Key incidents outlined in this LPHR Child Rights Bulletin covering 11 January – 30 September 2022:
At least 39 Palestinian children were killed by use of force during the first nine months of 2022. 21 children were shot and killed by Israeli forces or armed civilians in the West Bank. A further 17 children were killed in Gaza during the three-day hostilities between 5-7 August.
Of the 17 Palestinian children killed in Gaza between 5-7 August, eight are reported to have been killed by Israeli military airstrikes, and five are reported to have been killed by rockets from the Palestinian armed group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The factual circumstances of four further child fatalities in Gaza are unconfirmed as of 17 October. The number of children killed (17) is precisely a third of all Palestinians killed (49) during the hostilities.
On 25 March, a 19-month-old infant from Gaza died from a cardiological condition after repeated requests to Israeli authorities to exit Gaza for essential medical treatment in al-Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem were unsuccessful.
On 24 August, a six-year-old child from Gaza died after Israeli authorities twice rejected his exit permit to access medical care at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.
560 children, are at risk of imminent forcible transfer from Masafer Yatta (in the South Hebron Hills, within Area C of the occupied West Bank) following an Israeli Supreme Court decision on 4 May 2022, that sanctioned the expulsion of all residents to make way for the area to be used for Israeli military training. Forcible transfer is contrary to international law and constitutes a war crime.
On several occasions since the start of the school year in August, Israeli authorities have disrupted the access of teachers and students to school in Masafer Yatta, where four schools operate, through fixed and flying checkpoints. All schools in the area are at risk of demolition by Israeli authorities.
A 13-year-old boy reports that Israeli soldiers repeatedly threatened to kill him and kept a rifle pointed at his head during an interrogation that lasted approximately two hours at Huwwara military base in the occupied West Bank.
A 15-year-old boy reports that an Israeli interrogator extinguished a lit cigarette on his arm and repeatedly physically assaulted him in Megiddo prison, situated in Israel.
Israeli settlers beat and abducted for two hours a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.
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), 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.
This bulletin concludes with a Further Reading section on the topic: Children in Gaza continue to be effectively denied access to critical medical treatment due to Israel’s closure policy.
For all our previous bulletins, please visit the Children’s Rights Project page of LPHR’s website.
LPHR gives special thanks to Jack Palmer for his excellent work preparing this bulletin.
Data collected by UN OCHA records that at least 39 Palestinian children were killed during the reporting period 11 January- 30 September. Of these, 21 children were shot and killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces or armed civilians. A further child aged seven-years-old was found dead in unclear circumstances on 29 September during military activity in the Bethlehem area.
17 children were killed in Gaza during the period 5-7 August. Of those killed in Gaza, eight were killed by Israeli military airstrikes. Five were killed by rockets from the Palestinian armed group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The circumstances of four deaths remain unclear. Outside of the period of active hostilities, two children in Gaza died from their medical condition after repeated applications for permits to exit Gaza for necessary medical treatment were unsuccessful.
DCIP reports that on 14 February, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Mohammad Akram Ali Taher Abu Salah in the village of Silat Al-Harithiya, in the West Bank. Israeli forces had entered the village at around 22:00 in order to demolish a house. Mohammed was shot through the eye by an Israeli sniper as he was running away from the site where protesters had gathered.
UN OCHA reports that on 22 February, Israeli forces shot and killed a 13-year-old Palestinian boy near Al Khadr village (Bethlehem). DCIP identified the child as Mohammed Rezq Shehadeh Salah. DCIP report that Mohammed was shot in the torso. DCIP reports that Israeli forces prevented a Palestinian ambulance from reaching Mohammad and that he was left on the ground for approximately half an hour before Israeli soldiers carried him away on a stretcher. An Israeli military statement alleged that Mohammad was throwing a Molotov cocktail at the time he was shot, according to Israeli media.
UN OCHA reports that on 6 March, Israeli forces shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy. UN OCHA reports that according to medical sources, the boy was shot in the head. DCIP have identified the boy as Yamen Nafez Mahmoud Khanafseh. DCIP report that Israeli forces prevented Yamen from receiving medical assistance by firing tear gas cannisters at the ambulance arriving at the scene. An Israeli military statement alleged that Yamen was throwing Molotov cocktails at the time he was shot, according to Israeli media. No Israeli injuries were reported. Yamen’s body was confiscated by the Israeli authorities after his death.
