A Scarred Childhood: Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Children in the Occupied West Bank in 2022

The State of Palestine presents a blistering account of Israeli abuses against Palestinian children during the first three months of 2022 – adding to the growing library of reports on Israel’s human rights violations.

Reposted from State of Palestine Negotiations Affairs Dept., April 12, 2022

For over five decades, Palestinian children and their families have experienced the injustices of the Israeli occupation. To our children, this occupation has served as a school of daily experiential learning.

This happens at Israeli-monitored checkpoints that fragment our towns and restrict our movement; during clashes where Israeli occupation forces shoot and sometimes kill, unarmed Palestinians; during repressive curfews, closures, home raids, and demolitions; through settler violence, and the day-to-day humiliations faced by a people under occupation.

Undoubtedly, the occupying Power has constituted an informal curriculum, whose master teachers have instilled and cultivated existential fear, a profound sense of insecurity, loss, bitterness, and anger in the hearts and minds of our children.

The impact of Israel’s oppressive policies against our children, in violation of international law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is tremendous and far-reaching since they touch not only the five senses but leave deep physical, mental, psychological, emotional, and spiritual scars that are hard to heal given the continued occupation.

In over twenty years and based on documentation by Defense for Children International- Palestine (DCIP), more than 2,200 Palestinian children were killed by the Israeli occupying forces and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory. At the end of 2021, the same organization conducted an investigation and concluded that last year was the “deadliest year for Palestinian children since 2014.”

Since the beginning of the year, Israel, the occupying Power, has continued to terrorize the Palestinian people, including women, children, and the elderly. As a result, many Palestinians have been killed, hundreds injured, and more than a thousand detained.

This is in addition to over 1,400 military raids into Palestinian villages and cities in the occupied West Bank, and 85 demolition operations documented by UNOCHA, which displaced almost 230 people, half of them were children, and otherwise affected nearly 1,140 Palestinians, nearly half of them are children.

On the occasion of Palestinian Child Day on 5 April and the Palestinian Prisoner Day on 17 April, this report provides an overview of the various Israeli violations committed by Israel’s occupying forces and settlers during the first three months of 2022[1] in the occupied West Bank against our children, who represent nearly  44% of the entire Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The brother of a Palestinian boy killed during Israel's May 2021 attack on Gaza cries during his funeral.
The brother of a Palestinian boy killed during Israel’s May 2021 attack on Gaza cries during his funeral.

I. KILLINGS

In the first three months of 2022, the Israeli occupying forces (IOF) killed 24 Palestinians, five of which are under the age of 18: Mohammad Abu Salah (17) from Al-Yamoun town in Jenin, Mohammad Salah (14) from Al- Khadder town in Bethlehem, Shadi Najem (18) from Jenin refugee camp, Nader Rayan (17) from Balata refugee camp in Nablus, and Sanad Abu Attiya (17) from Jenin refugee camp.

The bodies of the following Palestinian children martyrs remain withheld in Israeli custody[2]:

  1. Mohammad Nasser Trereh (17) from Hebron since 30 June 2016
  2. Khaled Abdel A’al (17) from Gaza since 2 July 2018
  3. Mohammad Dar Yousef (17) from Ramallah since 26 July 2018
  4. Mohammad Abu Mandil (17) from Gaza since 22 January 2020
  5. Mahmoud Kamil (17) from Jenin since 21 December 2020
  6. Atallah Rayyan (17) from Salfit since 26 January 2021
  7. Zuhdi Al-Tawil (17) from Jerusalem since 24 May 2021
  8. Yousef Subuh (16) from Jenin since 26 September 2021
  9. Mohammad Younes (16) from Nablus since 6 December 2021
Palestinian student Mohammed Abu Hussain from Gaza, who lost his leg after being shot by an Israeli sniper during "Great March of Return" demonstrations, sits on a chair holding his crutches at the playground of his school in Gaza City, Gaza on 3 September 2018.
Palestinian student Mohammed Abu Hussain from Gaza, who lost his leg after being shot by an Israeli sniper during “Great March of Return” demonstrations, sits on a chair holding his crutches at the playground of his school in Gaza City, Gaza on 3 September 2018.

II. INJURIES

Nearly 1,600 Palestinians were injured[3], including nearly 40 children that were hospitalized according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as well as others who suffocated from tear gas inhalation.

Many of these injuries happened during protests (in Hebron, Budrus village, Qalendia refugee camp, Jerusalem, Beita village, Kufr Qaddoum village, and other places throughout the occupied West Bank) against the IOF, who often responded with rubber-coated metal bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas canisters.

Among the young wounded Palestinians was Ahmad Thawabteh (13), who was briefly arrested and later released after being severely beaten and breaking his leg. Among the injured were 11-year-old children, including Munawar Burqan (details about the incident later in the report) with special needs from occupied Jerusalem, who was seriously injured after a stun grenade was fired at her face by the IOF.

The youngest among the wounded was a 6 months-old baby.

Below are some examples of Palestinian children injured by the IOF and later abused in prison[4]:

– Ahmad Flanna, from Safa town in Ramallah, turned 17 on 4 April. Ahmad was shot five times and abused by the IOF before being arrested on 26 February 2021. While incarcerated, Ahmad had several surgeries at an Israeli hospital without informing his family. The occupation authorities had also interrogated him while in the hospital without regard to his health condition.

Ahmed, a student in the first year of secondary school, is currently detained in “Megiddo” prison. A hearing at an Israeli court was scheduled for 12 April.

– Issa Al-Titi (17) from Al-Aroub Refugee Camp was shot by the IOF in September 2020, leaving him with disfiguring injuries to his face, a fractured skull, and severe head injuries. He stayed in an Israeli hospital for eight days before being transferred to the “Megiddo” prison and then to the “Ofer” prison.

Today, a permanent headache plagues him due to the Israeli prison administration’s indifference to providing him with necessary medical treatment. They also keep him from meeting his brothers, Jihad and Mohammad, who are also detained in Israeli jails. Issa was sentenced to 13 months in prison and was released in January 2022.

–  Mohammad Al-Sheikh (17) from Al-Ezzariya was arrested in August 2019 after shooting him with several bullets in the body. Naseem Abu Rumi, his friend, was killed by the IOF in occupied Jerusalem the same day. Mohammed underwent several surgeries in an Israeli hospital after his arrest. He stayed there for ten days before being transferred to the “Ramle” prison clinic, where he remained for four months.

Despite suffering from a bullet near his heart, and shrapnel in his body, Mohammed is currently being held under harsh detention conditions in “Ofer” prison. His health is deteriorating due to Israel’s inhumane policy of medical negligence.

(Source / 16.04.2022)

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