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 July. August & September 2014.
• Following the abduction of three Israeli youth, including two children, on 12 June in the Gush Etzion settlement area (Bethlehem governorate) of the West Bank, an Israeli military operation started in the West Bank1, purportedly to find the three missing teenagers. In the course of the military operation, a spike was observed in the presence of Israeli soldiers; the number of military incursions in villages, towns and refugee camps; the checkpoints and closures restricting movement; and the number of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
• On 8 July 2014, the Israeli army launched a large military operation in the Gaza Strip2, with the stated objective of stopping Palestinian rocket firing at southern Israel and of destroying the military infrastructure of Hamas and other armed groups. This development marked the collapse of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire understanding reached between Israel and Hamas in November 2012, which had been gradually undermined since December 2013. The latest escalation in Gaza started in early June, characterized by an intensification of Israeli airstrikes and of rockets launched from Gaza at southern Israel. Between 8 July and 26 August, 539 Palestinian children were killed and one Israeli child was killed. 2,956 Palestinian children were injured and six Israeli children were injured.
Killings and injuries
1 - Killings
In the West Bank, six Palestinian boys aged between 11 and 17 years were killed, including two in East Jerusalem. Five were killed by Israeli Security Forces (ISF) and one by Israeli settlers.
• Three boys aged 14 to 17 were killed during demonstrations against the Israeli military operation in Gaza which resulted in clashes between ISF and Palestinians. On 24 July, a 17-year-old boy was killed by a live bullet during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers near Qalandiya; on 25 July, a 14-year-old boy died after being critically injured by live ammunition in the chest in Beit Fajjar village; and on 25 August, a 14 year old boy died after being seriously injured by live ammunition in Nablus.
• One Palestinian boy aged 11 was killed in Al Fawwar camp in Hebron after been shot with live ammunition in the upper part of his body during a search and arrest operation on 10 August.
• Two Palestinian boys were killed in East Jerusalem. On 2 July, a 16-year-old Palestinian child was abducted in front of his house in Shu'fat and killed (burnt alive, reportedly while unconscious) in another part of Jerusalem. Three Israelis were indicted and are under arrest, including one who is a settler, and two who are under the age of 18 years. The incident is believed to be an act of revenge in response to the killing of the three Israeli youths in the West Bank.
On 7 September, a 16 year old boy died of wounds sustained when he was shot with a rubber bullet in the head fired by Israeli forces during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.
2 — Injuries
In the third quarter of 2014, 499 Palestinian children were injured in the West Bank -- 494 boys and five (5) girls aged between 17 days and 17-years-old. These children were injured during:
• Demonstrations: Four hundred twenty-four (424) children, including 422 boys and two girls aged between three weeks and 17-years-old, were injured by Israeli security forces during organized demonstrations resulting in clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians. During the reporting period, demonstrations and ensuing clashes occurred in the context of protests against the military operation in Gaza, the killing of civilians by ISF, weekly protests against the Barrier and settlement expansion, and protests following the Friday prayers. Data for the third quarter of 2014 shows a significant increase in the number of children injured during demonstrations, compared to the 45 cases recorded in the second quarter. In the course of these military operations, 309 children were injured by live ammunition, including 199 by rubber-coated metal bullets; 97 children were injured by severe tear gas inhalation; 11 by being hit by tear gas canisters; four by physical assault; two by shrapnel; and one by being hit by a stone.
• Military operations: Sixty-two (62) children, 60 boys and two girls aged between two months and 17-years-old, were injured during military operations, marking a decrease with the previous reporting period when 157 children were injured during military operations.3 Of the 62 children, 41 were injured by live ammunition including 34 injured by rubber-coated metal bullets; eight by physical assault; six by severe tear gas inhalation; four by shrapnel; two by sound grenades and one as a result of an electronic gate closing on the boy's hand, which resulted in the amputation of a finger.
• Settler-violence: Ten (10) children, including nine boys and one girl aged between one and 17-years-old, were injured in the context of settler-related violence. This marks a decrease compared to the 25 incidents reported in the previous quarter. In nine instances, children were injured in direct violence by Israeli settlers: three children were physically assaulted, three children were injured by pepper spray thrown at their face, two children were injured by live ammunition and one boy was injured as a result of being hit by stones thrown at him. In the other incident, a 16-year-old boy was physically assaulted by Israeli security forces intervening on behalf of Israeli settlers during a visit to a religious site in Nablus. Friction points were locations near Israeli settlements and settlement roads in the West Bank, including the Old City of Hebron (4); East Jerusalem (2); Nablus (3) and Salfit (1) governorates.
• Explosive remnants of war (ERW): Three (3) boys aged between 12 and 13 were injured when they touched ERW while herding sheep or while tempering with it.
