2022 has been the deadliest year for Palestinian children in the West Bank in 15 years.
To fully understand how the Israeli state policies work, we have to understand how they affect – not unintentionally, but by design – the Palestinian children.
I hope you can take the time and learn about it in my episode. In it, I talk about three broad and by no means exhaustive areas of how Israeli state policies target Palestinian minors. Although this is the 9th episode of my mini-series on Palestine, you can listen to it on its own.
1. The Killings
This year has been the deadliest year for Palestinian children in the West Bank in 15 years. This is what Save The Children reports this November, missing any child killed since November. In Gaza, we know that 16 children were killed during Israel’s bombing this August.
This makes it 50 children murdered by Israel just this year alone.
2. The Arrests
As Defense for Children International – Palestine, who I quote in my episode, reports,
“Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that automatically and systematically prosecutes children in military courts.
Each year, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are tried in these courts, which, in practice and by design, deny fundamental fair trial rights and due process protections.
This dual system offers no semblance of justice. From the moment Palestinian children come into contact with Israeli soldiers, their very basic human rights are denied. The majority of Palestinian children report being blindfolded, strip-searched, and subjected to physical violence at the hands of Israeli forces. Most Palestinian children are not informed of the reason for their arrest, and over half are forced to sign documents in Hebrew, a language they cannot read or understand.”Khaled Quzmar, General Director, Defence for Children International – Palestine
A report by Save The Children UK released this October provides both statistics and glimpses into personal stories of Palestinian children.
“Children in the Israeli military detention system face inhumane treatment such as beatings, strip searches, psychological abuse, weeks in solitary confinement, and being denied access to a lawyer during interrogations, new research by Save the Children found.”
In my episode, I talk about the case of Ahmad Manasara, a Palestinian child who has spent over seven years in Israeli jails, including in torture-like solitary confinement. You can read his heart-breaking story here. Watch a video about Ahmad below (you might need to click on it to open it on Youtube).
3. Ethnic Cleansing
House demolitions and other ethnic cleansing practices – like demolishing a school in Masafer Yatta recently – all add to the continuous trauma of the Palestinian children in the West Bank.
This trauma is surely created by actual physical violence the Palestinian children are exposed to, like the video below I do want you to see to understand.
To learn more about what the children of Gaza have to deal with on a daily basis, please read my article on just Gaza here.
I talk about more than these three limiting categories in my episode. I kindly remind you that everything Israel does is first of all surrounded by complete impunity. Currently, there is no internal or external body that can “tell Israel what to do” when it comes to any Palestinian child. And this is very much why we see what we’re seeing.
I will leave you with a reminder of how the press – even the “more progressive” press – in Israel presents Palestinian children.
In other countries, a 17-year-old is a 10th grader. In Palestine, that is a man who is killed, by no known force, in “clashes”.
This is not an easy episode to record, nor to listen, so thank you so much for taking the time. I would really appreciate it if you could share it with your friends and anyone who you think should benefit from knowing this.
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