Since 2007, a UNICEF-led working group has consolidated efforts to report on the impacts of armed conflict on children in Israel and the State of Palestine. The bulletin is published periodically highlighting trends and patterns in grave violations against children.
Members of the working group include: DCI-Palestine, B'Tselem, Medecins du Monde — Suisse, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Save the Children, War Child Holland, World Vision, OCHA, OHCHR, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNRWA, UNMAS and WHO.
• In total, between April and June 2014, seven Palestinian children and three Israeli children were killed in the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.
• Demonstrations on Nakba Day (15 May) and in support of Palestinian detainees on hunger-strike resulted in two Palestinian children being shot and killed with live ammunition by Israeli security forces near Ofer military detention facility, leading to increased clashes throughout the West Bank.
• On 12 June, three Israeli youth, including two children, were abducted near Gush Etzion settlement (north of Hebron) in the West Bank. This triggered the start of an Israeli military operation in the West Bank, with the stated purpose of finding the three missing Israeli teenagers and capturing their kidnappers. In the course of the Israeli military operation in the West Bank (referred to by Israel as "Operation Brother's Keeper"), a spike was observed in the presence of Israeli soldiers; military incursions in villages, towns and refugee camps; checkpoints and closures restricting movement; and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
• In June, in Hebron governorate, the most affected area, at least 600 houses were reportedly raided and about 60 houses sustained damages as a result of military operations, including the demolition of two houses of the families of the suspects of the teenagers' abduction. In addition, eight houses and a school were used for military purposes.
• At least 600 persons, mostly adults were arrested throughout the West Bank, which severely impacted children who witnessed night arrests of relatives. Furthermore, dozens of children, mainly in Hebron governorate, were reportedly arrested during night-time military operations, most of which were released shortly after interrogation.
• The sharp increase in military operations in the West Bank resulted in a signicant increase in grave violations against children.
KILLINGS AND INJURIES
1 — Palestinian children
In the West Bank, four Palestinian boys aged between 15 and 17-years-old were killed.
On 15 May, two Palestinian boys, aged 16 and 17-years-old, were killed by Israeli security Forces using live ammunition near Ofer military detention facility in Beitunia, during clashes between Nakba demonstrators and Israeli security forces.
During the Israeli military operation in the West Bank, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and killed on 20 June by Israeli security forces with live ammunition in the village of Dura, southern Hebron, during a night-time military operation; another 17-year-old boy was killed by ISF on 21 June with live ammunition in the area of Al Maleh (Jordan Valley).
During the period under review, 214 Palestinian children were injured in the West Bank, including 182 boys and 32 girls aged between four months and 17-years-old.
Data for the second quarter of 2014 shows a six-time increase in the number of children injured during Israeli military operations, compared to the 25 cases recorded in the first quarter. During the reporting period, clashes in the course of military operations resulted specifically from heavy military presence; checkpoint closures; Friday prayer restrictions at Al-Aqsa Mosque; and stone-throwing interventions at the Barrier. In the course of these military operations, 64 children were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets; 70 by severe tear gas inhalation; eight by physical assault; six by live ammunition; six by shrapnel; two by being hit by tear gas canisters; and one by being hit by a sound bomb.
• Demonstrations: Thirty-three (33) boys aged between 12 and 17 years old were injured during organized demonstrations leading into clashes between Israeli Security Forces and Palestinians. During the reporting period, demonstrations and ensuing clashes occurred in the context of the commemoration of the Nakba, solidarity with hunger-striking detainees (use of administrative detention, the re-arrest of released detainees and a draft Israeli bill preventing the possibility of early release), weekly protests against the Barrier and settlement expansion, and protests following the Friday prayer. Of the 33 children, 14 were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets; 11 by severe tear gas inhalation; four by live ammunition; and four as a result of physical assault.
