Key incidents outlined in this LPHR Child Rights Bulletin covering 1 October- 31 December 2022:
14 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank between 1 October- 31 December 2022. In total during 2022, 44 Palestinian children were killed, at least 43 of them by Israeli forces or settlers.
In November, Israeli forces killed a 14-year-old girl during a search-and-arrest operation in Beituniya. Israeli forces shot at a car, killing Fullah Maluh and injuring the driver. Eyewitnesses reported that the car was moving at a normal speed. In December, Israeli forces killed a 15-year-old girl during an Israeli search-and-arrest operation in Jenin Refugee Camp. Jana Majdi Issam Assaf sustained two gunshot wounds to her upper chest and one to the right side of her head while on the roof of her home. In total during 2022, 16 children were killed during search and arrest operations in the West Bank.
Four Palestinian children – three in Gaza and one in the West Bank – were injured after tampering with unexploded ordnance. In total during 2022, eight children are reported to have been injured by unexploded ordnance.
At least 18 children were injured by Israeli settlers. In total during 2022, 35 children are reported to have been injured due to settler violence.
The ill-treatment of Palestinian children during their arbitrary arrest and detention by Israeli forces continued, with children being arrested during night-time raids on their family homes, and testimonies of physical abuse, strip searches and coerced confessions.
140 children (67 girls and 73 boys) were displaced by the demolition of 274 homes and other structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
On 23 November, Israeli authorities demolished the Isfey Al Faqua donor-funded school in Masafer Yatta, after the Israeli Supreme Court cancelled a temporary injunction prohibiting demolition. The school served 21 students from three different communities. Two weeks later, Israeli forces dismantled and confiscated two tents used as temporary classrooms for the community’s schoolchildren since the demolition of their school.
The key incidents and statistics outlined in this bulletin span a range of violation categories: ‘Fatalities’, ‘Injuries’, ‘Settler Violence’, ‘Arrests and Detention’, ‘Interference against Education’, ‘Displacement and Demolitions’. They are collated from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and local human rights organisations: Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP), Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Yesh Din, Military Court Watch (MCW) and B’Tselem.
This bulletin outlines the specific rights of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that apply to the key incidents affecting Palestinian children in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). As the occupying power, Israel has legal responsibilities under international conventions, including the UNCRC, for the safety, welfare, and human rights protection of civilians living in the oPt.
For all our previous bulletins, please visit the Children’s Rights Project page of LPHR’s website. For LPHR Briefings and Legal Q&As providing a legal and human rights analysis on recurring issues covered within our bulletins, please see the following: ‘Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children‘; ‘Unexploded Ordnance in Gaza and its serious impact on civilians‘; ‘Settler Violence‘; ‘Displacement and Demolitions in the Area C of the West Bank‘; ‘Coerced self-demolitions‘.
Data collected by UN OCHA records that 14 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli forces during the reporting period 1 October- 31 December 2022. All of these children were shot and killed with live ammunition in the occupied West Bank. One Israeli child died during an explosion in Jerusalem.
In total, 44 Palestinian children were killed in 2022, at least 43 of them by Israeli forces or settlers. 16 children were killed during search-and-arrest operations in the occupied West Bank.
UN OCHA reports that on 1 October, Israeli forces shot and killed a child in Al ‘Eizariya town (East Jerusalem). B’Tselem reports that Israeli forces inside Border Police Force vehicles fired several shots at 17-year-old Fayez Damdum, hitting him in the back of the neck at close range. B’Tselem’s assessment of video footage and eyewitness testimony found that Fayez was shot while running away from soldiers after falling off his motorcycle. B’Tselem disputes the claim made by the Israeli authorities that Fayez was attempting to throw a Molotov Cocktail when shot; UN OCHA reports that no traces of incendiary material were found on Fayez’s body, according to medical sources.
