Israel killed 54 Palestinian children, detained 900 in 2018, says PLO report

Most of those killed were agitating peacefully on the Gaza border during the Great March of Return protests. The report also listed cases of children as young as four years old being subject to brutal interrogation in Israeli prisons

December 20, 2018 by Peoples Dispatch
240 people, including 44 children, were killed by Israel during the Great March of Return protests

54 Palestinian children were killed and 900 detained by Israeli occupation forces in 2018, according to a human rights report released by the PLO’s (Palestinian Liberation Organisation) Abdullah Hourani Center for Studies and Documentation, the Lebanese news website, Al-Masdar, reported on December 19.

The report states that 44 out of the 54 children were killed in the blockaded Gaza strip during the Great March of Return protests. Three Gazan children are reportedly still being detained by Israeli forces. The report also states that the children who were killed were part of a peaceful protest and did not pose any mortal threat to the Israeli forces. Yet they were deliberately targeted with live fire.

According to the report, the Israeli occupation forces also arrested 900 Palestinian children in the West Bank and Jerusalem this year, and 230 of them are still being held in Israeli prisons under extremely harsh conditions.

One of the examples of Israel’s grave systematic violation of the rights of Palestinian children mentioned in the report was of Aymah Sabbah, who at 17 years of age, was sentenced to 35 years in prison by a military court in Ofer. This was for an alleged stabbing incident in 2016 when he was 14 years old. These exceptionally harsh sentences are a serious violation of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Convention Against Torture, signed by Israel in 1991.

In July, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian teenagers in cold blood by dropping missiles on a rooftop in Gaza. Israel alleged that the building was being used for training purposes by Hamas, and that it had decided to strike it with what it called four “warning missiles.” A joint investigation by B’Tselem and Forensic Architecture found that the first of the four strikes killed the two 14-year-olds who were sitting on the rooftop at the time.

A lethal “warning missile” killed 2 Palestinian teens on a rooftop in Gaza. On 14 July 2018, the Israeli military carried out an airstrike on a building in Gaza which it claimed the Hamas used for training purposes. A joint investigation by B’Tselem and Forensic Architecture found that the strike began with the launching of four missiles the military termed “warning missiles.” The first strike killed two 14-year-olds who were sitting on the rooftop at the time. Our investigation revealed that the video clip the military released of the attack omits footage of the strike in which the two boys were killed, and replaced it with the footage of the third missile, showing it twice. View now. Read more on our website: https://www.btselem.org/video/201812_lethal_warning#full

Gepostet von ‎B'Tselem בצלם‎ am Mittwoch, 19. Dezember 2018

 

On top of the senseless and brutal killing, the official video clip of the strikes that was released by the Israeli military omitted footage of the first strike that resulted in the deaths of the two teenagers and replaced it with the footage of the third strike.

The investigation report challenged the idea of ‘warning strikes’, pointing out that “firing a missile at the roof of a building cannot be considered a warning and is undeniably part of the strike itself.”  It added that the Israeli air force should have been aware of the presence of families in the area and the two boys on the roof, and said the decision of the air force to go ahead with the strike raised grave concerns. It traced the pattern of the attacks to Israel’s brutal bombings during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, during which attacks on crowds led to the death of over 1,000 people.

Brutal interrogation sessions

In addition to the killing of children, several investigations found that the interrogation sessions of minors carried out by the Israelis saw the children being severely beaten, handcuffed, blindfolded, insulted, humiliated and even sexually assaulted. The most recent victim was as young as 4 years old, hailing from Khan Yunis in Southern Gaza.

Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), a well known child rights NGO, said Israel’s intention was to convert Palestinian minors into children with disabilities by deliberately targeting them with live fire and explosive bullets. DCIP also claimed to have come across several cases of children suffering from permanent disabilities as a result of the deliberate targeting by Israeli forces. These actions are a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

More than 310 Palestinian civilians, most of them unarmed, were killed by Israeli forces in 2018. At least 240 of them were killed during the Great March of Return that began on March 30. More than 22,000 Palestinians were reportedly wounded during the protests as well.

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