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 on a quarterly basis 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.
This edition covers January, February & March 2015.
The total number of incidents documented in the first quarter of 2015 is 443, affecting at least 4,911 children. A general decrease in the number of Palestinian children injured as a result of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces (ISF), military operations, settler violence and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) was reported, with 104 children injured compared to the 300 of the last quarter of 2014. However, it should be noted that the percentage of child injuries by live ammunition in the first quarter of 2015 (36 percent) is higher than the last quarter of 2014 (28 percent).
During the first quarter of 2015, 54 education-related incidents were documented in the West Bank, marking a decrease compared to the 73 incidents documented in the last quarter of 2014. The number of incidents affecting children in Gaza remained low as a result of the ceasefire of 26 August 2014.
KILLINGS AND INJURIES
During the first quarter of 2015, no Palestinian children were killed; 104 Palestinian children were injured (98 boys and six girls.) No Israeli children were killed; four Israeli children were injured (one boy and three girls.)
In the West Bank, no Palestinian children were killed during the first quarter of 2015. One hundred and three (103) Palestinian children were injured, including 97 boys and six girls aged between four and 17 years.
• Demonstrations: Forty-three (43) boys were injured during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli Security Forces (ISF) in the context of demonstrations against the Barrier or Israeli settlements, and clashes following Friday prayers. Of these, 20 boys were injured by live ammunition, 15 boys were hit by rubber-coated metal bullets, and eight boys suffered from tear gas inhalation.
• Military operations: Forty-seven (47) children (43 boys and four girls) were injured by ISF during security operations such as search and arrest operations and associated clashes between Palestinians and the ISF, including in and around refugee camps. In two specific incidents, on 29 and 31 March, two Palestinian children bystanders were shot and injured with rubber-coated metal bullets while walking home from school as clashes were taking place between Palestinians and ISF near Shu'fat Checkpoint (East Jerusalem). As a result, a nine-year-old girl was injured in her leg and hand and an 11-year-old boy was injured in his left eye. During military operations, children were injured by live ammunition (13), rubber-coated metal bullets (15), physical assault (8), tear gas inhalation (9) and hit by a sound grenade (2).
• Settler-violence: Eleven children (nine boys and two girls) were injured in the context of violence committed by Israeli settlers, and related incidents involving the ISF. Israeli settlers injured five children, three boys and two girls, by assaulting and throwing stones at them. ISF interventions during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers led to the injury of six boys by live ammunition (3), physical assault (2) and rubber-coated metal bullet (1).
• Explosive remnants of war (ERW): two boys were injured by ERWs. A 17-year-old Palestinian boy was injured by an ERW in Ein Al Hilwa (Jordan Valley) while he was grazing his sheep; he sustained injuries to his legs. The other boy was injured in Jayyus village in Qalqilia governorate when a grenade he had found by the main road detonated.
In Gaza, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy was injured on 28 February when an ERW detonated in Al Shouka, east of Rafah.
No Israeli children were killed in the first quarter of 2015. Four Israeli children were injured, including three girls and one boy.
Two girls were injured when Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli settler bus travelling in Beit Hanina (East Jerusalem), while a four-year-old Israeli boy was injured as a result of Palestinian stone throwing in the old city of Jerusalem. One girl was injured by glass shrapnel as a result of stones thrown by Palestinians at vehicles near Sinjil village north of Ramallah, close to settlements.
RECRUITMENT AND USE OF CHILDREN
No cases of child recruitment were reported in the first quarter of 2015.
ARREST AND DETENTION
According to the data provided by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), at the end of March 2015, 182 Palestinian children were held in military detention facilities -- 181 boys and one girl, aged 14 to 17 years, of whom 26 boys aged 14 to 15. Out of the 182 Palestinian children, 106 were held in pretrial or trial detention and 76 were serving a sentence. During the first quarter of 2015, on average 176 children were held in Israeli military detention per month, which marks a six per cent decrease compared to the monthly average in 2014 (188 children).
Note: The figures represents a head count of children in IPS detention at the end of each month.
In relation to the cases of military detention, the Reporting Mechanism on Children and Armed Conflict gathered 11 affidavits (sworn testimonies) of boys aged between 13 and 17 years reporting ill-treatment by the IDF, the Israeli police, the ISA and/or the IPS, while in Israeli military detention in the West Bank. Out of the 11 cases, nine boys reported being subjected to at least ten different types of ill-treatment, 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. One child reported being held in solitary confinement for a total period of 13 days. During the first quarter of 2015, four boys reported being arrested at night and one boy reported having received a summons at night requesting him to appear before the Israeli military authorities. A decrease was observed in the number of children reporting blind-folding, physical violence, denial of adequate food and water, detention outside the West Bank, and solitary confinement. However, five of the 11 boys were transferred outside the West Bank to detention facilities inside Israel (Hasharon and Megiddo), in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The Working Group on Grave Violations against Children also documented instances of arrest and ill-treatment in East Jerusalem. The United Nations documented 17 cases of ill-treatment through affidavits collected there. All of the 17 boys, aged between 13 and 17 years, reported being subjected to 'cruel and degrading ill-treatment' by the Israeli Defence Forces including the Israeli police and the Israeli Border Police. Out of 17 boys, ten were arrested at night. Nine boys reported being subject to physical violence (which includes kicking, hitting with guns or stepping on the child's head), and ten reported verbal abuse and threats.