In Gaza, over a 50-day period from 8 July to 26 August 2014, at least 539 Palestinian children were reported killed as a result of airstrikes and shelling by Israeli aerial, naval and ground forces. The number of child casualties exceeds the combined number of Palestinian children killed during the two previous escalations in Gaza (350 children in 2008-2009 and 35 children in 2012).
• The 539 child casualties include 339 boys (63%) and 200 girls (37%), aged between seven days and 17 years.
• Of the 539 children, at least 371 casualties (68%) are 12 years old or younger. Of the 339 boys, 218 (64%) are 12 years old or younger. Of the 200 girls, 153 (76%) are 12 years old or younger.
• In the course of the 50 days of conflict, on average more than 10 Palestinian children were killed in Gaza every day.
• At least 142 families have lost three or more family members in the same incident, for a total of 739 fatalities.
• The days with the largest toll of child casualties as a result of the hostilities in Gaza were 20 and 21 July (with 34 and 47 children killed); 29 July (68 children); and 1 August (47 children).
• During the period of the ISF ground incursion, at least 440 children were killed by Israeli aerial, naval and ground forces in the course of 20 days between 17 July and 5 August, equal to 81 percent of the child casualties or on average 22 children per day.
Child casualties were recorded in Khan Younis (127); Gaza City (126); Rafah (127); north Gaza (87); and Middle Area (72). The neighbourhoods with the most child casualties since the beginning of the hostilities include: Shajaiya, Gaza City (43); Jabaliya, north Gaza (37); Bani Suheila, Khan Younis governorate (32); Nuseirat, Middle Area (22); Deir Al Balah, Middle Area (24).
According to the Protection Cluster, in total, 2,257 persons were killed due to the hostilities in Gaza, of which 1,549 were said to be civilians, 547 militants and 161 unknown (victims whose bodies could not be identified or their civilian status remains to be determined). Children make up for 34 per cent of the civilian casualties.
In Gaza, over a 50 day period from 8 July to 26 August 2014, at least 2,956 Palestinian children were reported injured or maimed. In total, a reported 11,100 Palestinians have been injured or maimed, of which children make up 26 per cent.
• The 2,956 child injured include 1,938 boys (66%) and 1,018 girls (34%), aged between two days and 17 years.
• Of the 2,956 children, 2,100 casualties (71%) are 12 years old or younger. Of the 1,938 boys, 1,327 (68%) are 12 years old or younger. Of the 1,018 girls, 773 (75%) are 12 years old or younger.
• In the course of the 50 days of conflict, on average more than 59 Palestinian children were injured in Gaza every day.
• Child injuries were recorded in Gaza City (1,069), North Gaza (774), Middle Area (479), Khan Yunis (341) and Rafah (293).
• The days with the largest number of child injuries were 20 and 24 July (with 177 and 175 children injured); 29 July (160 children); 23 July (154 children) and 30 July (149 children).
During the period of the ISF ground incursion, at least 2,062 children were injured by Israeli air, naval and ground forces in the course of 20 days between 17 July and 5 August, equal to 69 percent of the child injuries or on average 103 children per day
In addition to the child casualties of the July-August military operation, eight children, aged between 6 and 17 years, were injured in Gaza. Six were injured prior to the military operation, in the course of Israeli air strikes targeting suspected rocket launching stations or military training sites in Gaza. The other two children, both ten-year-old boys, were injured in September 2014, when a 155 millimetre artillery round exploded in farmer's home in Beit Lahia.
One four-year-old Israeli boy was killed by mortar shelling from Gaza while he was at home at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, in the Sha'ar Hanegev Region, on 22 August 2014.
Eight Israeli boys were injured during the third quarter of 2014 as a result of stone throwing. Five were injured in East Jerusalem and the other three near settlements of the West Bank, in Hebron and Jericho governorates.
At least six Israeli children, including three boys and three girls aged between 3 months and 17 years, of which four are Bedouin children, were reportedly gravely injured due to rocket fire from Gaza between 8 July and 26 August. According to Magen David Adom, 36 Israeli civilians were injured by shrapnel of rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza. In addition, 581 Israelis suffered from anxiety attacks, 159 were injured as a result of falling and trauma on the way to shelters, 33 were injured by shattered glass and building debris, and 18 were injured in traffic incidents which occurred as a result of air alarms.
Since the start of the Israeli military operation in Gaza, tens of thousands of children in Israel have been impacted by rocket fire and the threat of attacks from Gaza. Rockets have reached Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, cities in southern Israel, Bedouin communities in the Negev desert, as well as towns in central Israel and western Galilee, causing families and children to seek refuge in both municipal and residential bomb shelters. In remote Bedouin communities in the Negev desert, where some children were gravely injured, warning sirens, protective structures and other services remain largely unavailable.