UN OCHA reports that on 7 October, Israeli forces killed a 14-year-old with live ammunition when they opened fire at a group of children near the Barrier in Qalqilya. DCIP reports that Adel Ibrahim Adel Daud was shot in the head at around 15:00 and died a few hours later. Palestinian eyewitnesses dispute the Israeli authorities’ claim that the boy threw a Molotov cocktail at soldiers.
UN OCHA reports that a second child was killed on 7 October. A 17-year-old Palestinian boy was shot by Israeli forces near a water spring and public park in Al Mazra’a Al Qibliya village (Ramallah). B’Tselem identifies the boy as Mahdi Ladadwah, reporting he was shot in the chest as he was about to throw stones with a slingshot at Israeli forces. Soldiers and Border Police officers initially refused to allow Mahdi to be put in a Palestinian ambulance. The shooting occurred during clashes where Israeli forces fired rubber bullets and live ammunition at Palestinians who threw stones. 51 Palestinians were injured; no Israeli injuries were reported.
UN OCHA reports that on 8 October, as Israeli forces raided Jenin Refugee Camp for the second time that week, a child was shot and killed during an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Palestinians. The raid saw another Palestinian killed and 12 others injured; no Israeli injuries were reported. DCIP identifies the child as 17-year-old Mahmoud Moayad Mahmoud Sous. Reportedly, Mahmoud threw a homemade explosive device toward an Israeli military vehicle about 20 metres away, and was then shot from behind in the neck and thigh.
DCIP reports that a 12-year-old boy died on 10 October after Israeli forces shot him on 28 September following a military incursion into Jenin Refugee Camp. Mahmoud Mohammad Khalil Samoudi was shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition in the abdomen around 10:00 when Israeli forces shot at youths throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli military vehicles in Al-Zahra neighbourhood, adjacent to Jenin Refugee Camp.
UN OCHA reports that on 12 October, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and killed with live ammunition in Al ‘Arrub Refugee Camp (Hebron) during a demonstration against the closure of Shu’fat Refugee Camp following the killing of an Israeli soldier nearby. Israeli forces shot live ammunition and Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces. DCIP identifies the boy as Osama Mahmoud Hasan Adawi, reporting that he was shot in the abdomen from a distance of about 70 metres, dying an hour later.
UN OCHA reports that on 20 October, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy succumbed to wounds sustained on 28 September, when Israeli forces shot him with live ammunition near Beit El/DCO checkpoint in Ramallah during a demonstration against repeated Israeli military operations in Jenin Refugee Camp. DCIP reports that Mohammad Fadi Hani Nouri was shot in the abdomen at around 14:30 while watching confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians from about 50 metres away.
UN OCHA and DCIP report that on 3 November, a 14-year-old boy was killed by Israeli forces at the entrance to Jenin Refugee Camp, after Israeli forces carried out an incursion into Jenin Refugee Camp and killed a Palestinian man. Israeli forces surrounded the camp with Israeli military vehicles. Stone throwing and an exchange of fire between Palestinians and Israeli forces ensued. Mohammad Samer Mohammad Khalouf allegedly fired a homemade gun at Israeli military vehicles before being shot in the chest.
UN OCHA reports that on 9 November, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was shot with live ammunition fired by the Israeli forces while the explosive device he was allegedly planting detonated during armed clashes in Nablus City. Clashes took place when Israeli settlers and members of the Israeli parliament visited Joseph’s Tomb which triggered confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces and resulted in the injury of 60 Palestinians. DCIP identifies the child as Mahdi Mohammad Hamdallah Hashash.
B’Tselem reports that on 14 November, Israeli forces killed a 14-year-old girl during a search-and-arrest operation in Beituniya (Ramallah). Israeli forces shot at a car, killing Fullah Maluh and injuring the driver. Eyewitnesses reported that the car was moving at a normal speed. Israeli forces reported that the car was a suspicious vehicle and that it was told to stop but accelerated.
