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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 13:01 GMT
Palestinian girl dies of injuries
Palestinian protests against the West Bank barrier
Barrier contraction often draws protests by Palestinians and supporters
A 10-year-old Palestinian girl has died in hospital in Jerusalem, three days after being injured during an incident involving Israeli border police.

The child, Abir Aramin, was the daughter of a prominent Palestinian peace activist Bassam Aramin.

She came from the West Bank village of Anata where Israel is building a section of its West Bank barrier.

Palestinians say she was with two other girls in the village when an Israeli border police vehicle drove past.

Stones were thrown in the direction of the police, who responded with tear-gas and stun-grenades. The girl was hit in the head.

The border police have launched an investigation.

Regret

An Israeli border police spokeswoman said that they had used "crowd control means against stone throwers" protesting against the construction of Israel's controversial barrier.

DEATHS IN 2006
660 Palestinians killed by Israeli security services: 141 were children, and 322 had taken no part in hostile acts
23 Israelis were killed by Palestinians
Source: B'Tselem

"The border police expresses its regret over the death of the girl and hopes the circumstances of the incident are quickly revealed."

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has said that last year 660 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces. In the same period 23 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians.

Israel says the defensive system of concrete walls and wire fence is needed to stop suicide bombers. Palestinians say it is part of an Israeli land grab of West Bank territory.

Settlement freeze

Also on Friday, Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz ordered a freeze on the building of a new Jewish settlement of Meskiot in the West Bank, less than a month after saying it would go ahead.

A defence ministry official said Mr Peretz wanted to give the matter further consideration.

Last month's announcement that Israel would build its first new settlement in more than a decade prompted criticism from the Palestinians, the European Union and the United States.

The settlement was planned to house Israeli families who had moved from the Gaza Strip when settlers and troops left in 2005.

All settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, although Israel rejects this.

The 2003 Middle East roadmap calls for a complete halt to all settlement activity.




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