• Settler violence: Twenty-four (24) children, including 19 boys and 5 girls aged between one and 17 years old, were injured in the context of settler-related violence. This marks a significant increase compared to the six incidents reported in the previous quarter. In 12 instances children were injured directly by Israeli settlers: nine children by physical assault and three children by stone-throwing. In the 12 other incidents children were injured by Israeli security forces intervening on behalf of Israeli settlers: nine children as a result of physical assault; two by live ammunition; and one by rubber-coated metal bullets. Friction points were locations near Israeli settlements and settlement roads in the West Bank, including the H2 area of Hebron City (10); East Jerusalem (5); and Hebron (3), Ramallah (2), Nablus (2), Bethlehem (1) and Salfit (1) governorates.
2 — Israeli children
In the West Bank on 30 June, the bodies of three Israeli youth, including two children aged 16 years old, were found near Halhul in northern Hebron. They had disappeared on 12 June outside Gush Etzion settlement, and it was later revealed that they were killed shortly after. The Government of Israel reported that two Hamas militants were identified as alleged perpetrators, a claim which the Hamas leadership has refuted.
In addition, during the reporting period, two Israeli children were injured in the West Bank as a result of a stone-throwing incident in East-Jerusalem and a shooting incident in Hebron by Palestinians targeting the vehicles of Israeli settlers.
During the reporting period, three Palestinian children were killed as a result of the ongoing closure of Gaza by Israeli security forces, and by the low-intensity hostilities between Hamas and the Government of Israel.
On 28 April, a six-month-old girl died after four attempts to obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to receive urgent medical treatment in Israel (for further details see below, access to health).
On 11 June, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy was killed by an ISF airstrike in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, when riding on the back of his uncle's motorcycle, who Israeli authorities say was a Palestinian armed militant. In another incident on 24 June, a two-year old girl was killed when a rocket shot towards Israel by Palestinian armed militants fell short and landed near her family's home in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza.
Twenty-eight (28) Palestinian children, including 26 boys and two girls aged between four months and 17 years old, were injured in Gaza. Seventeen (17) children were injured in the course of Israeli air strikes targeting suspected rocket launching stations or training sites used by Palestinian armed militants in Gaza. Of these, 15 children were injured by shrapnel of missiles and two children were hit by shelling.
Five other incidents took place in the Access Restricted Area (ARA) as a result of ISF shooting with live ammunition to Palestinian children approaching the Barrier; in one of the cases, a child was injured during the weekly demonstration against the ARA in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.
Another five children were injured by rockets fired by Palestinian armed militants towards Israel falling short in Gaza.
In one other incident, an 11-year-old boy was injured when playing with exploded ordnance near his home in Khan Younis.
On 22 June, a cross-border anti-tank missile from Syria into the Israeli occupied Golan Heights killed a 13-year-old Israeli Arab boy, while he was in a vehicle belonging to a contractor that was carrying out maintenance work for the IDF.
ARREST AND DETENTION
According to the data provided by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), which represents a head count of children in IPS detention at the end of each month, by the end of May 2014, 215 boys aged 14 to 17 years were in Israeli military detention, including 33 boys aged 14 to 15. They were held in Ofer, Hasharon and Megiddo military detention facilities. Out of the 215 Palestinian children, 140 were held in pre-trial or trial detention and 75 were serving a sentence.
The data shows that, during the second quarter of 2014, on average 205 children were held in Israeli military detention per month, which marks a slight increase compared to the monthly average in the first quarter of 2014 (198 children). In addition, according to the data provided by the Palestinian District Coordination Office (DCO) for April 2014, 22 children aged between 7 and 17 years were taken into military custody by the IDF (of these, seven were under the age of criminal responsibility) and released within a few hours or a day to their families through the Palestinian DCO and Palestinian police Family and Juvenile Protection Units. (Data for May and June was not available at the time of writing).