UN OCHA reports that on 21 November, a 17-year-old Palestinian child was killed while he was on his way to school, and three others were injured during an Israeli forces operation in the vicinity of Jenin Refugee Camp. DCIP identifies the child as Mahmoud Abdujaleel Huda al-Sadi, reporting that he was shot in the abdomen with live ammunition at 08:30.
UN OCHA reports that on 22 November, Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, and injured 110 Palestinians, during confrontations involving stone throwing and an exchange of fire between Palestinians and Israeli forces that erupted when dozens of Israeli settlers entered Joseph’s Tomb site in Nablus City. DCIP identifies the child as 16-year-old Ahmad Amjad Mohammad Shehadeh, reporting that he was shot in the heart by an Israeli sniper.
UN OCHA reports that on 23 November, two explosions went off near bus stops in Jerusalem, killing an Israeli child and injuring 14 others. Media reports identify the child as 15-year-old Aryeh Schupak.
UN OCHA reports that on 8 December, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was killed with live ammunition fired by Israeli forces along Route 465 near the village of Abud (Ramallah). According to Israeli sources, soldiers opened fire at five Palestinians who had been allegedly hurling stones and paint bottles at Israeli settler vehicles travelling on Road 465, an allegation disputed by eyewitnesses. During the same incident, three Palestinians were injured with live ammunition.
UN OCHA reports that on 11 December, Israeli forces killed a 15-year-old girl during an Israeli search-and-arrest operation in Jenin Refugee Camp. An exchange of fire took place with Palestinians. DCIP reports that Jana Majdi Issam Assaf sustained two gunshot wounds to her upper chest and one to the right side of her head while she stood on the roof of her home as Israeli forces conducted a search and arrest operation in her neighbourhood. Reportedly, the bullet fragments and wounds were consistent with the use of expanding bullets by the Israeli military.
UN OCHA reports that in the Gaza Strip, on 17 November, 21 Palestinians from the same extended family, including 11 children, were killed when a fire broke out in a residential building in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. Unsafe practices contributed to the gravity of the incident, according to an investigation by the de-facto authorities. The limited operational capacity of the Palestinian Civil Defense, due to disagreements with the PA and the Israeli-imposed ban on essential materials, also contributed to the large number of deaths.
Article 6(1) of the UNCRC provides that every child has the inherent right to life. A number of the above-mentioned fatal use of live-fire cases strongly indicate that Israeli forces have violated their legal duty under Article 6(1). Under international law, lethal force such as the use of live ammunition can only be deployed as a last resort when there is a direct and imminent threat to life or serious injury. Of particular concern is the prevalence of instances where live-fire by Israeli forces appear grossly disproportionate to any real or perceived threats.
The apparent circumstances of these killings are consistent with a grave failure by Israeli forces to treat the use of live ammunition as a final recourse only where the exigencies of the situation necessitate its reasonable and proportionate use. Instead, Israeli forces frequently appear to use live ammunition against Palestinian children in reported circumstances where they are under no apparent direct or imminent threat to life or serious injury.
B’Tselem has thoroughly investigated the use of live fire by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, concluding:
B’Tselem’s investigation and analysis indicates that these incidents were made possible by an open-fire policy that permits both shooting to kill in instances defined as “incidents of assault” and a trigger-happy approach to demonstrations or stone-throwing. This policy, which is broadly supported by senior officials, conveys profound disregard for the lives of Palestinians.
B’Tselem’s assessment that Israel’s rules of engagement for use of live-fire against Palestinians in the West Bank is excessive and disproportionate – an assessment supported by reporting of child fatalities outlined in LPHR’s Child Rights Bulletins over the last decade – raises grave concern of a systematic and widespread breach of Israel’s Article 6(1) right to life obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
UN OCHA records that at least 1,549 Palestinian children were injured during the reporting period (58 girls and 1491 boys), the majority by Israeli forces in the West Bank. Of these, 151 children were injured by live ammunition. 215 children were injured by rubber bullets. 31 were physically assaulted. 1,041 were injured by tear gas inhalation. Eight were hit by tear gas canisters. 42 were injured by air launched explosive weapons. 188 children were injured during Israeli military search and arrest operations. 724 were injured during demonstrations.
