Israel’s armed forces and the deteriorating situation of Palestinian children

Human Rights Council – 33rd session

Oral statement – Amid escalating violence since October 2015, the situation for Palestinian children living under prolonged Israeli military occupation has significantly deteriorated.

52 Palestinian children from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been killed since October 1, 2015, all except one at the hands of Israeli forces. In several cases, DCI-Palestine found that children did not pose a direct, mortal threat at the time they were killed, suggesting that Israeli forces are implementing a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy, which in some incidents may amount to willful killings. Accountability for shootings by Israeli forces is extremely rare, and Israeli authorities have rejected opening full and transparent investigations into recent incidents.

Moreover, by the end of February 2016, the total number of Palestinian children in custody reached 440, the highest number at any given point since the Israel Prison Service began releasing data in 2008. The Israel Prison Service has further complicated efforts to monitor the child rights situation in the occupied West Bank by withholding detention data since April. In another troubling development, Israeli authorities renewed the use of administrative detention against Palestinian children in October 2015. Administrative detention is a process whereby a child is detained without charge or trial, often renewable indefinitely.

Children under 18 years old now represent 46 percent of the 4.68 million Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. This generation is growing up with a future stifled by systemic discrimination, settlement expansion, and a prolonged military occupation with no end in sight.

Defence for Children International therefore urges all members of the UN Human Rights Council to:

  • Demand that Israeli authorities immediately stop the use of administrative detention orders against Palestinian children and enshrine this prohibition in law;
  • Condemn Israeli forces’ use of excessive force in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, against Palestinians; and
  • Demand that Israeli forces at all times act in accordance with the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

Read the full statement here: EN