UN OCHA reports that on 15 March, a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed in Balata refugee camp. DCIP identified the boy as Nader Haitham Fathi Rayyan. DCIP report that after conducting an early morning raid on Balata refugee camp, Israeli forces withdrew in a convoy of armoured military vehicles. Nader and another boy passed the military convoy on a motorcycle, on their way to a relative’s cafe. When their motorcycle broke down, the two boys attempted to leave the area on foot. An Israeli soldier fired at least three bullets at them from inside his armoured vehicle. B’Tselem reports that Nader was shot in the back and injured. Then Israeli soldiers pursued the boys on foot, firing further shots, killing Nader. B’Tselem reports that a forensic examination of the body revealed that Rayan was shot at least eight times in the front, including in the head and chest, and three more times from behind. UN OCHA reports that Israeli sources allege Nader was shot after shooting at Israeli forces but that initial investigations by human rights organisations dispute this. B’Tselem reports that Israeli forces initially claimed that Nader fired a revolver, later alleging that the boy aimed a revolver at Israeli forces; the police did not find a revolver.
B’Tselem reports that on 25 March, 19-month-old Fatimah al-Masri died from a cardiological condition after repeated applications to the Israeli authorities for permission to exit Gaza for essential medical treatment in a hospital in East Jerusalem were unsuccessful.
UN OCHA reports that on 31 March, Israeli forces shot and killed two unarmed Palestinians and injured another twenty during a search-and-arrest operation in Jenin. One of the two killed was a 16-year-old boy. DCIP identified the boy as Sanad Mohammad Khalil Abu Atiya. DCIP report that Sanad was killed as he attempted to approach and render aid to 22-year-old Yazeed al-Saadi who had been shot in the back of the head.
UN OCHA reports that on 9 April, Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians in Jenin camp, killing one man and injuring another ten, including a child who succumbed to his wounds two days later. DCIP identified the child as 16-year-old Mohammad Hussein Mohammad Qassim. Mohammad was reportedly shot in the abdomen from a distance of approximately four feet without warning by an Israeli soldier firing bullets from a military vehicle’s rear window. Mohammad was running along behind the Israeli convoy that was departing Jenin, reportedly looking for stones to throw at the military vehicle.
UN OCHA reports that on 13 and 14 April, Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians and injured a further six in Kafr Dan during search and arrest operations. One of those injured was a 17-year-old who succumbed to his wounds. DCIP identified the child as Shawkat Kamal Shawkat Abed. Following clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths during the raiding of Palestinian homes by soldiers, Shawkat was shot in the abdomen from the rear window of a departing Israeli military vehicle. DCIP reports that an Israeli soldier was firing indiscriminately at Palestinians from a distance of approximately 25 metres. DCIP reports that Shawkat’s injuries appear to have been caused by an exploding bullet.
UN OCHA reports that on 14 April, a 14-year-old boy was killed at entrance of Husan, Bethlehem, when youths were throwing stones at Israeli forces positioned at the entrance to the village and Israeli forces fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas cannisters. DCIP identified the child as Qusai Fuad Mohammad Hamamra. Qusai suffered multiple gunshot wounds, including at least one to the head. DCIP report that Israeli forces prevented Palestinian paramedics from treating Qusai. According to Israeli media, the Israeli military allege that Qusai had thrown a Molotov cocktail before he was shot.
UN OCHA reports that on 8 May, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy was shot in the eye and killed by an Israeli security guard in the Israeli settlement of Tekoa (Bethlehem). DCIP identifies the boy as Motasem Mohammad Taleb Atallah. The Israeli authorities allege the boy climbed over the perimeter fence into the settlement and was seen holding a knife. No Israeli injuries were reported in the incident.
UN OCHA reports that on 11 May, Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old boy in Al Bireh (Ramallah) as students were leaving their school nearby. Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces, who shot live ammunition, hitting the schoolboy in the chest, as well as another boy who was injured. Witnesses say neither child was involved in the stone throwing. No Israeli injuries were reported in the incidents. DCIP identifies the boy as Thaer Khalil Mohammad Maslat.
UN OCHA reports that Israeli forces conducted a search-and-arrest operation in Jenin and exchanged fire with armed Palestinians, killing a boy. DCIP reports that 16-year-old Amjad Walid Hussein Fayed was shot in the chest with live ammunition on 21 May. Israeli forces in military vehicles were deployed on a road opposite Al-Anbar roundabout. Reportedly, Amjad and another Palestinian youth approached and threw a Molotov cocktail at one of the vehicles, about 20 meters away. Israeli soldiers outside the vehicles shot Amjad, who sustained multiple gunshot wounds.