Injury incidents from 1 October- 31 December 2022 include:
UN OCHA reports that on 22 October, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and injured with live ammunition after he stabbed and injured an Israeli in the vicinity of French Hill settlement in East Jerusalem.
UN OCHA reports that in the Gaza Strip, on 1 November, three Palestinian children were injured by the detonation of unexploded ordnance (UXOs), after tampering with a munition they found northwest Rafah. For more information about the impact of unexploded ordnance on children, see LPHR’s Q&A on Unexploded Ordnance in Gaza.
UN OCHA reports that on 10 November, an 11-year-old child was injured by the detonation of an unexploded ordnance (UXOs), after tampering with a munition he found near his house in Tell village (Nablus). The ordnance was reportedly fired by Israeli forces a day before during a military operation. For more information about the impact of unexploded ordnance on children, see LPHR’s Q&A on Unexploded Ordnance in Gaza.
Article 3(2) of the UNCRC provides that states shall ensure children the protection and care necessary for their well-being. The hundreds of children injured by Israeli forces prima facie violates both the letter and the spirit of Article 3(2).
Incidents of settler violence between 1 October- 31 December 2022 include:
UN OCHA reports that on 5 November, three Palestinians including a 13-year-old child were physically assaulted and stoned by a group of about 40 Israeli settlers while they were harvesting their olive trees north of Kafr ad Dik village in Salfit governorate; during the same incident, Israeli setters stole about 40kg of harvested crops and a harvesting machine. Such attacks occurred throughout the harvest season, affecting families’ livelihoods and contributing to a coercive environment.
UN OCHA reports that on 3 November, a 13-year-old Israeli settler girl reportedly suffered from head injury in Kiryat Arba settlement as a result of a stray bullet; the Israeli army stated that the circumstances of the incident are under investigation.
UN OCHA reports that on 15, 16 and 17 November, seven Palestinians, including one child were injured in five separate incidents after Israeli settlers threw stones toward Palestinian vehicles travelling on main roads.
UN OCHA reports that on 18 November, a group of Israeli settlers, reportedly from the settler farm outposts near Rimonim settlement, accompanied by Israeli forces, physically assaulted, and injured a 14-year-old child whilst attacking Palestinians grazing their livestock near Al Mu’arrajat Center Bedouin community, east of Ramallah.
UN OCHA reports that on 29 November, a three-year-old Palestinian child, a pregnant woman and two other Palestinians were injured (one by a stone and three by pepper spray) when Israeli settlers broke into Al Mughayyir village and threw stones at Palestinian houses and vehicles.
UN OCHA reports that on 1 December, Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured a 17-year-old child in the H2 area of Hebron City.
UN OCHA reports that on 16 December, a 16-year-old boy was physically assaulted and injured when about 50 Israeli settlers, reportedly from Yitzhar settlement, broke into Madama village (Nablus) and threw stones at Palestinian houses and vehicles.
UN OCHA reports that on 20 December, two children were physically assaulted and injured when Israeli settlers entered a public park in Al Mazra’a al Qabaliya village (Ramallah) and physically assaulted children, including with sticks.
UN OCHA reports that 13 Palestinians, including an 18-month-old baby and two other children, were injured directly by Israeli settlers in four incidents on 23, 28 and 29 December, on main roads near Huwwara town and Osarin village (both in Nablus), where settlers threw stones at Palestinian vehicles.
Article 3(2) of the UNCRC provides that states should ensure the protection and care of children, as is necessary for their wellbeing. The ongoing violent attacks on children by Israeli settlers strongly indicates that Israel is in breach of Article 3(2). The Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din reports that incidents of violence by Israeli civilians against Palestinians and their property are a daily occurrence throughout the West Bank and that these incidents are rarely investigated properly by Israeli law enforcement. Moreover, only 3% of the investigations into complaints filed by Palestinians injured by settlers lead to convictions.
