Since 2007, a UNICEF-led working group has consolidated efforts to report on the impacts of armed conflict on children in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The bulletin is published on a bi-monthly basis highlighting trends and patterns in grave violations against children.
Members of the working group include: Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Save the Children, DCI-Palestine, B’Tselem, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, War Child Holland, OCHA, OHCHR, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNRWA and WHO.
This edition covers May & June 2012.
KILLINGS AND INJURIES
This represents a significant increase in the number of Palestinian children injured compared to March and April 2012.
In the first half of 2012, ten Palestinian children were killed and another 300 injured. No Israeli children were killed and one was injured.
The months of May and June saw another escalation of armed hostilities in Gaza and southern Israel which resulted in the killing of four Palestinian children and injury of 19 in June.
On 15 May, during demonstrations commemorating the anniversary of the Nakba day, 117 Palestinian children were injured (all boys). In addition, 36 children were injured in May during demonstrations at Beituniya checkpoint near Ofer prison in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.
Among the three Palestinian children killed, two children (a 1-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy) died as a result of home-made rockets that fell short when fired from Gaza by Palestinian armed groups. In another instance, a 13-year-old boy died when an Israeli drone fired a rocket targeting militants in an agricultural field in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza. A 17-year-old boy died when an ISF missile hit the three-wheel motorcycle on which he was travelling with members of a Palestinian armed group.
Ninety per cent of the children were injured in the West Bank and 10% in Gaza.
In the West Bank, 160 children were injured by ISF forces during demonstrations in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, in commemoration of the Nakba day, or in demonstrations against the Barrier or settlement expansion. This included 74 children injured by rubber-coated metal bullets (73 boys and 1 girl); 73 boys by tear gas inhalation; 12 boys by tear gas canisters launched at them, and one girl by pepper spray.
Two Palestinian boys and one girl were injured by ISF forces during military operations. This included one boy, age 15, who was physically assaulted by the ISF and one boy, age 16, who was hit in he face by a tear gas canister in Hebron. In Qalqiliya, a 3-year old girl was injured as a result of tear gas inhalation.
In May and June 2012, seven Palestinian children were injured in settlers-related incidents (six boys and one girl). This included two boys, age nine and 11, who were assaulted by Israeli settlers near the Ibrahimi Mosque / Machpelah Cave in Hebron Old City, and a 16-year-old boy who was physically assaulted by Israeli settlers while standing in front of his house in Silwan (East Jerusalem). In another instance, four children, three boys and one girl, were injured as a result of suffocation from tear gas fired by ISF forces that intervened during confrontations that took place between Palestinian children and Israeli settlers in a school near the Joseph tomb Shrine in Nablus.
A 12-year-old boy was injured in the explosion of an explosive remnant of war (ERW) in Jericho in the
In Gaza, 19 children, 17 boys and 2 girls, were injured in June during an escalation of armed hostilities. This included 11 boys and two girls who were injured by ISF missiles targeting militants or rocket-launching sites, and six boys injured when rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups fell short.
RECRUITMENT AND USE OF CHILDREN BY ARMED FORCES AND GROUPS
One case of child recruitment by a Palestinian armed group called ‘Abdul Qader Al-Husseini’ was documented as a result of an incident on 1 June, when a 17-year-old boy was killed by an ISF missile while travelling armed on a three-wheel motorcycle in Khan Younis, Gaza, with members of this Palestinian armed group.
ARREST AND DETENTION
At the end of June 2012, 221 Palestinian boys aged 12 to 17 years were in Israeli detention for alleged security violations, marking a 64% increase since December 2011. This included 35 young children between the ages of 12 and 15 years. An 84% increase in the number of young children (12-15 years) being detained was noted in June compared with December 2011. According to the Israeli Prison Services, 55 percent of Palestinian child detainees were transferred to prisons inside Israel in May in contravention of the Geneva Conventions.
In relation to the cases of detention mentioned above, a sample of 25 cases of boys aged 12 to 17 years was documented through affidavits. They all reported being subjected to ill-treatment and/or acts tantamount to torture by the Israeli army and police.
Forty per cent of the children were arrested from their homes at night between 1am and 5am. Eighty-eight per cent of the children suffered at least ten different types of ill-treatment including but not limited to being painfully hand-tied, blindfolded, strip searched, leg-tied, verbally abused, subjected to physical violence, strip-searched, not informed of their rights, and not allowed the presence of a parent or lawyer during interrogation. Three children were held in solitary confinement. In 72 per cent of the cases, children were subjected to the above mentioned violations in the first 48 hours of their arrest.
Three incidents of attacks on schools were reported, two in the West Bank, and one in Gaza.
In the West Bank, on 21 June, Israeli Security Forces (ISF) broke main gates locks to the ‘Al Masri Secondary School for Girls and gathered on the roof to secure the area for the passage of settlers to the Yousef tomb nearby. This was the fifth time this kind of incident happens in the same school since the beginning of the year. On 23 June, ISF broke the school gates and entered the ‘Umm ar’Rihan Secondary School’ in Jenin to remove the Palestinian flag on the roof.
In North Gaza, on 20 June, the ‘Khalifa Bin Zayed’ School was partially damaged by Israeli missiles targeting a military training site belonging to one of the Palestinian resistance factions in Beit Lahiya. On 2 May, children from the two schools of the Shuhada’ Khuza’a village (Gaza) were sent home when ISF entered the village and fired weapons, hitting the school with live bullets. No casualties were reported.
Denial of access to education
Three incidents of military use of schools were also reported from the West Bank.
In Hebron, ISF conducted daily search operations for one week in the ‘Masafer Basic Mixed School’. In Nablus, ISF detained three students for over an hour at the east gate of ‘Az Sawiya Secondary mixed school’. In Qalqiliya, ISF entered and searched the ‘Kufr Kaddom Boys School’ and sprayed it with tear gas. As a result 387 students missed the school day.
Denial of humanitarian access for children
Children in need of specialized medical care outside of Gaza continue to face delays when accessing health services. In May 2012, the Israeli District Liaison Office approved 319 out of 325 applications for children to cross Erez for medical treatment outside of Gaza. Six applications were delayed.
In May and June, Israeli authorities demolished 108Palestinian structures across the West Bank, including 37 homes. As a result, 141 people lost their homes, including 74 children.
Another 1,042 people, including 399 children, were affected by the demolitions, which caused community displacement and threats to livelihood.
UNICEF oPt: + 972 2 58 40 400
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