UN OCHA reports that on 24 May, Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, near Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus city. DCIP reports that Ghaith Mohammad Rafiq Ziad Yamin was shot in the head with live ammunition after Israeli forces and settlers entered the area. It is reported that Israeli forces allege that the boy was throwing a Molotov cocktail; this claim has not been verified.
UN OCHA reports that on 27 May, Israeli forces shot and killed a 14-year-old boy near Al Khader village (Bethlehem). DCIP identifies the boy as Zaid Mohammad Said Ghunaim, reporting that he was shot in the shoulder with live ammunition from a distance of 15–20 metres as he fled from the area where Israeli forces were deployed, near his home. UN OCHA reports that the Israeli military allege the boy was throwing Molotov cocktails; while according to eyewitnesses, he was not involved in any clashes. During the boy’s funeral procession, three Palestinians, including one child, were shot and injured with live ammunition during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians.
UN OCHA reports that on 2 June, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian boy in Al Midya, Ramallah. DCIP reports that 16-year-old Odeh Mohammad Odeh Sadaqa was shot in the back with live ammunition by Israeli forces at approximately 16:00. Odeh was walking with two friends about 100 metres from his home when Israeli forces deployed in the area opened fire on them. As they attempted to flee, Odeh was shot. It is reported that Israeli military sources allege that the boy threw a Molotov cocktail before being shot. No Israeli injuries were reported.
UN OCHA reports that on 24 June, Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy at the entrance of Silwad (Ramallah). According to Palestinian sources, no clashes or injuries were reported at the time, however, Israeli sources report that the boy was a suspected of throwing stones at Israeli vehicles. DCIP identified the boy as 16-year-old, Mohammad Abdallah Salah Suleiman.
UN OCHA reports that on 29 July, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was shot in the back with live ammunition and killed in Al Mughayyir village (Ramallah), after a group of armed settlers raided an area where Palestinians were protesting settlement activities. Settlers attacked Palestinians who threw stones and Israeli forces intervened by shooting. DCIP reports that Amjad Nashat Faheem Naser was shot at around 11:30am, while he and other protesters were fleeing. It remains unclear whether an Israeli soldier or armed Israeli settler fired the fatal round; both were firing live ammunition.
DCIP reports that 16-year-old Dirar Riyad Lufti Al-Haj Saleh was shot in the back with live ammunition by Israeli forces at around 22:35 on 1 August during an Israeli military incursion into Jenin refugee camp. UN OCHA reports that the incursion saw exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and armed Palestinians, and that Islamic Jihad claimed the boy as an affiliate.
DCIP reports that on 5 August, 10-year-old Layan Mosleh Hamdi Al-Shaer was injured by Israeli military shelling near Khan Younis in Gaza. Layan suffered a critical head injury. Four days later, on 9 August, she was transferred to a hospital in Jerusalem, where her family was not permitted to accompany her. She died on 11 August.
DCIP reports that on 5 August, 5-year-old Alaa Abdullah Riyad Qaddoum was killed in an Israeli military airstrike in the Shuja’iyya neighbourhood of Gaza City. The airstrike hit a group of people gathered outside a mosque in the neighborhood. Alaa’s six-year-old brother was injured in the same attack.
DCIP reports that on 6 August, 13-year-old Mohammad Iyad Hassouna was killed in an Israeli military airstrike on Rafah refugee camp, in Gaza. An Israeli warplane apparently targeted a three-storey residential building without warning, firing at least six rockets, destroying eight homes with families still inside, killing seven people, and injuring another 35 people, including 18 children.
DCIP reports that on 6 August, four Palestinian children were killed by a rocket from a Palestinian armed group in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The explosion killed five-year-old Momen Mohammad Ahmad Al-Nayrab, 11-year-old Ahmad Mohammad Ahmad Al-Nayrab, 9-year-old Hazem Mohammad Ali Salem, and 16-year-old Ahmad Waleed Ahmad Al-Farram. The explosion injured 26 other children. The Palestinian armed group responsible for this rocket attack has been identified as Palestinian Islamic Jihad by independent reporting in Gaza.
