FACT SHEET: THE STATE OF PALESTINE’S CHILDREN UNDER OCCUPATION

FACT SHEET: THE STATE OF PALESTINE’S CHILDREN UNDER OCCUPATION

“I urge Israel to take concrete and immediate steps, including by reviewing existing policies and practices, to protect children, to prevent the killing and maiming of children, and to respect the special protections afforded to schools and hospitals. An essential measure in that regard is ensuring accountability for perpetrators of alleged violations.”

-Report of the Secretary-General, 5 June 2015

Current Reality

  • One Palestinian child was killed by the IOF every 3 days between 2000 and 2013.[i]
  • 1 October – 13 October: 8 children killed by the IOF across the OPT. This includes Amjad Al-Jundi (17), Abdel-Rahman Obeidallah (11), IshaqBadran (16), Ahmad Sharaka (13), Hasan Khaled Manasra (15), Mohammad Al-Raqab (15), Hesham Barbakh (13), Khalil Othman (15), and Rahaf Hassan (2).[ii]
  • Since 1967, 95,000 Palestinian children have been detained by the IOF, 62% of whom have likely been subjected to some form of physical violence.[iii]
  • Each year, approximately 700 Palestinian children are arrested, interrogated, and detained by the IOF. Children consistently experience strip-searches, physical and psychological abuse, and other forms of harassment and intimidation during forced interrogations and while imprisoned. [iv]
  • 15 – 28 September: 40 children arrested by the IOF in the Jerusalem governorate.[v]
  • 29 September – 5 October: At least 14 children arrested by the IOF in Jerusalem.[vi]
  • Children are severely affected by the current deteriorating situation in the OPT. Since 15 September, the IOF has injured 119 children, detained 75, and temporarily detained 30 at checkpoints and in residential areas.[vii]
  • 15 – 28 September: 43 children injured during clashes with the IOF in the Gaza Strip.[viii]
  • 15 – 28 September: 37 children injured during IOF search and arrest operations in 6 West Bank cities and villages.[ix]

[Read more…]

Statement by Ms. Reem Julia Mansour, Esq., Legal Adviser, before the Third Committee, agenda item 68: Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children, 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 15 October 2015:

Mr. Chair,

Every child deserves to live in a harmonious atmosphere of happiness, love, and understanding. This is recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child for all children and it is the desire of the State of Palestine for our children. Regrettably, for over 48 years, Israel’s military occupation has denied Palestinian children this harmonious atmosphere, denied their most basic human rights. The vulnerability of our children is deepening as they continue to bear the brunt of increasingly oppressive, violent and illegal Israeli policies and practices and settler terrorism being systematically waged against them. Tragically, we know all too well that their suffering will not end if Israel continues with its illegal occupation of Palestinian land and continues to remain immune from consequences for its human rights violations and crimes.

The daily reality faced by Palestinian children is of life threatening danger from Israeli occupying forces. The Palestinian children do not live normal childhoods; they exist in a world where human suffering is the norm, their fundamental human rights are grossly violated and they are suffocated by oppressive policies and measures by an occupying Power whose aim is to control every aspect of Palestinian life through collective punishment, intimidation and dehumanizing tactics. Recently, the Israeli Government even legislated this lack of respect for Palestinian life in new laws relaxing the rules of engagement for occupying forces encouraging the shooting and killing of Palestinians, including children, with de facto impunity. [Read more…]

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour at Security Council Debate on “Children and Armed Conflict”, 18 June 2015:

I thank H.E. Dato Sri Anifah Aman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and President of the Security Council, for convening this timely debate on children and armed conflict.  This matter is of highest priority and urgency for the State of Palestine, whose children’s lives are gravely endangered by the Israeli occupation.

I also thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Yoka Brandt, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, and Ms. Eunice Apio, Director of Facilitation for Peace and Development, for their important briefings.

Mr. President,

We come before the Security Council anguished by the Secretary-General’s decision to exclude Israel from the list of parties committing grave violations against children in his annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict (S/2015/409).

Israel, the occupying Power, is without doubt a flagrant violator of child rights. Israel systematically commits crimes against Palestinian children, its actions contravening its obligations under human rights law, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and international humanitarian law, which obligates the occupying Power to ensure the well-being and safety of the civilian population under its occupation. [Read more…]

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour, Security Council Debate on “Children and Armed Conflict”, 25 March 2015:

I thank you for convening today’s debate on children and armed conflict. I also thank Special Representative Leila Zerrougui for her briefing, as well as the UN agencies supporting Palestinian children, including UNICEF and UNRWA.

