Vulnerable demographics, such as children, are specially affected by the ongoing rise in Israeli settler and military violence against Palestinian communities.
Since the military occupation of Palestine began in 1967, Israel has continuously built and expanded settlements, military zones, and other Israeli-controlled areas in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
Around 400,000 Israelis live in 130 government-approved and 100 illegal settlements in the West Bank as of 30 January 2020, with an additional 200,000 Israelis living in 12 communities in East Jerusalem.
For all Palestinians, the intervention of Israel’s military and settler establishment has created a dangerous setting. Vulnerable demographics, such as children, are especially affected by the ongoing rise in settler and military violence against Palestinian communities.
Often, settler attacks include crowds of Israeli men throwing stones at Palestinians, many of whom are children, or vandalizing property such as houses, vehicles, churches, mosques, and schools. Beatings and shootings, which sometimes lead to injuries and deaths, also frequently occurs.
In the occupied Palestinian territories, Israeli military brutality against Palestinians, including children, is pervasive. According to a study published by Amnesty International, more than 1,500 Palestinian children in the West Bank were wounded by “arms other than live fire” between January 2011 and December 2013. It went on to state that during the same time span, at least 67 children were “shot and seriously wounded by live bullets fired by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.”
Thousands of Palestinian children have grown up under Israel’s oppressive military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza for the past seven decades. These children live in constant fear of their homes being demolished, or of Israeli soldiers and settlers bullying, imprisoning, harming, or killing them, their parents, or siblings. Many Palestinian children in the occupied territories are forced to live in a state of desperation and hopelessness.
In 2016, Israeli soldiers and civilians killed 32 Palestinian children. Just one incident ended in an indictment, indicating that responsibility for such crimes is almost a dream.
During the three-week Gaza War in the winter of 2008–2009, 318 Palestinian children were killed, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights believes the number of children fatality in that war was 355. Amnesty International registered 300 victims among Palestinian children.
During Israel’s 50-day attack on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, at least 540 Palestinian children were killed and over 3,000 were wounded.
After the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in 2014, which destroyed 20,000 homes and hundreds of schools, half a million Gazans lost their homes; Since Gaza was kept under blockade, reconstruction was insignificant. Children make up half of Gaza’s population.
Just in 2016, the homes of around 800 children in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were destroyed. The Israeli occupation has resulted in the destruction of tens of thousands of homes since 1967.
Children under the age of 12 are not supposed to be arrested under Israeli military law, despite the fact that they are often detained.
In 2015, 136 children aged 7 to 11 were arrested. Children are often arrested while frightening night raids occurs. The parents have no idea where they are being taken or when they will return.
They are forcibly carried into Israel from occupied territories, and as a result, they barely see their families; in order to reach Israel, parents must receive a visa.
500 to 700 Palestinian children are put before Israeli Military Trials annually. Israel is the only country in the world that prosecutes children in military trials; only Palestinian children. Besides, the constitutional right to a fair hearing is never protected by these trials.
Throwing stones is the most frequent allegation directed against Palestinian children. The army describes a stone as a dangerous weapon like a bullet. in 2015, Israel extended the overall penalty, for stoning, to 20 years!