DCIP reports that on 7 August, an Israeli military drone-fired missile struck Al-Fallujah cemetery, in the northern Gaza Strip, killing five Palestinian children: 3-year-old Jameel Najmuddin Jameel Najim, 16-year-old Hamed Heidar Hamed Najim, 13-year-old Jameel Ihab Jameel Najim, 16-year-old Mohammad Salah Hamed Najim, and 15-year-old Nathmi Fayez Abdulhadi Abu Karsh.
DCIP reports that on 8 August, 10-year-old Haneen Waleed Mohammad Abu Qaida succumbed to wounds sustained on 6 August, when a rocket fired by a Palestinian armed group struck a nearby vehicle as she stood near the doorway to her home in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. The explosion injured five other children. The Palestinian armed group responsible for this rocket attack is likely to be Palestinian Islamic Jihad based on relevant independent reporting in Gaza.
DCIP reports that 15-year-old Fatima Ayed Abdulfattah Obaid was killed in an explosion in northern Gaza on 7 August. DCIP is still investigating the source of this explosion, which they report coincided with Israeli military drones flying over the areas as well as launches of rockets from Palestinian armed groups.
DCIP reports that three Palestinian children were killed in an explosion on 7 August, which struck a family home in Al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza. The three children killed were: 14-year-old Dalia, 12-year-old Mohammad, and 9-year-old Ahmed Yasser Nemer Nabaheen. DCIP is still investigating the source of this explosion, which they report coincided with Israeli military drones flying over the areas as well as launches of rockets from Palestinian armed groups.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights reports that a six-year-old child, Farouq Mohammed Abu Naja, with a developmental regression condition, died after he was twice denied access to medical care at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. Both patient exit permit requests submitted to Israeli authorities on 12 January 2022 and 10 August 2022 remained under review.
UN OCHA and DCIP report that Israeli forces fatally shot two 16-year-old boys in Nablus on 9 August. 16-year-old Hussein Jamal Hussein Taha was shot in the lower abdomen with live ammunition by Israeli forces as the Israeli military stormed the old city in Nablus. Hussein was on his way to shop for groceries with his father and 13-year-old brother when he was shot. Later the same day, 16-year-old Momen Yasin Mohammad Joude Jaber was shot in the chest with live ammunition, during a protest against the Israeli military raid in Nablus.
UN OCHA reports that on 8 September, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy was fatally shot by Israeli forces after reportedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier near Beit El/DCO checkpoint in Ramallah. DCIP reports that Haitham Hani Mohammad Mubarak was shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces.
UN OCHA reports that a 17-year-old boy was fatally shot by Israeli forces during an Israeli military raid on Kafr Dan (Jenin) on 15 September. DCIP identifies the boy as Odai Trad Hisham Salah, reporting that he was shot in the head and chest. During the raid, Israeli forces fired live ammunition and teargas canisters at residents who threw stones.
UN OCHA reports that a 7-year-old child, Rayyan Suleiman, died during a military activity carried out by Israeli forces in a Tuqu’ (Bethlehem) on 29 September. The circumstances of the death are unclear. The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process has called for an investigation into the circumstances of the boy’s death.
Article 6(1) of the UNCRC provides that every child has the inherent right to life. The above-mentioned cases of fatal use of live-fire 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. Mohammad Hussein Mohammad Qassim and as Shawkat Kamal Shawkat Abed were reportedly both fatally shot from departing Israeli convoys. Sanad Mohammad Khalil Abu was reportedly attempting to render first aid. Nader Haitham Fathi Rayyan was shot in the back when fleeing.
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 appear to frequently 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 occupied 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.
In the context of the hostilities in Gaza between 5-7 August 2022, which caused the deaths of 17 Palestinian children, it is imperative to emphasise that in situations of armed conflict, all parties to the conflict, including all state and non-state actors, are bound by the applicable rules of international humanitarian law found under customary international law. Accordingly, Israel and the Palestinian armed group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whom were parties to the August hostilities, were bound alike by the relevant rules of customary international law, including those applicable to the conduct of hostilities.