The low rate of investigations into attacks by Israeli settlers suggests that Israel is in violation of its obligations under Article 39 of the UNCRC, which stipulates that states should take all appropriate measures to promote the physical and psychological recovery of a child victim of abuse, and that such recovery should take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.
ARRESTS AND DETENTION
Between 1 October- 31 December 2022, UN OCHA reports that Israeli forces conducted over 673 search-and-arrest operations across the West Bank, arresting at least 85 children.
As of 31 December 2022, Military Court Watch reports that there are 157 Palestinian children (12 – 17 years old) being held in Israeli military detention facilities, seven of them under administrative detention (detention without charge or trial, which can be renewed indefinitely). Violent night-time arrests of Palestinian children from their family homes continued to be carried out by Israeli forces during the reporting period.
Arrest and detention incidents in the reporting period include:
In testimony collected by MCW, a 14-year-old boy reports how on 3 October, he was arrested by a group of soldiers who violently raided his family home at 04:00. The boy testifies that Israeli soldiers blew open the front door, before spreading out over his home, taking the family’s telephones and identity cards. The soldiers blindfolded the boy and tied his hands before taking him to a police station in an Israeli settlement. During the boy’s interrogation, he remained blindfolded and tied. The interrogator threatened to trash the boy’s house if he did not confess to throwing stones. The interrogator wanted the 14-year-old to name other boys. The boy testifies: “I was scared that he might go to our house and trash it, so I confessed”. The boy was given a document in Hebrew, which he did not understand, to sign. He was then taken to Ofer prison, where he was strip searched. After seven military court hearings, he was released on bail. His mother had to pay NIS 4,000. The boy testifies: “Since my release I avoid leaving the house except to go to school. I stay home and don’t go out to play with my friends… I am finding it hard to focus at school, I still think of my experience in prison.”
In testimony collected by MCW, a 14-year-old boy reports being beaten and arrested during a violent raid on his family home at 03:00 on 4 October. He reports that soldiers broke the door to his home and entered by force. Soldiers carrying guns went into his bedroom, where he was in bed, before demanding his ID and beating him. The boy testifies: “They did not allow me to put on proper clothes and dragged me outside in my shorts and under shirt. The soldiers prevented my parents from following me. My younger brother, who was eight, was terrified… a soldier tied my hands behind my back… Then he blindfolded me and walked me to where the jeeps were waiting. On the way the soldiers continued to beat me with the back of their guns and kick me, as well as swearing at me. They called me ‘a son of a whore’… I did not resist or say anything, still he beat me up. Someone accused me of throwing stones at soldiers and wanted to know why I did that. Then I was pushed into the back of a jeep and made me kneel on the metal floor. A soldier pushed my head down with his boots…” During his ordeal, the boy was strip searched. After eight military court hearings, the boy accepted a plea bargain and was fined. He testifies: “Until this day my parents are unable to fix the front door because they cannot afford it. We all feel unsafe and worry that soldiers might raid our home again.”
UN OCHA reports that on 8 October, five children were arrested by Israeli forces in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, after Palestinians gathered to celebrate Prophet Mohammad’s birthday. Israeli forces reportedly ordered Palestinians to leave, and then fired rubber bullets, sound grenades and teargas canisters toward Palestinians who reportedly threw bottles.
In testimony collected by MCW, a 14-year-old boy describes how he was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 03:00 on 12 October. He testifies: “I was asleep when I heard loud banging at our front door. By the time I got out of bed many Israeli soldiers were already inside our home. I heard one of the soldiers call my name. He told my parents they wanted to arrest me and question me about stone throwing. The soldier gave my parents a document filled out in Hebrew and asked my father to sign it. They did not give us a copy of this document.” The boy reports being blindfolded and having his hands tied. Inside a vehicle, soldiers mocked the boy and threatened to strip search him. During interrogation, the interrogator shouted at him to confess and inform on his friends. The boy testifies: “At one point another interrogator came in and yelled at me urging me to confess. Then he opened the door and ordered me to strip. I refused to strip and confessed to throwing two stones at the wall.” The boy signed documents in Hebrew, which he did not understand. He had seven military court hearing before being sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and fined NIS 2,000. The boy was released in December; he describes being “dumped someplace I did not know”, many miles from his own village. Like many children, he did not receive family visits during his detention, as an Israeli-issued permit was not approved in time.
