1 April 2002
PALESTINIAN CHILDREN TARGETED BY ISRAELI MILITARY SIEGE:
DCI/PS CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION
DCI/PS urges the international community to immediately intervene to
protect Palestinian children currently under siege by the Israeli
military. Thousands of Palestinian civilians are currently facing a
dire humanitarian crisis. The Israeli army has severed electricity
and water lines to entire Palestinian cities. Ambulances and medical
personnel are repeatedly being denied access to injured Palestinians.
Families are prisoners in their own homes, many faced with the threat
of being shot by Israeli soldiers and snipers should they venture
outdoors. Many are either running low on food or have exhausted their
food supply. Palestinian males, including boys as young as 14, are
being rounded up and detained. Israeli soldiers have taken over
numerous private homes, destroying personal property, physically
abusing residents and traumatizing children.
The Israeli government and its army repeatedly assert that the
purpose of the ongoing invasions into Palestinian cities, villages,
and refugee camps is to arrest "terrorists." Over and over again,
Israeli officials have stressed that civilians are not the target of
the operations and that no harm is intended towards them. Similarly,
throughout the 18 months of the current Intifada, the Israeli
government has repeatedly denied that its military policies in the
occupied territories target Palestinian children, who constitute 53%
of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Given the frequent absence of critical examination of Israeli
military actions, DCI/PS would like to stress the obvious:
-It is impossible that children are not being targeted when the
Israeli army is repeatedly attacking civilian areas and forbidding
the population to leave their homes, particularly when children
constitute 53% of the population.
-It is impossible that children are not being be targeted when
schools and houses are being hit with heavy artillery.
-It is particularly impossible that children are not being targeted
when they are being rounded up and detained.
Israel's policies of collective punishment do not discriminate on the
basis of age, sex or location. If the practical results of Israel's
occupation policies are examined, then it becomes clear that every
Palestinian is a legitimate target according to Israeli practice.
The fact sheet included below highlights the range of child rights
violations which have occurred in the last 18 months alone as a
direct result of the Israeli occupation.
As a child rights organization active for nearly a decade, Defence
for Children International/ Palestine Section is astonished by the
impunity with which Israel has treated Palestinian children over the
last decade and the lack of political will on behalf of the
international community to tackle Israel's gross and persistent
violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
After years of consistent, state-sponsored child rights violations,
there is no excuse for inaction.
DCI/PS calls on the international community to intervene and demand
an immediate halt to Israel's siege on the occupied territories and
an end to the Israeli occupation. Please address letters of protest
to the following individuals:
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mrs. Mary Robinson
Tel. ++41 22 917 9000
Fax. ++41 22 917 9012/9006/9005
Israeli Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Tel: ++972 2 6705555
Fax: ++972 2 566 4838
President, European Commission
200 rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Phone: ++1-202 456 1414
Fax: ++1-202 456 2461
DCI/PS FACT SHEET:
Violations of Palestinian Childrenís Rights
Stemming from the Israeli Occupation
- Since September 2000, DCI/PS field research has recorded the deaths
of over 230 Palestinian children (under the age of 18) as a direct
result of the Israeli occupation: more than 25 thus far in 2002, 98
in 2001, and 105 in 2000. More than 1/3 of children killed in the
year 2001 were under the age of 12.
- At least 17 Palestinian children have been killed as a result of
Israelís policy of extra judicial killings of Palestinian activists.
- The percentage of Palestinian children killed under the age of
thirteen doubled from the year 2000 to the year 2001.
- According to DCI/PS fieldwork, of the 98 children killed directly
by Israeli soldiers or settlers in the year 2001, 56 of those killed
were not participating in a demonstration or any form of
confrontation at the time of their death.
- Of the 42 children killed during clashes, only 26 of them were
actually participating in clashes at the time according to DCI/PS
documentation. The remaining 16 were passing nearby.
- Of the total 98 children killed in 2001, 39 were killed inside
their houses, on the way to school, or in school.
- DCI/PS estimates that over 7,000 Palestinian children have been
injured since September 2000.
A DCI/PS sample of 3,750 injuries from 2001 indicates that more than
1/5 were to the upper part of the body (head, chest, eye, neck and
back). Twenty-four percent (24%) of children who were injured were
shot by live ammunition. Nearly 40% of children injured were 12 years
old or younger (39.73%).Twenty-seven children lost a body part as a
result of their injury (limbs or internal organs). Of these, nine
children lost their eye.
- Doctors report many injuries due to fragmenting bullets fired from
M-16 rifles. They are designed to splinter on impact tearing tissue
and muscles and causing multiple internal injuries.
- Since the beginning of the Intifada in September 2000, DCI/PS
estimates that approximately 700 children have been arrested by the
Israeli military for political activity. As of March 2002, there are
approximately 150 Palestinian child political prisoners detained in
Israeli prisons and detention centers.
- Virtually every detained child DCI/PS represents reports having
been subjected to torture, including beatings, isolation, sleep
deprivation, threats, position abuse (shabeh), exposure to
humiliating and degrading situations, deprivation from food and
drink, and shaking.
- Once incarcerated, Palestinian child political prisoners are
subjected to a wide array of rights violations, including being
detained with criminal prisoners, attacked by prison staff and
criminal prisoners, denied access to education, adequate medical
care, and family visits.
- Since 5 July, the Israeli Prison Authority has prevented
Palestinian lawyers from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from visiting
- In 2001, 48.94% of cases DCI/PS represented were sentenced to
between six months and one year and 15.96% to more than one year. The
majority of these cases were sentenced for the ìcrimeî of stone
- A majority of Palestinian children are living below the poverty
line of USD 2/day.
- 275 (15.6% )of all Palestinian schools are located within a 500m
radius of Israeli military presence.
- According to DCI/PS documentation during the year 2001, 98 schools
were fired at by Israeli soldiers using live ammunition,
rubber-coated steel bullets or tear gas.
- 71 Palestinian schools came under Israeli attack either through
tank shelling or rockets fired from helicopters. In some cases,
school students were present during these attacks.
- Thirty-seven school students were killed by the Israeli military or
settlers during the year 2001. Six of these were killed on their way
to school or inside their classroom.
- Eight schools were closed by Israeli military orders and five
schools were taken over by the Israeli army and turned into military
bases in 2001.
- Thirty-two schools were placed under curfew, preventing students
from attending classes in 2001.