The main customary international law principles on the conduct of hostilities are:
- The principle of distinction requires that parties to a conflict distinguish between civilians and civilian objects on the one hand, and combatants and military objectives on the other. Attacks may only be directed against the latter. In order for an object or building to be considered a military objective it must meet two cumulative criteria namely that (1) by its nature, location, purpose or use it makes an effective contribution to military action and, (2) the object’s total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
- The principle of proportionality prohibits attacks that are expected to cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
- The principle of precautions in attack requires all parties to take all feasible measures to avoid and in any event to minimize incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. This includes: verifying that the target is a military objective and that the attack respects the proportionality requirement; choosing weapons and timing for the attack with a view to avoiding or minimizing civilian casualties; issuing advance warnings when feasible; and suspending an attack if it becomes apparent that it does not respect the principle of proportionality.
The aforementioned cases of 17 children being killed in Gaza as a direct result of Israeli military airstrikes and Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket attacks raise a clear concern that serious breaches of these fundamental international humanitarian law principles may have occurred. An effective investigation should be undertaken into the circumstances of these killings as part of the International Criminal Court’s current investigation into the Situation in Palestine, so to ensure that legal accountability is genuinely pursued, rather than denied, for these child victims and their families.
UN OCHA records that at least 866 Palestinian children were injured during the reporting period, the majority by Israeli forces in the West Bank. These injuries were caused by tear gas inhalation, rubber bullets (all types), live ammunition, physical assault, tear gas canisters (hit by) and other unspecified weapons. Many of the injuries occurred during Israeli military search and arrest operations across the West Bank, as well as during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in East Jerusalem. At least 151 children were injured in Gaza during Israeli military airstrikes and Palestinian Islamic Jihad firing of rockets during the period 5-7 August.
Injury incidents from 11 January- 30 September 2022 include:
UN OCHA reports that between 11-24 January, at least 6 children were amongst the 46 people injured in three incidents in Nablus where Israeli settlers raided and attacked Palestinian communities, following which stone-throwing with Palestinians ensued, and Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets.
UN OCHA reports that in March, a 15-year-old boy in Gaza was injured by the explosion of an unexploded ordnance which he found on the ground. The boy sustained serious injuries, necessitating the amputation of his hand. 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 15 and 17 April, Israeli forces raided the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and used force to evacuate Palestinians. Israeli forces reportedly shot stun grenades, sponge-tipped bullets and beat Palestinians with batons, including children, women, journalists and others who were demonstrably not involved in any stone-throwing. A total of 180 Palestinians, including 27 children, were injured.
UN OCHA reports that on six occasions between 19 April- 9 May, Israeli police carried out operations in and around the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. Israeli forces reportedly shot stun grenades, sponge-tipped bullets, and teargas cannisters, and beat Palestinians with batons, including children, women, and journalists. 15 children were injured. These operations followed three consecutive weeks of almost daily raids by Israeli forces to evacuate Palestinian worshippers to secure the entry of Israelis into the compound.
UN OCHA reports that onn 29 May, nine children were among the 87 Palestinians injured by rubber bullets and stun grenades during clashes that occurred when thousands of Israeli settlers and other Israelis marched through East Jerusalem during the annual “Jerusalem Day,” which commemorates the Israeli capture of East Jerusalem in 1967. The Israeli authorities deployed thousands of police and installed metal barriers outside the Damascus Gate, blocking Palestinian access in and out of the Old City of Jerusalem.
UN OCHA reports that on 7 June, in the middle area of Gaza Strip, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy sustained injuries when an explosive remnant of war (ERW) went off while he was handling it. 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 at least 151 children were injured in Gaza during Israeli military airstrikes and Palestinian Islamic Jihad firing of rockets during the period 5-7 August. Injury incidents reported by UN OCHA include an Israeli military airstrike on a three-storey residential building on 6 August, which injured 18 children (this incident is referred to in the above fatalities section).
UN OCHA reports that in September, a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old boy were injured by the detonation of an unexploded ordnance, after tampering with a munition they found while collecting scrap east of Khan Yunis, Gaza. 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 between 13-26 September, 175 Palestinians, including at least 29 children, were injured by Israeli forces across the West Bank. Injury incidents occurred across the West Bank, including at demonstrations against settlements and the closure of a Palestinian village’s entrance by Israeli forces, attacks by Israeli settlers, and Israeli military search and arrest operations in Palestinian communities.
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 11 January – 30 September 2022 include:
UN OCHA reports that between 11-24 January, at least six children were amongst the 46 people injured in three incidents in Nablus where Israeli settlers raided and attacked Palestinian communities, following which stone-throwing with Palestinians ensued, and Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets.
UN OCHA reports that on 3 February, Israeli settlers attacked and pepper sprayed a 14-year old boy whilst he was shepherding sheep near the Israeli settlement of Havat Gal in Hebron.
