Much of the information on this page can be found in the UMKR resource “Quick Facts: Palestinian Children & The Israeli Occupation.” See it in Resources listed below.
For five decades, millions of Palestinian children have grown up under Israel’s brutal military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. These children live every day not knowing when their homes may be destroyed, or when they, their parents or siblings will be harassed, imprisoned, injured or killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers. Inevitably, many Palestinian children in the occupied territories face life with despair and hopelessness.
Death, Injury and Destruction
• 32 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli soldiers and civilians in 2016. Accountability for such crimes is virtually non-existent: only 1 incident resulted in an indictment.
• In 2015, 30 children were killed and over 1,700 were injured.
• At least 540 Palestinian children were killed and over 3,000 were injured by Israel’s 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.
• Half a million Gazans lost their homes in the 2014 Israeli bombardment that destroyed 20,000 homes and dozens of schools; due to Israel’s blockade of Gaza, very little has been rebuilt. 50% of Gaza’s population are children.
• The homes of 772 children were demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, just in 2016. Since 1967, tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed due to the Israeli occupation.
Childhood essentials under threat:
physical security, emotional stability, adequate nutrition, safe water, education, and healthcare.
Living with Trauma
Every day, Palestinian children are exposed to and often confronted by Israeli soldiers in full combat gear, an act of violence in itself.
Over 50% of Palestinian children have experienced high-magnitude trauma: bombings, personal injuries, imprisonment, death of family members, and home demolitions.
82% of Palestinian children suffer moderate to acute levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Living in Poverty
25% or more of Palestinian families under occupation live in poverty; 78% in East Jerusalem.
2.3 million Palestinians need humanitarian aid and 1.6 million suffer from food insecurity.
10 Facts on Child Detention & Imprisonment
1. Three out of four Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces suffer physical violence. They are commonly blindfolded, handcuffed and verbally and physically abused, from the moment of their arrest.
2. 136 children from 7 to 11-years-old (under the age of criminal responsibility) were arrested in 2015.
3. Over 90% of Palestinian children taken to court are convicted, while only 6.5% of Israeli children in the West Bank settlements are convicted.
4. Children are often arrested during terrifying night raids of their homes. Their parents don’t know where they will be taken or if and when they will return.
5. They are illegally taken out of occupied territory into Israel and therefore often have no family visits; to enter Israel parents must have a permit that can take months to obtain.
6. These child prisoners have no access to lawyers and no adult protection when they are interrogated.
7. Many children are threatened with reprisals against their families, beaten, and tortured, to force them to confess or agree to become Israeli informants.
8. They are forced to sign confessions in Hebrew, a language they do not understand.
9. The most common charge against Palestinian children is throwing stones (a stone is defined by the army as a dangerous projectile in the same category as a bullet); in 2015, Israel raised the maximum sentence to 20 years.
10. In 2016, Israeli military courts began sentencing children to years in prison for throwing stones. Israeli military law allows imprisonment for any child over 11 years old.
500 to 700 Palestinian children go through the Israeli Military Court system every year. Israel is the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes children in military courts – only Palestinian children. These courts fail to uphold fundamental rights to a fair trial.
PDF: 50 Days: More Than 500 Children, Gaza Fatalities, Summer 2014 – 2 pp.
Web page: 50 Days: More Than 500 Children; Facts and figures on fatalities in Gaza Summer 2014
PDF: Caution: Children Ahead, 2010 – 2 pp.
PDF: No Minor Matter, Full, 2011 – 83 pp.
PDF: No Minor Matter, Summary, 2011 – 3 pp.
Defense for Children International – Palestine
PDF: Bound, Blindfolded, and Convicted, 2012 – 146 pp.
PDF: Operation Cast Lead, Bearing the Brunt Again, 2009 – 116 pp.
PDF: Growing Up between Settlers and Soldiers, 2014 – 43 pp.
PDF: No Way to Treat a Child, 2016 – 84 pp.
PDF: Palestinian Child Prisoners, 2009 – 118 pp.
PDF: Palestinian Children, East Jerusalem, 2011 – 68 pp.
PDF: Operation Protective Edge, War Waged on Gaza’s Children – 108 pp.
PDF: Recruitment of Palestinian Children, 2012 – 44 pp.
PDF: Settler Violence Against Palestinian Children, 2010 – 100 pp.
PDF: Worst Abuses Against Palestinian Children in 2016 – 5 pp.
Haaretz – PDF: Boy Without A Leg, Occupier Without A Heart – 2 pp.
HRW – PDF: Israeli Forces Abuse Palestinian Children, 2015 – 10 pp.
HRW – PDF: Israeli Police Abusing Detained Children, 2016 – 6 pp.
NAD – PDF: Palestinian Children, Military Detention, 2016 – 5 pp.
PNN – PDF: International Conference, Palestinian Children in Israeli Detention, 2017 – 3 pp.
UNICEF – PDF: Children In Israeli Military Detention, 2015 – 16 pp.
ABC-Australia – Video: Stone Cold Justice [45 mins] – February 2014
The Israeli army faces a backlash at home and abroad for its treatment of children in occupied Palestinian territory. A joint investigation by Four Corners and The Australian newspaper; includes a focus on settlers’ attacks on Palestinian children.
ABC-Australia – Photo Gallery for Stone Cold Justice