In testimony collected by MCW, a 14-year-old boy describes being arrested by Israeli forces who entered his home at 04:00 on 12 October. The boy was blindfolded and his hands were tied. He was interrogated, slapped and shouted at before being allowed to speak to a lawyer, by which point he had confessed to stone throwing. He has eight military court hearings before being sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and a fine of NIS 2,000. He testifies: “I missed so many school days and I’m finding it hard to cope. In prison I did not have any family visits because the permit was not issued in time.”
In testimony given to MCW, a 13-year-old boy describes his arrest in the middle of the night on 12 October. He testifies: “Israeli soldiers raided our home at around 4:00 a.m. I woke up to the sound of loud banging at our front door. At first, I thought I was dreaming and went back to sleep, but then a soldier struck me with his elbow on my knee and grabbed me by my T-shirt around the neck. He pulled me out of bed and pushed me into the corner of the bedroom. Five other soldiers surrounded my parents and siblings. My mother was terrified and she passed out.” The boy describes being walked along a dirt road for about an hour with his hands tied. He testifies: “I fell a couple of times and the soldiers kicked and slapped me and called me ‘a son of a whore’. I was so upset that I swore back at them.” During interrogation, the boy reports that “without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator accused me of chasing a soldier with the intention of killing him.” The boy denied the accusation and was asked to inform on other Palestinians. When he did not, he was threatened with three years imprisonment. He was strip searched in Ofer prison. He was released on bail and dropped off outside the prison, many miles from his home.
In testimony collected by MCW, a mother describes the night-time arrest of her 13-year-old son by soldiers who entered her home at 03:30 on 12 October. She testifies: “around eight Israeli soldiers entered our home. They had broken open the door downstairs with a sledge hammer before coming up to our apartment… The soldiers went straight to the bedroom of our 13-year-old son… My son was still in bed and thought he was having a nightmare when he woke and saw soldiers over his head. He later told me a soldier kicked him in the knee while he was still in bed and then grabbed him by his T-shirt and pushed him against the wall. He then passed out. Meanwhile, when I went back to my bedroom to get properly dressed I was followed by a soldier who did not allow me to leave the bedroom. My other son was being held in the kitchen. About 30 minutes later the soldiers gathered us all in the living room… One of the soldiers aimed his gun at us and did not allow us to move or speak. I told the soldier that my two-month-old daughter was still in her crib and I pleaded with him to allow me to fetch her but he refused. I was terrified that the soldiers might accidentally harm her as they roamed around our home. All I wanted was to hold her in my arms. When my other daughter stood up to go and fetch the baby a soldier threw a chair at her and aimed his gun at her head. I thought he was going to shoot her. I was also worried the soldiers might use tear gas inside our house and I was panicking that my infant daughter would suffocate… Then they took my 13-year-old son outside. I looked out the window to say good bye to him and to tell him to be strong, but a soldier aimed his gun at me and yelled at me to shut the window. When the soldiers left we all burst into tears, sobbing and crying uncontrollably. We could not sleep… My husband blamed himself for allowing the solders to take our son away… It was a hellish night I will never forget. Our son was released on bail two days later.”