Mr. President,

 

As the Security Council considers the situation of children in armed conflict around the world, we appeal to the Council not to forget Palestinian children, who are suffering extreme hardship, shocking acts of aggression, oppression, and gross human rights violations due to the Israeli occupation and persistence of this conflict for nearly seventy years.  Israel, the occupying Power, is in continuous, grave breach of international law, including, inter alia, the 4th Geneva Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Charter, and Security Council resolutions. It is without a doubt, that Israel systematically fulfils three of the six criteria used to assess grave violations against children. [Read more…]

29 January 2015 – Situation of Children in Palestine

Excellency,

I write to draw your attention and, through you, the attention of the international community to the extreme hardships and suffering being endured by the Palestinian people under occupation in the State of Palestine, as Israel, the occupying Power, persists with its gross human rights violations, collective punishment and breaches of international humanitarian law. At this time, we are compelled to highlight the critical condition of Palestinian children, who are being subjected to escalating repression and acts of aggression, in breach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Fourth Geneva Convention and other provisions of international law, resulting in a tragic situation of widespread suffering, trauma and loss of childhoods.

In particular, the situation of Palestinian children detained and imprisoned by Israel, the occupying Power, is a matter of urgency requiring immediate attention and redress. The occupying forces continue to harass and attack Palestinian children in violent raids on towns, villages and refugee camps, at checkpoints and in peaceful demonstrations and continue to carry out pre-dawn raids into the homes of families, seizing children in the dead of night, intensifying the trauma for both child and parents. It is also a routine practice of Israel to detain Palestinian children for extended periods of time without access to parents or lawyers and to subject children to forced interrogations, leading to confessions made under duress, and to beatings, solitary confinement and other forms of psychological and physical torture as well as to military court trials.  Regarding the systematic trial of Palestinian children in Israeli military courts, a UNICEF February 2013 report, “Children in Israeli Military Detention: Observations and Recommendations” underscores that: “It is understood that this is the first and only juvenile military court in operation in the world”.  [Read more…]

25 August 2014 – More Death and Destruction by Israel, the occupying Power

Excellency,

I am compelled to again draw your attention to the horrific situation in the Occupied State of Palestine, as we enter the 51st day of the Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. In the four days since my last letter to you, Israel, the occupying Power, has not relented with its airstrikes against densely-populated civilian areas in Gaza, intentionally killing and injuring more Palestinian civilians, destroying more homes and infrastructure and displacing hundreds of more families in addition to the over half-million civilians already displaced by this Israeli onslaught against our people, the majority of whom continue to shelter in UNRWA schools. Specifically, the level of premeditated death and destruction imposed on the Gaza Strip by the occupying Power has surpassed merely immoral, inhumane behavior and constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity, for which Israel must be fully held accountable.

The stories, photos and social media voices coming out of Gaza are horrifying and even those cannot convey the extent of the misery being deliberately inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian civilian population in grave breach of international humanitarian law.   The figures since the start of this barbaric aggression in early July now stand as follows: at least 2,130 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces in Gaza, including an estimated 577 children, 261 women and 101 elderly people.

Almost 10,870 other Palestinians, most civilians, have been injured including some 3,300 children, more than 2,000 women and roughly 400 elderly people. Of those killed during the past seven weeks of Israeli bombardment of Gaza, it is estimated that 90 families have been decimated, with the killing of 530 family members. These shocking figures do not include the dead that have yet to be recovered from the rubble of destroyed homes and buildings struck by Israeli missiles and bombs and do not include those who continue to tragically die from the wounds sustained in Israeli attacks. [Read more…]

21 August 2014 – Israeli Assassinations and Killing of Civilians

Excellency,

In blatant contempt for the call reiterated yesterday by the United Nations Security Council for an immediate ceasefire, Israel, the occupying Power, continues its military airstrike attacks against the Gaza Strip, terrorizing the Palestinian civilian population as it wreaks further death, injury and destruction.  The Palestinian nation continues to grieve as death toll continues to rise and the lives of more innocent children, women, men and elderly persons are destroyed by this resumed Israeli onslaught.

