Children and minors as victims of violence
Given the fact that violence against children evokes natural emotional response, casualty statistcs and methods deviate to a great extent depending on the source:
- International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) based in Herzliya, issued report The al-Aqsa Intifada – An Engineered Tragedy (summary) that "provides a breakdown of those killed by age, gender, and combatant status" and says that frequently "...numbers distort the true picture: They lump combatants in with noncombatants, suicide bombers with innocent civilians, and report Palestinian "collaborators" murdered by their own compatriots as if they had been killed by Israel." "Palestinian fatalities... have been consistently and overwhelmingly (over 95 percent) male." (full report) ([criticism])
- 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])
- Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Official Israeli statistics since September 2000, before ([criticism])
- Defence for Children International Palestine Section: Status of Palestinian Children's Rights ([criticism])
Before the First Intifada
The history of the British Mandate of Palestine was permeated with acts of violence against civilians, often including children. Some examples of such violence:
- Arab: Jerusalem pogrom of April, 1920, Jaffa riots of 1921, Hebron massacre of 1929, Black Hand (group), Great Arab Uprising of 1936-1939.
- Jewish: Irgun, Lehi (group), Deir Yassin massacre (1948). As a result of Qibya massacre (1953) and Kafr Qasim massacre (1956), the Israeli Supreme Court made a landmark ruling on the obligation of soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces to disobey manifestly illegal orders.
The First Intifada: 1987-1993 and Peace Process: 1993-2000
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 . See also Victim of peace.
In the same period, 44 Palestinian children were killed by IDF soldiers, and another 10 by Israeli civilians . 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
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Children and minors' participation in violence
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." .
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)  .
Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, wrote in his report Planting seeds of the next war: The Truth about the Palestinian schoolbooks :
- "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
Main article Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs
- Palestine: the assault on health and other war crimes (British Medical Journal)
- British Medical Journal Engaging In Malpractice (Arutz Sheva)
- Israel Bashing in Medical Journals (Honest Reporting)
- Israel slams UK medical journal (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel and the Occupied Territories: An ongoing human rights crisis (Amnesty International)
- Israel/Occupied Territories: Wanton destruction constitutes a war crime (Amnesty International)
- Palestinian girl shot while at UN school in Gaza Strip dies of injuries (UN News Center)
- Israeli gunfire hits 11-year old girl sitting at her desk in an UNRWA school (Electronic Intifada)
- Israel/Occupied Territories: Killing of children must be investigated (Amnesty International)
- Memorial to children killed in the Al-Aqsa Intifada
- EU investigation into Allegations of Incitement to Violence in Palestinian Authority textbooks
- IPCRI's, a joint Palestinian-Israeli public policy think tank, report to the US Consulate General in Jerusalem analysing the new Palestinian curriculum
- Media Watch International: The Use and Abuse of Palestinian Children by the PA
- The Use of Palestinian Children in the Al-Aqsa Intifada by Justus Weiner (1 November 2000)
- Child Abuse in the Palestinian Authority By Justus Weiner (October 2, 2002)
- PA Indoctrination of Children to Seek Heroic Death for Allah
- Palestinian Child Abuse
- Palestinian children in combat support roles by Itamar Marcus & Barbara Crook (October 17, 2004)
- PA Academic on PA TV: Killing of Jews is Mandatory Bulletin by Palestinian Media Watch, December 27, 2004