In testimony collected by MCW, a 16-year-old child describes being physically assaulted and strip searched in the course of his arrest and detention. The child testifies that at 16:00 on 20 October, “I was standing on the side of the road watching the clashes when somebody shouted ‘soldiers… soldiers’. I immediately ran as fast as I could. An Israeli military jeep drove up behind me and nearly ran me over. Then four soldiers stepped out of the jeep, grabbed me and started to beat me hard. They kicked me on my legs and punched me in the face until blood came out of my nose. I was in pain. They also swore at me and called me ‘a son of a whore’… The soldiers took me to the back of a jeep and made me bend down on the metal floor as if I was praying. A soldier put his boots on my head and pushed me down. I was left in that position for about two hours.” The boy testifies that he was interrogated without being informed of his right to silence and that he was strip searched. He was released on bail on 25 October.
Article 37(a) of the UNCRC states that no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment. Article 19 of the UNCRC provides that State Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence while in the care of any person who has the care of the child. In its General Comment No. 8, the Committee on the Rights of the Child indicated that “There is no ambiguity: ‘all forms of physical or mental violence’ does not leave room for any level of legalized violence against children”. Frequently documented acts of systematic ill-treatment of children, possibly rising to torture, during Israel’s military detention process, has led independent legal experts – funded by the UK Government – to conclude that Israel is in breach of Article 37(a) of the UNCRC.
Article 3(1) of the UNCRC obliges states to ensure that: ‘In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration’. Further, Article 37(b) of the UNCRC states that no child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily and that it shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. The continued arbitrary arrests and detention of children, and the physical abuse of children who have been detained, suggest that Israel is in breach of both the spirit and the letter of Article 3(1) and 37(b).
Please see LPHR’s briefing on Israel’s military of Palestinian children for an accessible analysis of material legal and human rights issues arising from Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children.
INTERFERENCE AGAINST EDUCATION
Infringements on education in the reporting period of 1 October- 31 December 2022 include:
UN OCHA reports that on 4 October, Israeli settlers, reportedly from Yitzhar, stormed the Urif school (Nablus) while classes were being held, and threw stones, forcing the administration to suspend school and evacuate the students to safety; two students and the school principal were injured, 250 students were otherwise affected, and damage to property was reported. Subsequently, Israeli forces shot teargas canisters at Palestinians who threw stones at settlers.
UN OCHA reports that in October, Israeli forces restricted the movement of thousands of Palestinians in several locations across the West Bank. The restrictions hindered the access to and functioning of essential services and livelihoods: pupils and teachers faced delays in reaching schools, teaching hours were reduced, and, in some areas, classes were cancelled.
UN OCHA reports that on 13 October, Israeli forces fired teargas canisters near a school, located 1,700 metres away from the perimeter fence, southeast of Gaza; three students were taken to hospital, and classes were suspended for the remainder of the day, affecting over 270 pupils.
UN OCHA reports that on 23 November, the Israeli authorities demolished the Isfey Al Faqua donor-funded school in Masafer Yatta southern Hebron, after the Israeli High Court of Justice cancelled a temporary injunction prohibiting demolition. The school served 21 students from three different communities. Isfey Al Fauqa is one of 13 herding communities located in an area designated by the Israeli military as a ‘Firing Zone 918’ in Masafer Yatta, home to around 1,150 Palestinians half of whom are children.
Article 28 of the UNCRC stipulates that education should be accessible to all children on the basis of equal opportunity, obliging Israel to ensure that children in the oPt have unrestricted access to education. The issuing and implementation of demolition orders against schools, and the intentional targeting or disregard for impacting upon educational establishments evidenced by the above-mentioned events, appear to clearly breach both the spirit and the letter of Article 28.
DEMOLITIONS & DISPLACEMENT
Demolitions and displacement remain a matter of huge concern. Data collected by UN OCHA records that at least 259 people, including 140 children (67 girls and 73 boys) were displaced by the demolition of 274 structures (38 of them donor funded) in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the reporting period of this bulletin.
Incidents of demolitions and displacement during the reporting period include:
B’Tselem reports that on 6 October, Israeli forces demolished the home of six people, including four children, in Kallet Taha, near the down of Deir Samit, west of Hebron. The forces fired in the air and threw stun grenades and tear gas canisters at local residents who protested the demolition, arresting two of them.
