Israel’s Systemic Violations of Children’s Rights Requires Immediate International Action
RAMALLAH: Under Israel’s prolonged colonial occupation, Palestinian children live in constant fear based on lived experiences of torture, imprisonment, maiming, killing, and mass displacement. Their reality is one of perpetual injustice in a system that persecutes, assaults them, dehumanizes them, disrupts their lives, and deprives them of their potential by systematically violating their rights at will and with complete impunity.
During 2021 alone, Israeli occupying forces killed 81 Palestinian children, including 67 children in Gaza and 14 children in the occupied West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and injured scores others. During this period, the occupation also damaged 154 schools and 80 kindergartens. Due to these criminal attacks and other illegal Israeli practices, 1.2 million Palestinian children are in need of humanitarian aid.
In addition to the lethal effects of this systemic violence, such prolonged exposure to violence causes widespread trauma among and inflicts mass psychological trauma on their mental health and well-being. This daily reality violates the fundamental rights of Palestinian children, including their basic rights to life, safety, dignity, and education. It is no way for a child to live.
Given this demonstrably dismal record, Israel belongs on the United Nations list of parties that commit grave violations affecting children in situations of armed conflict. As such, the State of Palestine also calls on the United Nations Secretary General to add Israeli occupying forces and settlers to that list of shame.
The State of Palestine also calls on all states, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, to take effective action to put an end to this systematic assault on Palestinian children, including holding Israeli government officials, military commanders and forces as well as colonial settlers accountable for their grave breaches and heinous crimes against Palestinian children. Furthermore, Palestine calls on states that tie bilateral relations and cooperation to human rights records to hold Israel to that standard and end Israeli exceptionalism in this and other matters. Agreements on military, economic and other forms of cooperation must be tied to Israeli adherence to its obligations under international law, especially towards children.
Israeli war crimes against Palestinian children as well as other grave breaches of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions persist with impunity in the absence of accountability and international inaction. Such abdication of legal responsibilities by states is inexcusable and must end.