Recruitment and use of children
During the July-August military operation in Gaza, three cases of association of children with Palestinian armed groups were reported. In one instance, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was reportedly injured during a Hamas infiltration and ambush attack against the IDF near kibbutz Nir Am/Erez in southern Israel on 21 July. The boy was reportedly wounded during combat, taken into captivity by the IDF and was subsequently being treated and detained in a hospital in Israel. In two other situations, two boys aged 17-years-old were killed in targeted attacks by Israeli drone strikes in Jabaliya and Khan Younis, on 12 and 14 July respectively. Both boys were reportedly associated with Palestinian armed groups.
Furthermore, a 17-year-old boy was reportedly used by the IDF over five days in the course of the Israeli ground incursion in Gaza. On 23 July, the boy was taken by the IDF from his home near Khan Younis, and was reportedly forced at gunpoint to search for tunnels. During these five days, the boy reported being interrogated, restrained, verbally and physically abused, deprived of food and sleep.
Arrest and Detention
According to the data provided by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), by the end of September 2014, 182 children (181 boys and one girl) aged 14 to 17 years (of whom 19 boys aged 14 to 15) were held in Ofer, Hasharon and Megiddo military detention facilities. Out of the 182 Palestinian children, 125 were held in pre-trial or trial detention and 57 were serving a sentence. The data shows that, during the third quarter of 2014, on average 191 children were held in Israeli military detention per month, which marks a slight decrease compared to the monthly average in the second quarter of 2014 (204 children).
Note: The figures represents a head count of children in IPS detention at the end of each month.
In relation to cases of children in military detention, the UNICEF-led Working Group on Grave Violations against Children gathered 19 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 Israel Security Agency (ISA) and/or the IPS, while in Israeli military detention in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Out of the 19 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. Four children reported being held in solitary confinement for periods ranging between 15 and 25 days in Al Jalame and Petah Tikva detention centers inside Israel.
During the reporting period, four children reported being arrested at night and three children reported having received a summons requesting them to appear before Israeli military authorities. The three children received a phone call by the ISA and one of them was threatened that if he did not appear, his house would be demolished. Fourteen (14) of the 19 boys were transferred outside the West Bank to detention facilities inside Israel (Megiddo and Peta Tikva), in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Attacks on schools
Between July and September June 2014, 572 education-related incidents, including attacks on and military use of schools were documented — 569 in the West Bank and Gaza, and three in Israel.
In the West Bank, the 27 incidents included 24 instances of Israeli military operations inside or near schools, one case of military use of schools the Israeli Security Forces, and two settler-related incidents.
• The 24 cases resulting from Israeli military activities involved clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, which led to tear gas canisters and sound bombs being fired into school yards (18), resulting in children being injured by rubber-coated metal bullets and suffering from severe tear gas inhalation; search operations in schools by Israeli security forces (5); and one threat of school closure and arrest of all students.
• Regarding the one incident of military use of schools, Israeli security forces entered and used schools as a military post to protect Israeli settlers visiting nearby places of religious significance (Joseph's Tomb) in Nablus.
• Of the two settler-related incidents, in one instance, Israeli settlers threw stones at a school, and in the other instance a security guard of Eli settlement entered a school claiming he was verbally insulted by one of the students; thereafter ISF raided the school, resulting in the evacuation of schoolchildren.
Between 8 July and 26 August, at least 327 school facilities, including 187 public schools (out of 395), 91 UNRWA schools (out of 245) and 49 private schools (out of 50), were damaged due to Israeli airstrikes and shelling nearby. At least 26 public schools were reported severely damaged to the extent that they can no longer be used.
At the height of the hostilities, 90 UNRWA schools were used as UN shelters for displaced persons, and 27 public schools were used as Government refuges for displaced persons. At least six UNRWA schools which were used as shelters were reportedly directly hit by Israeli airstrikes or shelling in seven separate incidents.
Furthermore, 199 kindergarten were also partially damaged. In addition, 12 higher educational institutions, including nine non-governmental and three governmental, were partially damaged.
Three UNRWA schools in Gaza were used by Palestinian armed groups for storing rockets. At least one Government school was used by Israeli forces on a military basis.
In southern Israel, children in special education facilities or participating in summer camps were relocated to resume activities in other parts of the country. In three incidents, rocket fire from Gaza resulted in damage to school facilities in southern Israel. Due to the summer holidays, the schools were not in session and no children were injured while at school.
• On 15 July, a special education school in Rishon LeZion, southern Israel, was severely damaged by falling parts of a rocket from Gaza intercepted by the Iron Dome.
• On 21 July, shrapnel of a rocket fired from Gaza fell on the playground of a school in Ashdod, southern Israel.
• On 21 August, shrapnel of a rocket fired from Gaza hit Eshkol Region community kindergarten, while children were present, injuring one adult.
