For immediate release

1 April 2002
 

ref: 003/02
 


PALESTINIAN CHILDREN TARGETED BY ISRAELI MILITARY SIEGE:

DCI/PS CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION


DCI/PS urges the international community to immediately intervene to

protect Palestinian children currently under siege by the Israeli

military.  Thousands of Palestinian civilians are currently facing a

dire humanitarian crisis.  The Israeli army has severed electricity

and water lines to entire Palestinian cities.  Ambulances and medical

personnel are repeatedly being denied access to injured Palestinians.

Families are prisoners in their own homes, many faced with the threat

of being shot by Israeli soldiers and snipers should they venture

outdoors. Many are either running low on food or have exhausted their

food supply.  Palestinian males, including boys as young as 14, are

being rounded up and detained.  Israeli soldiers have taken over

numerous private homes, destroying personal property, physically

abusing residents and traumatizing children.
 

The Israeli government and its army repeatedly assert that the

purpose of the ongoing invasions into Palestinian cities, villages,

and refugee camps is to arrest "terrorists."  Over and over again,

Israeli officials have stressed that civilians are not the target of

the operations and that no harm is intended towards them. Similarly,

throughout the 18 months of the current Intifada, the Israeli

government has repeatedly denied that its military policies in the

occupied territories target Palestinian children, who constitute 53%

of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
 

Given the frequent absence of critical examination of Israeli

military actions, DCI/PS would like to stress the obvious:
 

-It is impossible that children are not being targeted when the

Israeli army is repeatedly attacking civilian areas and forbidding

the population to leave their homes, particularly when children

constitute 53% of the population.
 

-It is impossible that children are not being be targeted when

schools and houses are being hit with heavy artillery.
 

-It is particularly impossible that children are not being targeted

when they are being rounded up and detained.
 

Israel's policies of collective punishment do not discriminate on the

basis of age, sex or location. If the practical results of Israel's

occupation policies are examined, then it becomes clear that every

Palestinian is a legitimate target according to Israeli practice.
 

The fact sheet included below highlights the range of child rights

violations which have occurred in the last 18 months alone as a

direct result of the Israeli occupation.
 

As a child rights organization active for nearly a decade, Defence

for Children International/ Palestine Section is astonished by the

impunity with which Israel has treated Palestinian children over the

last decade and the lack of political will on behalf of the

international community to tackle Israel's gross and persistent

violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
 

After years of consistent, state-sponsored child rights violations,

there is no excuse for inaction.
 

DCI/PS calls on the international community to intervene and demand

an immediate halt to Israel's siege on the occupied territories and

an end to the Israeli occupation. Please address letters of protest

to the following individuals:
 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Mrs. Mary Robinson

OHCHR

Tel. ++41 22 917 9000

Fax. ++41 22 917 9012/9006/9005

E-mail webadmin.hchr@unog.ch
 

Israeli Prime Minister

Ariel Sharon

Office of the Prime Minister

Tel: ++972 2 6705555

Fax: ++972 2 566 4838

Email: pm@gov.il
 

President, European Commission

(Romano Prodi)

European Commission

200 rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200

B-1049 Brussels

Belgium

E-mail: Presidentsregister@cec.eu.int
 

US President

George Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Phone: ++1-202 456 1414

Fax: ++1-202 456 2461

Email: president@whitehouse.gov
 
 

DCI/PS FACT SHEET:

Violations of Palestinian Childrenís Rights

Stemming from the Israeli Occupation
 
 

- Since September 2000, DCI/PS field research has recorded the deaths

of over 230 Palestinian children (under the age of 18) as a direct

result of the Israeli occupation:  more than 25 thus far in 2002, 98

in 2001, and 105 in 2000. More than 1/3 of children killed in the

year 2001 were under the age of 12.
 

- At least 17 Palestinian children have been killed as a result of

Israelís policy of extra judicial killings of Palestinian activists.
 

- The percentage of Palestinian children killed under the age of

thirteen doubled from the year 2000 to the year 2001.
 

- According to DCI/PS fieldwork, of the 98 children killed directly

by Israeli soldiers or settlers in the year 2001, 56 of those killed

were not participating in a demonstration or any form of

confrontation at the time of their death.
 

- Of the 42 children killed during clashes, only 26 of them were

actually participating in clashes at the time according to DCI/PS

documentation. The remaining 16 were passing nearby.
 

- Of the total 98 children killed in 2001, 39 were killed inside

their houses, on the way to school, or in school.
 

- DCI/PS estimates that over 7,000 Palestinian children have been

injured since September 2000.

A DCI/PS sample of 3,750 injuries from 2001 indicates that more than

1/5 were to the upper part of the body (head, chest, eye, neck and

back). Twenty-four percent (24%) of children who were injured were

shot by live ammunition. Nearly 40% of children injured were 12 years

old or younger (39.73%).Twenty-seven children lost a body part as a

result of their injury (limbs or internal organs). Of these, nine

children lost their eye.
 

- Doctors report many injuries due to fragmenting bullets fired from

M-16 rifles. They are designed to splinter on impact  tearing tissue

and muscles and causing multiple internal injuries.
 

- Since the beginning of the Intifada in September 2000, DCI/PS

estimates that approximately 700 children have been arrested by the

Israeli military for political activity. As of March 2002, there are

approximately 150 Palestinian child political prisoners detained in

Israeli prisons and detention centers.
 

- Virtually every detained child DCI/PS represents reports having

been subjected to torture, including beatings, isolation, sleep

deprivation, threats, position abuse (shabeh), exposure to

humiliating and degrading situations, deprivation from food and

drink, and shaking.
 

- Once incarcerated, Palestinian child political prisoners are

subjected to a wide array of rights violations, including being

detained with criminal prisoners, attacked by prison staff and

criminal prisoners, denied access to education, adequate medical

care, and family visits.
 

- Since 5 July, the Israeli Prison Authority has prevented

Palestinian lawyers from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from visiting

their clients.
 

- In 2001, 48.94% of cases DCI/PS represented were sentenced to

between six months and one year and 15.96% to more than one year. The

majority of these cases were sentenced for the ìcrimeî of stone

throwing.
 

- A majority of Palestinian children are living below the poverty

line of USD 2/day.
 

- 275 (15.6% )of all Palestinian schools are located within a 500m

radius of Israeli military presence.
 

- According to DCI/PS documentation during the year 2001, 98 schools

were fired at by Israeli soldiers using live ammunition,

rubber-coated steel bullets or tear gas.
 

- 71 Palestinian schools came under Israeli attack either through

tank shelling or rockets fired from helicopters. In some cases,

school students were present during these attacks.
 

- Thirty-seven school students were killed by the Israeli military or

settlers during the year 2001. Six of these were killed on their way

to school or inside their classroom.
 

- Eight schools were closed by Israeli military orders and five

schools were taken over by the Israeli army and turned into military

bases in 2001.
 

- Thirty-two schools were placed under curfew, preventing students

from attending classes in 2001.