Attacks on schools
Between January and March, 26 education-related incidents were documented in the West Bank, marking a decrease compared to the 46 incidents reported in the last quarter of 2014. The incidents included 20 instances of Israeli military operations inside or near schools, four settler-related incidents, and two incidents of military use of schools.
• Military operations: The 20 incidents resulting from Israeli military activities involved 13 instances of clashes between Palestinians and ISF, affecting 2,736 students who suffered from tear gas
inhalation and one student who was hit by a tear gas canister. In three instances, ISF entered schools for search operations, accusing the students of throwing stones at the soldiers and questioning the teachers. In two instances ISF entered into school yards. In one instance, windows of the UNRWA Jalazone Camp Basic Girls' School were broken by ISF munitions as a result of shooting. In the second instance, Israeli bulldozers demolished parts of water networks, causing a ten-day water cut which affected a school in Arab Al-Jahaleen (East Jerusalem).
• Settler-related violence: Of the four settler-related incidents, two incidents were reported in Hebron, one in Nablus and one in Bethlehem. Two attacks affected Al-Ibrahimyye Primary School in the Old City of Hebron; in one instance, a group of settlers went into the school and threw rocks at the students; in another instance, settlers vandalized the main school gate. In Nablus, Israeli settlers wrote 'death to Arabs' on the walls of the Urif Secondary Boys School. In Bethlehem, ISF patrolled around and attempted to enter the Al-Tawafoq Secondary Mixed School and Jab'aa Primary School for Boys after Israeli settlers set fire to the village mosque.
• Military use of school: In Jenin, ISF entered Zebdeh Secondary School for Boys and used its rooftop to monitor the Israeli checkpoint in front of the school. On 11 March 2015, armed Palestinians entered the school of Balata Basic Boys School No.1 and demanded that the school principal send the students home.
Denial of access to education
In 18 situations, children lost school time as a result of ISF closing areas near schools for military exercises or military operations (8 cases in Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus), causing delays at check-points (8 cases in Hebron, Jenin, Tulkarem, Bethlehem and Tubas), or because of Israeli military escorts not accompanying children to protect them from settlers (two cases in Hebron).
Source: CAAC Database
In eight instances, teachers or children were detained by ISF while on their way to and from school (Jerusalem, Hebron, Jenin and Nablus). The two remaining cases are related to settler attacks on teachers and children on their way to school (Hebron and Jerusalem).
DENIAL OF HUMANITARIAN ACCESS FOR CHILDREN
Since the closure of Gaza in 2007, children in need of specialized medical care outside of Gaza continue to face delays when accessing health services. The main reasons include the Israeli authorities' denial of permits for accompanying adult relatives to cross the Erez terminal, and the restricted access through the Rafah terminal by the Egyptian authorities since 2014.
• Erez: In the first quarter of 2015, the Israeli District Liaison Office approved without delay 1,028 out of 1,261 applications (82%) for children to cross the Erez checkpoint for medical treatment outside of Gaza. 219 (17%) applications were delayed and 14 (1%) were denied. This is a slight increase in the percentage of delays compared to the previous reporting period (15%), but a slight decrease in the percentage of denied applications compared to previous quarter (3%).
• Rafah: the terminal was completely closed in January and February. The terminal was open for only three days in January and two days in March, during which 47 patients travelled to Egypt.
In the first quarter of 2015, Israeli authorities demolished 39 Palestinian homes and 112 other structures (including water wells and animal shelters) throughout the West Bank including East Jerusalem. As a result, 212 persons were left homeless, including 124 children. Another 723 persons, of which 274 children, were also affected by the demolitions, through diminished access to services and threats to livelihood.
During the reporting period, although people remained displaced in Gaza and internally displaced people, including children, continued to face serious challenges to find adequate shelter, some positive trends were identified. The number of I DPs in UNRWA Collective Centres decreased from 16,610 IDPs in 18 Centres on 1 January (including a total of 8,033 children, 4,135 boys and 3,898 girls) to 7,072 on 31 March in 12 Centres (including a total of 4,341 children, 2,265 boys and 2,076 girls).
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