Today, at least 29 more Palestinians have been deliberately and wantonly killed by the Israeli occupying forces in missile airstrikes, drone attacks and bombings on densely populated civilian areas. Israel has also resumed its illegal policy of targeted assassinations against Palestinians, boasting of its extrajudicial killing of several people in recent days in attacks that also killed many civilians, including multiple members of families.  Here, it must be recalled that the willful killing and injury of persons is considered among the grave breaches defined in Article 147 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.  For all of these war crimes and crimes against humanity for which the occupying Power must be held accountable.

Among those killed today by the Israeli occupying forces were four people killed by an Israeli drone-fired missile as they dug graves to bury their relatives at the Sheikh Radwan cemetery in Gaza City.  The victims were Mohammed Talal Abu Nahl, Rami Abu Nahl, Haitham Tafesh, and Abed Talal Shioukh.  Another four people, all members of Al-Reefi family, were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a garden near Al-Sunna Mosque in Gaza City.  The victims of this barbaric attack were Nasr Ziyad Al-Reefi and three children, Omar Nasr Al-Reefi, Abdallah Tareq Al-Reefi and Mohammed Ziyad Al-Reefi.  Today, the 9th member of Allouh family, Iman Allouh, died of wounds sustained in the attack on her family home yesterday, meeting the same tragic fate of many of the injured who have not survived these barbaric Israeli attacks. [Read more…]

17 July 2014 — Israeli aggression, incitement and targeting of children

Excellency,

I write to you today to convey that tragically yesterday, Wednesday, 16 July 2014, marked the highest number of child fatalities in a 24-hour period since the beginning of Israel’s barbaric aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip began 10 days ago.  According to reports, the Israeli occupying forces killed 23 Palestinians yesterday, including 3 women and 9 children – 7 boys and 2 girls.

Among the dead were Ismail (age 9), Ahed (age 10), Mohammed (age 10) and Zakariya (age 10), brothers and cousins in the Baker family, who were murdered by the occupying forces, who fired at them as they were playing on the beach in Gaza City.  The number of children killed by such Israeli war crimes in Gaza stands in the recent period now stands at 47. The killing of these young boys was witnessed by many journalists on the scene.  One journalist, Peter Beaumont of The Guardian, who witnessed the attack, stated the following:

“The first projectile hit the sea wall of Gaza City’s little harbour a little after four o’clock. As the smoke from the explosion thinned, four figures could be seen running, ragged silhouettes, legs pumping furiously along the wall. Even from a distance of 200 metres, it was obvious that three of them were children.

Jumping off the harbour wall, they turned on to the beach, attempting to cross the short distance to the safety of the Al-Deira hotel, base for many of the journalists covering the Gaza conflict.

They waved and shouted at the watching journalists as they passed a little collection of brightly coloured beach tents, used by bathers in peacetime.

It was there that the second shell hit the beach, those firing apparently adjusting their fire to target the fleeing survivors. As it exploded, journalists standing by the terrace wall shouted: “They are only children.” In the space of 40 seconds, four boys who had been playing hide and seek among the fishermen’s shacks built on the wall were dead.”

In addition to the killing of the four boys, yesterday, another 4 Palestinians were killed when Israeli strikes targeted them near Al-Katibal mosque west of Khan Younis.  A small girl, Yasmin Al-Astal (age 4), a boy Osama Al-Astal (age 6) and Raqiyya Al-Astal (age 70) were among the dead and many others were injured.  In another war crime yesterday, a missile was fired from an Israeli drone at a civilian taxi in Bani Suheila west of Khan Younis, killing several members of yet another Palestinian family.  The family was on their way home from a hospital where they were visiting a family member injured in an Israeli air strike in the previous days.  Ibrahim Ramadan Abu Daqqa (age 10),  his brother Amro Ramadan Abu Daqqa (age 25), and their sister Madeline Abu Daqqa (age 27), a pregnant mother of three, died along with their elderly grandmother, Khadra Abu Daqqa, all killed instantly by the wanton and deliberate attacks being perpetrated by the occupying Power.

In addition to the cold-blooded killing of these Palestinian civilians, many more have been killed and more than 1700 have been injured by over 1800 Israeli airstrikes thus far against the besieged Gaza Strip.  Moreover, in the past ten days, 695 homes have been completely destroyed with another 640 homes partially destroyed, and 81 schools have been destroyed or damaged, along with 3 hospitals and 5 other health centers, exacerbating the health crisis in Gaza, where there is a dire and growing need for medicines and medical equipment, already in short supply due to the blockade.  Religious sites also continue to be hit by Israeli airstrikes, including 3 mosques which have been completely destroyed and another 64 mosques that have been seriously damaged.  Moreover, more than 22,600 people have been displaced and more than 900,000 people are affected by the destruction of electricity, water and sanitation infrastructures.