In relation to the cases of military detention, the UNICEF-led Working Group on Grave Violations against Children gathered 24 affidavits (sworn testimonies) of children aged between 14 and 17 years reporting ill-treatment by the IDF, the Israeli police, the Israeli Border Police, the ISA and/or the IPS, while in Israeli security detention in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Out of the 24 cases, 16 boys reported being subjected to at least ten different types of violations, including but not limited to painful hand-ties, blindfolding, strip-searching, leg-ties, verbal abuse, physical violence, no notification of rights and/or no presence of a lawyer or parent during interrogation. Two children reported being held in solitary confinement for periods of six and 14 days respectively in Al Jalame and Petah Tikva detention centers inside Israel. Seventeen (17) of the 24 boys were transferred outside the West Bank to detention facilities inside Israel (Hasharon and Megiddo), in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Since the publication of its paper "Children in Israeli Military Detention — Observations and Recommendations" in March 2013, UNICEF has been engaged in a dialogue with the Israeli authorities on the implementation of th recommendations. In October 2013, the IDF Central Command had announced that it would conduct a pilot test of summonses of children in lieu of night arrests. In early February 2014, the Israeli authorities started the pilot program in Nablus and Hebron governorates, with cases now being reported throughout the West Bank. Since February 2014, UNICEF documented 18 cases of summonses of children in Nablus governorate (11) and Hebron governorate (7).
The launch of the summons pilot is an important operational measure to halt the practice of night arrests and tackle some of the protection concerns which occur during the first 48 hours of arrest, transfer and detention of children. For the summons procedure to be sustainable and effective, however, current operational practices need to be reviewed through the lens of the protection of children.
Attacks on schools
Between April and June 2014, 47 education-related incidents, including attacks on, and military use of, schools were documented in the West Bank and Gaza.
In the West Bank, the incidents included 30 instances of IDF military operations inside or near schools, seven cases of military use of schools by the IDF, and two settler-related incidents.
• The 30 cases resulting from IDF military activities involved clashes between Palestinians and IDF, which led to and tear gas canisters and sound bombs being fired into school yards (23), resulting in children suffering from severe tear gas inhalation, search operations in schools by the IDF (6); and one physical assault by IDF.
• Regarding the seven incidents of military use of schools, on two occasions IDF entered and used schools as a military post to protect Israeli settlers visiting nearby places of religious significance, one school of which was in session. In another case, IDF forcibly entered a school, raised an Israeli flag and declared it a military zone for two days. During the Israeli military operation in the West Bank, the IDF used four schools as designated military zones, including one school which was used as an overnight interrogation center.
• Of the six settler-related incidents, Israeli settlers in one instance vandalized a school during after-school hours, and in five other instances they attacked and physically assaulted school children on their way from school.
In Gaza during the week of 14 to 18 June, artillery shelling by Israeli security forces towards Gaza caused serious damage to five public schools in northern (1), eastern (1) and western (3) Gaza. In all five incidents, windows, doors or boundary walls of the schools were severely damaged. This took place in the context of the Israeli military operation in the West Bank, prior to the start of the Israeli military operation in Gaza on 8 July`
Denial of access to education
In 11 situations, children lost school time as a result of Israeli security forces causing delays at checkpoints (6) and school entrances (3), or closing areas near schools for military exercises or military operations (2). Eleven (11) other cases related to the detention of teachers and children by the IDF while on their way to and from school, or inside school premises.
DENIAL OF HUMANITARIAN ACCESS FOR CHILDREN
On 28 April, a six-month-old girl died after four unanswered attempts to obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to receive medical treatment in Israel. The Palestinian authorities had agreed to cover for the medical expenses. However, the parents only received a response - that the request was still under consideration - one day after the child passed away.
Since the closure of Gaza in 2007, some children in need of specialized medical care outside of Gaza (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Israel, Jordan or Egypt) continued to face delays when accessing health services. The main reason for denial of medical access for children outside Gaza remains Israeli authorities refusing to issue permits for accompanying adult relatives to cross Erez terminal with child patients, and also the near complete closure of Rafah terminal by the Egyptian authorities.
• Erez: From April to June 2014, the Israeli District Liaison Office approved without delay 1,207 out of 1,403 applications (86%) for children to cross Erez checkpoint into Israel for medical treatment outside of Gaza. One hundred eighty-one (181) applications were delayed (13%) and 15 were denied (1%).
• Rafah: From April to June 2014, Rafah terminal to Egypt was closed during the reporting period, including for medical cases, except for two days in April (seven patients allowed access) and two days in June (ten patients allowed access). These are the lowest figures in a ten-month downward trend of medical access through Rafah following Egypt's closure policy.
UNICEF State of Palestine: + 972 2 58 40 400
Catherine Weibel - email@example.com