Palestinian children: detained, dead, forgotten (2 short articles)
By Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor
Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) paints a bleak prospect for Palestinian children in revealing that in 2018, at least 56 were killed by Israel. Individuals who witnessed some of the murders have insisted that the targeted children were unarmed and posed no threat to the state or its citizens. [Note: an an Israeli general confirmed that snipers have targeted children at the Gaza border - see below.]
Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli army snipers, drones and security forces across the occupied Palestinian territories. Five of the murdered children were under 12 years of age. In Gaza, 49 children were murdered by Israel in activities pertaining to the Great March of Return protests.
Live ammunition was used by Israel in 73 per cent of the fatalities documented by DCIP, which also recorded “140 cases of Palestinian children who were detained by Palestinian forces.” Israeli forces also arrested 120 children within the occupied West Bank. In both groups, the detained children suffered abuse at the hands of the security forces holding them, whether the PA or the Israeli military.
These tactics show that Israel’s colonial collaboration with the Palestinian Authority is targeting a very vulnerable segment of Palestinian society. What’s more, the killing and wounding of Palestinian children by Israeli snipers at the Great Return March is a direct maiming of the generation which can carry on the anti-colonial struggle.
Citing international law is pointless when Israel, and even the Palestinian Authority, have extended the parameters for an ongoing cycle of abuse against Palestinian children. International law is only relevant when used to point out that violations are taking place and the Palestinians are facing a UN member state which treats international law with contempt, while the international community gives its tacit agreement to the abuse and is, in some cases, complicit.
DCIP’s research establishes the fact that Israel killed an average of more than one child per week in 2018. Earlier shocking official statistics revealed that between 2000 and 2014 Israel killed a Palestinian child every three days on average, for fourteen years. Throughout the year there was ongoing discussion about Israel’s genocidal intent and actions which were mostly discarded due to the monopoly over the term in reference to the Holocaust. Yet, Article II of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines the term as “acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” What else is Israel doing to the people of Palestine, “in whole or in part”?
The international community’s responses are so predictable that Israel finds no obstacles in manoeuvring beyond the limits set by international law; it is allowed to act with impunity. The “drip, drip” rate of the killing of Palestinian children and the almost routine nature of their detention sneaks under the radar of human rights violations. As the international community fails to respond to Israeli violations within its established framework, Israel succeeds in bridging the gap between violations and rights.
To speak of Israel’s violations now is, in fact, also to speak of the international community’s irresponsibility. Yet neither are scrutinised and held to account; the result is the regular yet somewhat reluctant citing of what should happen according to international law being juxtaposed against Israeli breaches of the law. Accountability, however, has long since absconded from the scene of the crime. If Israel wants to kill Palestinian children (or women and men, come to that), it will kill because it has decided, quite deliberately, to do so.
Meanwhile, the international community will steer clear from ever associating Israeli actions with genocide, preferring instead to rely on “alleged war crimes”, the perpetrators of which will never be brought to justice. Palestinian children killed by Israel over many years, last year included, have been forgotten by the world.
Israel has detained 908 Palestinian children since the beginning of 2018, according to Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), who made the announcement on Tuesday.
PPS said, in a statement, that of the 908 Palestinian children detained since January to the end of October, 270 are still held in various Israeli prisons.
Children are usually detained from their homes in the middle of the night, are often beaten severely and threatened, in order to get them to sign confessions.
Many of the children report being denied an education, family visits and medical attention.
In April, an Israeli general confirmed that children have been specifically targeted by Israeli snipers at the Gaza border.
In a radio interview, Brigadier-General (Reserve) Zvika Fogel describes how a sniper identifies the “small body” of a child and is given authorization to shoot.
PPS stressed, according to Days of Palestine, that Israel has enacted several laws, since 2015, and targeting Palestinian children in particular, that would allow the detention and trial of minors at age 14 years, and prison sentences of more than ten years to life, for those found to have thrown rocks at illegal settlers or occupation forces.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are 5,580 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 250 are children, with 35 under the age of 16 years.