B’Tselem reports that on 27 October, Israeli forces obliged 41 Palestinians, including 27 children, to evacuate their homes in Khirbet Humsah al-Foqa (northern Jordan Valley) for four days, to make way of military training exercises near their homes.
B’Tselem reports that on 13 November, Israeli forces demolished three residential tents and left three families including seven children, homeless in the community of ‘Arab al-‘Anani wa al-Jabour, near the village of Deir Ballut in Salfit District. The community of ‘Arab al-‘Anani wa al-Jabour consists of seven families numbering 35 people in total, 17 of them children. The residents live permanently on the site, in tents, and live off shepherding. Their children attend school at Deir Ballut.
B’Tselem reports that on 14 November, Israeli forces demolished a shack that was home to a family of five, including three children and vandalized three solar panels and four generators belonging to the same family. The demolitions took place in the neighbourhood of a-Taybah in the town of Tarqumya.
B’Tselem reports that on 28 November, Israeli forces demolished the homes of two families of 16 people, including 12 children in the neighbourhood of Khallet al-‘Eidah in eastern Hebron.
B’Tselem reports that on 29 November, Israeli forces demolished two homes the area of Isteih in the village of ‘Ein a-Duyuk a-Tahta, in the southern Jordan Valley, leaving a family of five, three of them children, homeless.
B’Tselem reports that on 30 November, Israeli forces demolished three shacks, leaving 19 Palestinians, including 9 children, homeless. The demolitions took place in the community of Lifjim (al-Fajam), east of the village of ‘Aqraba in Nablus District.
B’Tselem reports that on 6 December, Israeli forces moved on to the community of Khirbet a-Safai al-Foqa, which is located in Masafer Yatta inside the area the military declared Firing Zone 918. The forces dismantled and confiscated two tents used as classrooms for the community’s schoolchildren following the demolition of their school two weeks earlier.
B’Tselem reports that on 8 December, Israeli forces dismantled and confiscated two shacks and two tents that were home to four families, displacing 27 people, including 16 children, in the community of Wadi a-Siq east of Ramallah. Israeli forces previously demolished the home of one of the families on 3 October 2022.
B’Tselem reports that on 13 December, Israeli forces demolished the home of a family of 12, including four children, leaving them homeless, in the village of al-Jiftlik (central Jordan Valley).
B’Tselem reports that in further demolitions the village of al-Jiftlik on 13 December, Israeli forces demolished the home of a family of 7, including three children, and a structure under construction belonging to another resident. A JCB heavy machinery vehicle is shown on video to be materially used in the dismantling of one of these structures.
B’Tselem reports that on 20 December, Israeli forces demolished six tents that were the seasonal homes of five families including 11 children in the community of Khirbet Wadi Ejheish (South Hebron Hills). The tents were donated to the families by the Red Crescent and the Palestinian Authority’s National Commission against the Wall and the Settlements after Israeli forces demolished their old tents on 25 October.
Article 27 of the UNCRC protects children’s right to a standard of living and seeks to ensure that this standard is adequate with respect to the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. The UNCRC further adds that State Parties are responsible for taking appropriate measures to provide assistance in respect to nutrition, clothing and housing. The actions of the Government of Israel in rendering children and their parents homeless and disrupting families’ livelihoods through demolitions of homes, clearly violates both the letter and the spirit of the UNCRC.
Article 18(2) of the UNCRC obliges State Parties to give appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities. Demolitions and subsequent forced displacement violate this right as it harms parents and legal guardians’ ability to fulfil their responsibilities of looking after and providing shelter for their children.
Article 16(1) of the UNCRC protects children’s rights to not be subject to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family and home and Article 16(2) entitles children to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. Demolitions affect this right as it physically displaces children from their family homes without first giving them access to a legal system through which they could effectively challenge such actions.