestinians from entering the valley, and thousands of farmers are unable to get to their farmland. Like most restrictions on movement, this restriction is not incorporated in any military order or regulation.
JuneThe United States donates $50 million for the establishment of new crossings in the Separation Wall. The money is provided through the humanitarian assistance agency the U.S. Agency for International Development.
July 27The Knesset enacts Amendment No. 7 to the Civil Wrongs Law, which exempts the state from responsibility for damages that it causes in “confrontation areas,” thereby expanding the exemption provided in Amendment No. 4, of 2002. The amendment, which further diminishes the obligation of Israel to compensate Palestinians injured by its actions, is applied retroactively from the day of the outbreak of the second intifada and also applies to losses resulting from plunder, abuse, needless injury, and so forth. In December 2006, the High Court of Justice nullifies the provision of the amendment that institutes a sweeping prevention on Palestinians from suing Israel for compensation. In response to the High Court’s judgment, a bill is introduced in the Knesset (Amendment No. 8) that would institute a similar arrangement using different legal wording.
August 1The Knesset enacts a temporary statutory provision that severely limits family unification between Israelis and Palestinians and prevents spouses from living together in Israel or East Jerusalem. Only Palestinian women aged twenty-five and above and Palestinian men thirty-five and above are allowed a permit to stay in Israel after marrying. The permit does not grant the holder any legal status or social rights. The High Court, sitting in an expanded panel of eleven justices, sustains the statute by a one-vote majority in May 2006, and the temporary statutory provision is enacted into law soon after.
August 15–September 12As part of the framework of the disengagement plan, the IDF evacuates all the settlements in the Gaza Strip and three settlements in northern Samaria and withdraws its forces from the Gaza Strip. All the settlements are completely destroyed, except for the synagogues. Israel continues to control the crossing points between Israel and the strip, the airspace and sea, and the population registry.
August 30The United States foregoes marking “building lines” (the boundaries of the built-up area) in the settlements.
September 15The High Court gives its decision in Maraabe, nullifying a section of the Wall that imprisons five Palestinian villages in an enclave between the Wall and the Green Line to enable the Alfe Menashe settlement to remain west of the Wall. In making this decision, the court states that Israel has the right to build the Wall on the other side of the Green Line, as well, to protect the settlements, and thus rejects the decision of the International Court of Justice.
October 28The IDF severs the northern West Bank from the rest of the West Bank. Eight hundred thousand Palestinians are not permitted to travel south of Nablus.
November 15The Crossings Agreement (officially, the Agreement on Movement and Access), intended to arrange movement to and from the Gaza Strip after Israel’s withdrawal as part of the disengagement, is signed. Responsibility over the Rafah crossing is handed over to Egypt and the Palestinian Authority under the supervision of a force from the European Union. Also, Israel undertakes to allow the movement of goods and persons between Gaza and the West Bank and the construction of a commercial seaport and airport in Gaza. Very little of the agreement is carried out. The Rafah crossing is declared an international border, but it is closed for extended periods of time following disputes over the quality of supervision of the persons crossing. No crossing is operated between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
DecemberThe United nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) finds that 48 percent of the population of the West Bank and 65 percent of the population of the Gaza Strip live under the poverty line, which is set at an income of $2.10 a day.
December 29Following the firing of Qassam rockets on Sderot and nearby communities, the IDF declares a “buffer zone” in the northern Gaza Strip, into which it shoots to kill by means of artillery fire and munitions delivered from the air.