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Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
31 March 2013

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 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 the first quarter of 2013.

On 20 March 2013, 27 students were arrested en masse by Israeli Security Forces in Hebron's Old City, including nine children below 12, the age of criminal responsibility.

Overall, the reporting period saw a deterioration of the situation on the ground, particularly in terms of settlement activities, military incursions and arrests in Area A, and demolitions.

Protests, including over the issue of Palestinian prisoners or the death of children who were shot at by Israeli Security Forces (ISF), have widened and increasingly result in violence affecting children.

In Hebron there was a significant increase in the number of children arrested and detained on their way to school.

The total number of incidents documented in the reporting period is 312, affecting 10,591 children.


During the first quarter of 2013, four Palestinian children were killed (all boys) and 270 were injured (263 boys and 7 girls). No Israeli children were killed and four were injured.

West Bank

In January 2013, two Palestinian boys were killed as a result of ISF shootings. A 15-year-old boy died of injuries caused by live ammunition, which he sustained during clashes at the entrance of the Ayda Refugee Camp (Bethlehem). A 17-year-old boy was shot in the back and in the leg at close range by an IDF soldiers near the barrier in Budrus (Ramallah). There appears to be an increasing trend of children and adults being shot with live ammunition during demonstrations and clashes.

In the West Bank, 249 Palestinian children and four Israeli children were injured. The great majority of the children (187 boys and 5 girls) were injured by ISF during demonstrations in support of prisoners or during the weekly demonstrations against the Barrier or the Israeli settlements. The children, aged between 1 and 17 years, were injured with live ammunition (6 boys), rubber-coated metal bullets (93 boys and 2 girls), hit by tear gas canisters (8 boys), suffered severe tear gas inhalation (79 boys and 1 girl), and hit by shrapnel (1 boy and 1 girl). In one instance, one girl was hit by a stone thrown by Palestinian demonstrators.

Among the children injured, 48 (47 boys and one girl) were injured by ISF during military operations, including search and arrest operations, raids, demolitions of Palestinian structures, or clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers, including on settlements construction sites. These children, aged between 1 and 17 years, were injured with rubber-coated metal bullets (14 boys), live ammunition (3 boys), physically assaulted (4 boys and one girl), hit by tear gas canister (4 boys), or suffered severe tear gas inhalation (22 boys).

Nine (9) boys were injured in settler related violence. Three (3) boys were physically assaulted by Israeli settlers - a 14-year-old boy in Jerusalem on 14 January, and a nine-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy in the Old City of Hebron, on 11 March and 26 January respectively. A 17-year-old boy was shot by an Israeli settler, in Nablus, on 2 February. A 4-year-old boy was injured as a result of Israeli settlers throwing stones in Nablus, on 2 January. The other four boys were injured as a result of ISF intervention in response to clashes with settlers. A 13-year-old boy was injured by rubber coated metal bullets and a one-year-old, a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old were treated for exposure to tear gas in Ramallah, Nablus and Salfit.

Four (4) Israeli boys, including three young children aged 2, 4 and 6, were injured in car accidents caused by stones thrown by Palestinians. The incidents occurred on 16 January near the Tekoa settlement and on 14 March near the Ariel settlement.


In Gaza, a five-year-old and a six-year-old boy were killed when the UXOs they were playing with detonated in Gaza city and Khan Younis. The origin and maker of the munitions could not be established. In addition, 15 boys, aged between 4 and 17 years, were injured as a result of playing with UXOs. Ninety (90) per cent of the UXO victims are children. UNMAS data for Gaza show that UXOs incidents are caused by munitions that were fired and failed to explode; live munitions that were dropped in open areas; and poorly stored munitions in people's homes. The total number of UXOs victims from 2009 - 2013 is 135, of which 80 are children.

Another six children were injured by live ammunition and tear gas canisters fired by ISF at children in Gaza in the Access Restricted Area. One specific instance included a two years old girl who was shot in the leg while she was playing in front of her house. Another instance involved a 16-year-old boy who was on a fishing boat with his father.


