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Children and minors in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict


Since the start of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, violence has been employed by both sides. Sometimes, children and minors were unfortunate victims and sometimes, perpetrators of the violence.

Children and minors as victims of violence[edit]

Using statistics[edit]

Given the fact that violence against children evokes natural emotional response, casualty statistcs and methods deviate to a great extent depending on the source:

  • The Amnesty International: report Israel and the Occupied Territories: An ongoing human rights crisis: "The human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories continues to deteriorate. Some 2,500 Palestinians, most of them unarmed and including some 450 children, have been killed by the Israeli army and more than 900 Israelis, most of them civilians and including more than 100 children, have been killed by Palestinian armed groups since the start of the current uprising, or intifada, in September 2000." ([criticism])

Before the First Intifada[edit]

The history of the British Mandate of Palestine was permeated with acts of violence against civilians, often including children. Some examples of such violence:

The first acts of Palestinian violence specifically targeting Israeli children were committed in the 1970s. See Ma'alot massacre, Avivim school bus massacre, Kiryat Shmona massacre.

The First Intifada: 1987-1993 and Peace Process: 1993-2000[edit]

Professor of Georgetown University William O'Brien wrote about active participation of Palestinian children in the First Intifada: "It appears that a substantial number, if not the majority, of troops of the intifada are young people, including elementary schoolchildren. They are engaged in throwing stones and Molotov cocktails and other forms of violence." (William V. O'Brien, Law and Morality in Israel's War With the PLO' New York: Routledge, 1991)

In September 1993, Yasser Arafat gave his word in writing that the Palestinians would never return to violence as a means to achieve their political goals, but between 13 September 1993 and the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Palestinians killed 256 Israelis, of whom were ??? children [2]. See also Victim of peace.

In the same period, 44 Palestinian children were killed by IDF soldiers, and another 10 by Israeli civilians [3]. The terrorist attack of February 25, 1994 by Baruch Goldstein was condemned by the Israeli government and by all the organized denominations of Judaism.

The Second Intifada: 2000-present[edit]

dershowitz quote ???

Children and minors' participation in violence[edit]

The Fourth Geneva Convention forbids the use of any civilian as a shield. (Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Aug. 12, 1949, 6 U.S.T. 3516, 75 U.N.T.S. 287, art. 28). The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Art. 38, (1989) proclaimed: "State parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities." The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1261 "strongly condemns... recruitment and use of children in armed conflict in violation of international law." (UN Sec. Council Res. 1261 (1999), art. 3, 8, 13.)

According to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers' 2004 Global Report on the Use of Child Soldiers, there have been at least nine documented suicide attacks involving Palestinian minors between October 2000 and March 2004, "[t]here was no evidence of systematic recruitment of children by Palestinian armed groups. However, children are used as messengers and couriers, and in some cases as fighters and suicide bombers in attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians. All the main political groups involve children in this way, including Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine." [4].

According to Israeli security forces, there have been 229 cases of minors involved in militant activity.

Arab journalist Huda Al-Hussein wrote in the London newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "While UN Organizations save child-soldiers, especially in Africa, from the control of militia leaders who hurl them into the furnace of gang-fighting, some Palestinian leaders... consciously issue orders with the purpose of ending their childhood, even if it means their last breath." (Oct. 27, 2000, translated by MEMRI, Arab Journalist Decries Palestinian Child-Soldiers Special Dispatch 146, Nov. 1, 2000)

In an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Azzaman (June 20, 2002), Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the practice, saying that he opposed "that little children go to die", stating that "[i]t is a horrible thing. At least 40 children in Rafah became cripples after their hands were blown off by pipe bombs. They received 5 shekels [slightly over $1] to throw them" (Quoted in the Jordanian newspaper Alrai) [5] [6].

See also child soldier, child suicide bomber, human shield.

Peace education[edit]

Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, wrote in his report Planting seeds of the next war: The Truth about the Palestinian schoolbooks [7]:

"One of the most meaningful gauges of the integrity of a peace process and its likelihood for success is the degree to which the "peace partners" educate towards peace... Instead of seizing the opportunity to educate the future generations to live with Israel in peace, the PA has done everything in its power to teach hatred to young minds."

The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) regularly issues reports on the contents of Arab and Israeli school textbooks.

Peace projects involving children and minors[edit]

Main article Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Category:Terrorism Category:Israeli-Palestinian conflict