B’Tselem reports that on 8 February in the al-Qanub area (Hebron District), around 10 settlers arrived at the home of 10 Palestinians, which included six children. Further settlers, some of them armed with clubs and axes, arrived. The settlers stoned and beat the father of the family, while his wife and children fled. Such incidents, likely to traumatise children and their families, are not unusual. During a campaign of settler violence over the last two years that has contributed to a relentlessly coercive environment for Palestinians resident in Area C of the occupied West Bank, the number of Palestinian families in the al-Qanub area has decreased by almost half.
UN OCHA reports that settlers injured two children between 19 April-9 May, including a four-year-old, who was injured when stones were thrown at Palestinian vehicles.
UN OCHA reports that on 22 May, a 15-year-old boy was beaten and abducted by settlers near Esh Kosdeh settlement (Nablus) for two hours, before he was handed over to an ambulance and taken to the hospital for medical treatment.
UN OCHA reports that between 14- 27 June, settlers injured two children. One injury occurred when settlers attacked Palestinian farmers working on their land. The other injury occurred on 15 June, when Israeli settlers physically assaulted and pepper-sprayed family members sitting in a car that stopped in an Israeli flying checkpoint near Duma (Nablus), injuring a two-month-old baby.
UN OCHA reports that in August, a 16-year-old boy was injured when Israeli settlers attacked him with stones and physically assaulted him.
UN OCHA reports that a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was physically assaulted and injured by an Israeli settler in the H2 area of Hebron in August.
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 11 January- 30 September 2022, UN OCHA reports that Israeli forces conducted 2,001 search-and-arrest operations across the West Bank, arresting 2,374 Palestinians, including at least 119 children. In addition, children are frequently arrested during terrifying night-time raids on the family home of the child by Israel’s forces. Nine further children were arrested while fishing off the shore of Gaza, and seven were arrested near the perimeter fence separating Gaza and Israel.
As of 30 September 2022, Military Court Watch reports that there are 129 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).
Arrest and detention incidents in the reporting period include:
DCIP reports that on 8 February, Israeli forces repeatedly threatened to kill a 13-year-old boy while interrogating him at Huwwara military base in the occupied West Bank. A rifle was kept pointed at the boy’s head during his interrogation, which lasted approximately two hours. The boy was detained by a soldier while on his way home from a grocery shop. The boy was not charged with any offence but was asked to act as an informant.
DCIP reports that on 22 February, an Israeli interrogator extinguished a lit cigarette on a 15-year-old during an interrogation in Megiddo prison in Israel. The boy was repeatedly physically assaulted. The boy was accused of throwing stones, which he denies. In March, the child was released after paying a fine.
UN OCHA reports that in February, Israeli forces arrested three children who were fishing off the northern Gaza shore, confiscating their boat, before releasing all of them.
B’Tselem reports that on 6 March, Israeli police arrested a 9-year-old and a 13-year-old boy, purportedly for throwing stones at vehicles. The mother of the 13-year-old boy was denied permission to accompany him during his interrogation. The 9-year-old boy was released upon the signing of documents in Hebrew, which his mother was unable to understand.
B’Tselem reports that on 28 March, soldiers arrested and assaulted a 13-year-old boy with an intellectual disability. A group of about eight Palestinian teens used lasers to provoke soldiers and Special Police Unit officers who were at the entrance to their village in Ramallah. The teens then fled and Israeli forces chased them in a vehicle, capturing the 13-year-old boy. They assaulted him, tied his hands, blindfolded him and took him away. After approximately two hours, the officers brought him back to the entrance to the village and released him there, handcuffed and blindfolded, before later arriving at his home and arresting and beating two of his relatives.
UN OCHA reports that on 15 April, 60 children were among the hundreds of Palestinian arrested when Israeli forces raided the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem, forcibly evacuating Palestinians.
UN OCHA reports that between 19 April- 9 May, three children were arrested while fishing off the coast of Gaza. Since 2007, Israel has maintained a severe closure policy on Gaza, which includes restrictions on fishing off the coast of the Gaza Strip.
UN OCHA reports that on 16 May, children were among the 18 Palestinians arrested in the cemetery near the Old City of Jerusalem, at the funeral of a Palestinian man. Israeli forces restricted the access of Palestinian mourners to the funeral procession and shot rubber bullets at an ambulance carrying the deceased’s body. During the procession, Israeli forces confiscated Palestinian flags and assaulted mourners. Palestinians reportedly shot firecrackers at Israeli police officers, who responded with stun grenades.
