Monday 16th of August 2021
The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, in cooperation with the Arab Network for Digital Media and Human Rights, called on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations committees concerned with children rights to form an international investigation committee regarding the Israeli army’s targeting of Israeli children and to consider placing Israel on the blacklist of violations of children’s rights.
The two organizations said in a statement today, Monday, that Palestinian children were subjected to multiple violations by the Israeli occupation army of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991.
Palestinian children face threats of denial of education, arbitrary imprisonment and detention, torture, unfair trials, murder and sometimes rape. Since 2011, the occupation forces have executed more than 781 Palestinian children, in addition to large-scale arrests of children, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to many indicators, the year 2021 is considered a harsh year for the lives of Palestinian children, particularly after the recent escalations in Jerusalem and the West Bank, especially the Gaza Strip, who were subjected ethnic cleansing due to attacks by the Israeli Air Force.
The Israeli army targeted Palestinian children by capturing, imprisoning, killing and depriving them of their most basic rights, which are granted to them by the International Law. Furthermore, children under the age of 18 are subjected to military trials, the aim of which is to profit from the Ministry of Security as the financial fine or bail amounts to 10,000 shekels.
There are many forms of reckless abuse by the occupation soldiers, including the shootings which result in the killing of children.
In their targeting of Palestinian children, the Israeli occupation forces use a set of unjust legislation, including:
- The Defence (Emergency) Regulations, 1945: Allows Israel to detain Palestinians in Area A (which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority). This law was repealed as soon as the Palestinian constitution was issued and Israel does not have the right to use it when it detains citizens of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- Military Order No. 1500: Allows the detention of any Palestinian citizen, regardless of their age, for a period of 18 days without being brought before a court and without being allowed to meet with their lawyer. This Order allows for an extension of the detention period, according to the decision of an Israeli military leader.
- Military Order No. 101: Allows imprisonment for up to ten years as a punishment for participating in gatherings of ten or more people that Israel considers political, participating in the distribution of materials against the Israeli occupation, or even raising the Palestinian flag.
- Military Order No. 132: Considers a Palestinian child over 16 years old is considered a mature person.
These Israeli laws contradict the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, which Israel signed in October 1991, and specifically Article No. 16, which states:
“No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”.
In addition, the Israeli Knesset enacted a set of laws in 2015 to facilitate the procedures for arresting and prosecuting Palestinian children, such as the law on the prosecution of children under 14 years of age, and the law to increase the minimum penalty for stone-throwers in East Jerusalem.
The two organisations have highlighted that the violations against Palestinian children extended to depriving them of their right to education. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Education, the army has placed obstacles on the way to schools, harasses children, and searches teachers and students in a humiliating manner, in addition to demolishing schools that include children, especially in Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley and maintaining the house confinement sentence for the children of occupied Jerusalem.
The United Nations report on violations of the rights of children in conflict areas for the year 2020 reached the same conclusion regarding the poor conditions of Palestinian children. The report indicates that 340 Palestinian children were injured in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip during the past year. According to the report, 11 Palestinian children were killed, 361 were arrested, and 83 were subjected to physical torture by the Israeli occupation forces.
The year 2021 also witnessed, since its beginning, an increase in the number of human rights violations against Palestinian children by the forces of the Israeli occupation army. The policies of the occupation continue to violate children’s rights. Several reports stated that the occupation displaced about 200 children in the first quarter of 2021, including 87 children in Jerusalem, in addition to threatening 53 schools with demolition in addition to 168 children were inside the occupation’s prisons during that period, and their number reached 140 in Palestinian Child’s Day, the 5th of April.
In May, the residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem were subjected to forced displacement from their homes by settlers, protected by the occupation soldiers, after a court ruling. The latest events escalated into violent confrontations that resulted in targeting civilians militarily in the Gaza Strip under the pretext of striking the arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. According to what was documented by the Defense for Children International – Palestine, 75 children were killed; 67 of which in Gaza, 8 in the West Bank and Jerusalem in addition to 210 children wounded. Moreover, 450 children were arrested as a result of these events. It was recently noticed that children as young as 8 years old are being arrested.
The two organizations called for the formation of an international investigation committee to find out the truth of the violations, investigate the perpetrators, bring them to trial, discuss ways to redress the victims, release the detained children as soon as possible, and consider adding the State of Israel to the black list of violations of children’s rights.