No cases were reported in the first quarter of 2013.


At the end of March 2013, 235 boys and one girl aged 12 to 17 years were in Israeli detention for alleged security violations, marking a 16 per cent increase compared to March 2012. Among them were 39 children between the ages of 12 and 15 years. Out of the 236 children, 136 were in pre-trial detention and 100 were serving a sentence.


In a sample of 18 cases of children arrested and detained (see above), the boys, aged 9 to 17, reported being subjected to ill-treatment and/or acts that could be tantamount to torture by the Israeli army and police in sworn affidavits.

Ten out of 18 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 (beating, slapping, kicking, including with sticks), not informed of their rights, and not allowed the presence of a parent or lawyer during interrogation. Out of these 18 sample cases, 15 child detainees were transferred to prisons inside Israel in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.


Attacks on schools

In the first quarter of 2013, 12 incidents of attacks on schools were documented in the West Bank, marking a decrease compared with the 16 incidents reported in the last quarter of 2012. Following the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on 21 November 2012, no incidents were reported in Gaza and Israel, marking a significant decrease compared to the last three months of 2012.

The 12 incidents recorded in the West Bank were the result of military activity. In nine instances, during village patrols, the ISF entered the schools premises disrupting the classes, causing a disturbance or arresting students (four cases in Nablus governorate and two cases in Ramallah governorate). These nine instances included cases in which ISF occupied the schools, reportedly to provide security to an area (Nablus, 7 and 10 February and 11 March). In the other three instances, ISF fired tear gas, threw canisters of tear gas or fired live ammunition at schools during clashes with Palestinians (Old City of Hebron, 25 and 26 February and 7 March).

Denial of access to education

Twenty-two (22) incidents of denial of access to education were documented in the West Bank, which is the same number of incidents documented during the last three months of 2012. No incidents were reported in Gaza and Israel.

In the West Bank, 18 incidents were perpetrated by ISF and four by Israeli Settlers. The two most affected Governorates are Hebron (eight incidents), including six which were reported in the Old City of Hebron, and Nablus where five incidents reported. In seven instances (including four cases in Hebron, two in Nablus and one in Ramallah), students or teachers were detained while on their way to or from school.

The most serious case was reported in Hebron's Old City on 20 March when 27 students were arrested en masse, including nine children below 12 (age of criminal responsibility), by ISF (see photos on the first page). The other instances involved students and teachers delayed at checkpoints (in the Bethlehem, Hebron and Qalqiliya Governorates and in East Jerusalem); clashes between ISF and Palestinians affecting the school routine (in the Hebron, Jenin and Ramallah Governorates and in East Jerusalem); and ISF positioned at the entrance of the school causing delays (in Nablus and in Hebron).

The four instances perpetrated by Israeli settlers included one serious attack' by residents of the Yitzhar settlement throwing stones at a school bus, which resulted in the injury of two students. Two (2) instances included the physical attack against students on their way to school in East Jerusalem and in At-Tuwani. The last instance involved raw sewage from an Israeli settlement affecting the routine of the Azzun Bait Amin Secondary School (Qalqiliya).


Since the closure on Gaza in 2006, children in need of specialized medical care outside of Gaza continued to face delays when accessing health services. During the first three months of 2013, the Israeli District Liaison Office approved 766 out of 828 applications for children to cross Erez for medical treatment outside of Gaza. Sixty-one (61) applications were delayed and one was denied.


During the first quarter of 2013, Israeli authorities demolished 156 Palestinian structures (homes, water wells, animal shelters, etc.) across the West Bank, including 68 homes. As a result, 309 people lost their homes, including 181 children.

Another 307 people, including 173 children, were affected by the demolitions, which caused community displacement and threats to livelihood. This marks an eight per cent increase in demolitions compared to the last quarter of 2012.


UNICEF State of Palestine: + 972 2 58 40 400
Catherine Weibel -
Monica Awad -

IWe could not verify whether the school bus was well marked or not, which is why this incident was categorised as denial of access. The verification is on-going and the case may be and re-categorised based on the information received.

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