B’Tselem reports that on 1 June, Israeli soldiers detained a 13-year-old girl, claiming she had held a knife while standing on the steps of her house, reportedly following an allegation made by an Israeli settler. The girl, who denied the accusation, was led by soldiers, without her parents, to a nearby street, where she was questioned for approximately 15 minutes before being released.
B’Tselem reports that on 25 June, Israeli soldiers detained a six-year-old boy and detained and beat a 13-year-old boy. The incident occurred in Kisan, a village in Bethlehem. The six-year-old’s mother, along with neighbours and relatives, tried to free her son, but soldiers hurled stun grenades at them to keep them away. Soldiers also beat a 13-year-old boy who was visiting the village, threatening to arrest him and demanding he provide the names of villagers who had participated in a protest. Both boys were held for about an hour.
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 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 11 January- 30 September 2022 include:
UN OCHA reports that on 18 January, Israeli forces raided a school in Deir Nidham village (Ramallah) and physically assaulted and arrested two 17-year-old students, reportedly for throwing stones. According to the principal, Israeli forces damaged school windows, chairs and tables, during physical confrontations between school staff, students and Israeli forces. Classes were suspended for the remainder of the day, affecting over 210 pupils.
UN OCHA records that on 9 and 21 February, Israeli settlers gathered to protest stone throwing in Al Lubban ash Sharqiya (Nablus) and Palestinian residents responded with stone throwing. Israeli forces then fired tear gas cannisters, some of which landed in the compound of two schools. Two students were hospitalised for tear gas inhalation treatment and at least 700 students were affected by the disruption of their studies.
UN OCHA reports that two donor-funded schools are at risk of demolition in southern Hebron and Ramallah. On 3 August, the Israeli civil administration issued a final demolition order against two rooms that are part of a school in Mantiqat Shi’b al Butum, south of Hebron. The school was built in 2015 through a donor-funded project and serves children from a large number of communities.
UN OCHA reports that on 10 August, an Israeli court ordered the immediate demolition of a donor-funded school in the herding community of Ein Samiya, northeast of Ramallah, affecting about 17 students. The school is now at imminent threat of demolition.
UN OCHA reports that on several occasions since the start of the school year, Israeli authorities have disrupted the access of teachers and students to school in Masafer Yatta, where four schools operate, through fixed and flying checkpoints. All schools in the area are at risk of demolition by Israeli authorities. On 30 August, Israeli forces stopped a school bus carrying pupils to Al Fakhiet school, forcing at least 30 children to walk a long distance to school. The next day, nine Jinba school teachers were stopped by Israeli forces at a flying checkpoint and forced to continue by foot.
UN OCHA reports that on 31 August, Israeli settlers 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; 250 students were affected, and damage was reported to the school.
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 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 736 people, including at least 356 children (156 girls and 200 boys) were displaced by the demolition of 647 structures (90 of them donor funded) in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the reporting period of this bulletin.
Additionally, UN OCHA reports that during Israeli military airstrikes on Gaza and the firing of rockets by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, 1,761 housing units in Gaza sustained damage. 450 people (number of children unknown) were displaced.
Incidents of demolitions and displacement during the reporting period include:
UN OCHA records that between 11-24 January, Israeli forces forcibly evicted 51 people of which 21 were children in East Jerusalem. Amongst the over 20 structures destroyed were homes, animal shelters and water cisterns.
UN OCHA reports that on multiple occasions between 9-11 February, Israeli forces forced families, including at least 17 children, to evacuate their homes in the Jordan Valley to make way for Israeli military training exercises.
UN OCHA reports that between 22 February- 7 March, Israeli authorities demolished, confiscated or forced owners to demolish 27 Palestinian homes and buildings in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 50 people, including 22 children.
UN OCHA reports that on 7 March, Israeli forces conducted punitive demolitions of two homes in Silat al Harthiya in Jenin, displacing 12 people, including 6 children. The targeted structures were home to the families of two Palestinians prosecuted for killing an Israeli settler in 2021.
UN OCHA reports that on 4 May, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the petition filed by 12 Palestinian herding communities of Masafer Yatta (South Hebron Hills) against the Israeli military’s decision to use 30,000 dunums of their land as an active ‘firing zone.’ The decision allows for the eviction of about 1,200 Palestinians, including 560 children, whom are now at risk of imminent forcible transfer, contrary to international law.