Denial of access to education
In the West Bank, in eight situations children lost school time as a result of the detention of teachers (4) and schoolchildren (4) by Israeli security forces while on their way to and from school, or as a result of Israeli security forces causing delays at checkpoints (3) or in the military escort which protects children from settlers on their way to school (1).
In Gaza, schoolchildren's return to education had to be delayed by three weeks due to the aftermath of the hostilities 8 July - 26 August. The academic year started on 14 September instead of 24 August, affecting 484,000 schoolchildren
Denial of Humanitarian access for children
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) have continued to face delays when accessing health services. The main reason for denial of medical access for children from Gaza remains denial by the Israeli authorities of permits for accompanying adult relatives to cross Erez terminal, and the sharp reduction in access through Rafah terminal by Egyptian authorities.
• Erez: From July to September 2014, the Israeli District Liaison Office approved without delay 848 out of 1,010 applications (84%) for children to cross Erez checkpoint into Israel for medical treatment outside of Gaza. One hundred and forty-four (144) applications were delayed (14%) and 18 were denied (2%) for security reasons.
• Rafah: On July 9, two days after violence escalated on Gaza, the Egyptian authorities declared that casualties would be allowed to cross through Rafah terminal to Egypt for medical treatment, although the border was still closed for other patients. In August and September, patients who were not conflict casualties were permitted to cross Rafah border for medical reasons, as well. In September 2014, Egypt permitted 994 patients to cross Rafah border, the highest number since Egypt closed the terminal in July 2013.
Between 8 July and 26 August, 17 of the 32 hospitals in Gaza were damaged by Israeli airstrikes or shelling nearby and 6 remained closed at the time of writing. Fifty-eight (58) out of the 97 clinics in Gaza were damaged. In addition, one medical doctor and five ambulance workers were killed; 34 Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) health workers were injured; and 27 ambulances were damaged, of which seven rendered out of service. Lack of protection for medical personnel prevailed, and the coping capacity of medical personnel and facilities was increasingly overstretched.
Restricted access to the injured was reported, as well as reduced access for referral of cases for medical reasons outside Gaza, due to difficulties to travel within Gaza and the delay in processing referrals by relevant Palestinian and Israeli authorities. People were unable to leave shelters or houses to seek medical care while under shelling and airstrikes.
An increase was also noted in relative numbers of miscarriages, premature births, and child mortality amongst pregnant women. At least five women who were killed in airstrikes during the ongoing hostilities were reported pregnant. Due to security/access constraints and serious damage to public infrastructure, medical facilities remain in urgent need of medical supplies and fuel to operate back-up generators.
Between the 8 July and 26 August conflict in Gaza, 11 UNRWA local staff members were killed. The compound of the UN Special Coordinator's Office in Gaza was struck by a number of projectiles early in the morning of 29 July; damage was caused to the main building and to UN vehicles
Around 7,000 Palestinian Bedouins and herders, of whom 60% are children and 70% refugees, are at acute risk of forcible transfer in 46 residential areas in the central West Bank and hills to the east of Jerusalem. The Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) is advancing a plan to 'relocate' these communities to three sites allocated for this purpose in Area C, the largest of which is Nuwei'ma, in the Jordan Valley. Six relocations plans were published between July and August 2014 and the local communities have three months to present objections to the plans. The pressure on Bedouin families has been linked to settlement expansion by media and diplomats.
In the third quarter of 2014, Israeli authorities demolished 46 Palestinian homes and 59 other structures (including water wells and animal shelters) in East Jerusalem, as well as in Area A and B and across Area C of the West Bank. As a result, 282 persons were left homeless, including 170 children. Another 3,814 persons, of which 3,648 children, were also affected by the demolitions, through diminished access to services and threats to livelihood.
A new trends was noticed in July and September 2014, when 'punitive demolitions' took place in Area A in the Hebron Governorate. In the five instances reported, ISF bulldozed and blew up with explosives four apartments and sealed one home. These were 'punitive measures' taken as part of military operation to apprehend Palestinians suspected in the kidnapping and killing three Israeli youth in June, and Palestinians suspected in the killing of one police officer. The two suspects were killed in the incident and a family of five was displaced.
1 Israel refers to its military operation in the West Bank which started on 12 June 2014 as "Operation Brother's Keeper".
2 Israel refers to its military operation in Gaza between 7 July and 26 August 2014 as "Operation Protective Edge".
3 Military operations include search and arrest operations and spontaneous clashes between Israeli security forces as a result of heavy military presence in villages, towns and refugee camps; checkpoint closures; Friday prayer restrictions at Al Aqsa Mosque; and stone-throwing interventions at the Barrier.
UNICEF State of Palestine: + 972 2 58 40 400
Catherine Weibel - email@example.com
Monica Awad - mawad@uniceforg