In addition to the rampage of killing and destruction, the culture of Israeli incitement and hatred continues to intensify, deliberately aimed at terrorizing and causing harm to our people.  Among the many examples of this are the condemnable actions by Israeli citizens in the town of Sderot who have set up lounge chairs and couches on a hilltop to watch the bombs reign down on the Gaza Strip, cheering the death of Palestinian women and children, while they eat popcorn.  Members of the Israeli government also continue to incite and call for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.  In just one abhorrent example, Ayelet Shaked, a member of the “Jewish Home” party, issued a call on Facebook to ethnically cleanse the land, declaring “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy”.  She advocated their complete destruction, “including its elderly and its women,” adding that they must be slaughtered, otherwise they might give birth to more “little snakes.”

Moreover, many Israelis continue to post hate-filled comments against Palestinians on social media outlets, inciting to further violence and terror against our people.  After yesterday’s killing of four boys by the occupying Power, Israelis posted racist, vulgar rants all over social media, including, for example: “it’s a shame it wasn’t 400,000 dead kids”, “Have more of them killed like cockroaches, go away,” and “I hope all of you die, stinking people, garbage Arabs.”  We condemn in the strongest terms such incitement and provocations and calls for violence against the Palestinian people. We call on the international community to strongly condemn all such forms of Israeli incitement, as well as the hate crimes that continue to be perpetrated against Palestinian civilians, and to compel Israel to take action against perpetrators and bring them to justice.

While the Palestinian leadership welcomed the humanitarian cease-fire called for yesterday by the UN, more must be done to stop this aggression and alleviate the humanitarian hardships of the Palestinian people in Gaza.  We express hope that ongoing efforts by all concerned parties, with which President Mahmoud Abbas is actively engaging, will bring about a permanent cease-fire in order to avert the loss of more innocent human life.  At the same time, we reiterate our urgent call to the Security Council to uphold its Charter duties and undertake action to bring an end to this Israeli aggression and protect the Palestinian civilian population from Israel’s crimes.  Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable for all of its violations of international law and international humanitarian law.  Moreover, the 8-year-old illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza must be lifted in order to end the socio-economic and humanitarian deprivation of our people.  The international community, in particular the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention, is also duty bound to ensure compliance by the occupying Power.  The history of the Palestinian people has already been marked by indescribable trauma, terror and loss a result of Israel’s 47-year-old occupation and it is high time for the international community to rectify this injustice by acting with urgency and conscience to bring an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people at the hands of the occupying Power and allow them to achieve their rights and live as a free people in their own independent State.

This letter is in follow-up to our 507 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the territory of the State of Palestine.  These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 14 July 2014 (A/ES-10/xxx-S/2014/xxx) constitute a basic record of the crimes being committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people since September 2000.  For all of these war crimes, acts of State terrorism and systematic human rights violations being committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.

 

30 June 2014 – Israeli aggression and collective punishment of the Palestinian People

Excellency,

I regret to inform you that Israel is escalating its military assaults and human rights violations against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied State of Palestine.  In the past several days, air strikes and excessive force by the occupying Power have caused death and injury to more Palestinian civilians, including children, especially in the besieged Gaza Strip.   It should be stated that the intensification of Israel’s aggression against the Occupied State of Palestine threatens to further destabilize the situation on the ground and to fully ignite yet another round of deadly violence. This demands the attention of the international community, particularly the Security Council, which is duty-bound to act to maintain international peace and security.  [Read more…]

23 June 2013 – Letter from H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine to H.E. Secretary-General of the United Nations on Israeli violations in the OPT

Excellency, 

 

I write concerning the large-scale offensive assault launched by Israel, the occupying Power, against Palestinian civilians across the occupied West Bank. Since three settlers, illegally transferred by the occupying Power to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, went missing on 13 June 2014, the occupying Power has taken the Palestinian population hostage. For over a week now, Israeli occupation forces have waged an unrelenting and wide-scale campaign against Palestinian cities, villages, and refugee camps, subjecting the civilian population to a litany of abuses and punitive measures, including a ban on travel for Palestinians residing in Hebron, the largest Palestinian Governorate, home to approximately 800,000 residents.    [Read more…]