UN OCHA reports that 42 children are at risk of displacement following the Israeli authorities’ delivery of a final demolition order to the owners of a residential building, comprising 12 housing units, in Wadi Qaddum in the Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem on 25 May.
UN OCHA reports that between 14- 27 June, six children were displaced when the Israeli authorities demolished, confiscated or forced people to demolish 39 Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, citing the lack of Israeli-issued building permits; nine of the structures had been provided as donor-funded humanitarian aid. Some 36 of the targeted structures were in Area C, including 19 structures in Ibziq area which is designated as a ‘firing zone’ for military training, and where Palestinian communities are at risk of forcible transfer
UN OCHA reports that between 28 June- 18 July, 21 children were displaced when the Israeli authorities demolished, confiscated, or forced people to demolish 51 Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank. Some 47 of the targeted structures were in Area C, including two structures in southern Hebron areas which are designated as ‘firing zones’ for military training, and where Palestinian communities are at risk of forcible transfer.
UN OCHA reports that between 19 July- 1 August, 17 children were displaced when the Israeli authorities demolished, confiscated, or forced people to demolish 38 Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank. 36 of the targeted structures were in Area C, including one home in Umm Qussa Bedouin community in the South Hebron Hills, an area which is designated as ‘firing zone’ for military training, and where Palestinian communities are at risk of forcible transfer.
UN OCHA reports that on 25 July, 10 children were displaced when Israeli forces carried out punitive demolitions in Qarawat Bani Hassan (Salfit) village of two homes of Palestinians whose family members were accused of killing an Israeli settlement guard in April 2022.
UN OCHA reports that on 8 August, Israeli forces raided Rummana (Jenin) village, in Area B, and demolished on punitive grounds two multi-storey homes of families whose members are indicted of killing three people and injuring three others in Israel in May 2022. The displaced families comprise 13 people, including four children.
UN OCHA reports that between 2-15 August, the Israeli authorities demolished, confiscated, or forced people to demolish 50 Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, displacing 55 people, including 28 children.
UN OCHA reports that between 16-29 August, the Israeli authorities demolished, confiscated, or forced people to demolish 55 Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, displacing 61 people, including 31 children.
UN OCHA reports that between 30 August- 12 September, the Israeli authorities demolished, confiscated, or forced people to demolish 44 Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, displacing 29 people, including ten children.
UN OCHA reports that between 13- 26 September, the Israeli authorities demolished or confiscated 45 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank, displacing 21 people, including 13 children.
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 challenge such actions.
Children in Gaza continue to be effectively denied access to critical medical treatment due to Israel’s closure policy
In March, B’Tselem reported that 19-month-old Fatimah al-Masri died from a cardiological condition after repeated applications to the Israeli authorities for permission to exit Gaza for essential medical treatment in a hospital in East Jerusalem were unsuccessful, remaining “under review” for months. A few months later, in August, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights reported that a six-year-old child, Farouq Mohammed Abu Naja, with a developmental regression condition, died after he was twice denied access to medical care at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child protects the fundamental rights to life and to health. However, these basic rights are being systematically violated in Gaza, with recurring documented examples of children being effectively deprived of access to urgent medical care, with grave consequences, due to Israel’s implementation of its closure policy.
At the end of May, B’Tselem reported that three sisters, aged 10, 15 and 21 were still waiting to be allowed to exit Gaza for medical treatment, following repeated delays and denials of permission to leave. The report states that the sisters have conditions that cause irreversible kidney damage and that going without medical treatment is dangerous. As the healthcare system in Gaza cannot provide the medical treatment they need, the sisters have to travel to hospitals in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) to receive it.
Since August 2021, the two elder sisters have been referred for treatment at hospitals in East Jerusalem. They repeatedly applied to the Israeli authorities for permits but have not received them. In 2022, the youngest sister applied for a permit for an appointment at an East Jerusalem hospital. The first request for a permit in her name went unanswered. Following the second request, she was informed that she would be permitted to enter Israel, but her mother would not be allowed to go with her. The nature of the condition precludes travel alone.
These deeply tragic cases are emblematic of the grave consequences that foreseeably ensue when a policy is implemented to severely deprive fundamental rights on a widespread basis. The closure of Gaza must end.