Israeli occupation killed 78 Palestinian children last year and maimed another 982

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has been criticized for leaving Israel out of his “list of shame” despite expressing shock over its crimes against Palestinian children

July 13, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
In 2021, most of the Palestinian children killed were casualties of Israel’s 11 day bombing of densely populated occupied Gaza in May. (Photo: Middle East Eye/Mohammed al-Hajjar)

Israeli forces killed 78 Palestinian children and maimed another 982 last year, according to the UN’s annual Children and Armed Conflict report, released on Monday, July 11. According to the report, Israeli occupation forces also detained a record 637 Palestinian children in 2021. 

Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories topped the list of 21 conflict zones listed in this year’s report, in terms of the total number of deaths. Israeli occupation forces, using air raids and live ammunition, caused most of the casualties in occupied Palestine. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres declared that Israel should be blacklisted if the atrocities against children continue without any decrease in 2022. He expressed his shock over the “killing and injuring of Palestinian children by Israeli forces in airstrike on densely populated areas, through the use of live ammunition, and at the continued lack of accountability for these violations.” 

However, this year Guterres left Israel off his “blacklist”, or the UN’s annual list of perpetrators of grave violations against children. This has led to criticism from human rights activists. Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch claimed that, “for years, Guterres has employed double standards by listing some parties on his “list of shame” while omitting others that have often committed far more violations.” As Becker underlined, “Israel has never appeared on the list, even though the UN has found its forces responsible for killing or injuring more than 7,000 Palestinian children since 2015.”

The blacklist is a way of putting pressure on countries to end atrocities. According to Becker, by choosing to exclude Israel from the list, Guterres “undermines efforts to protect children in war.”

2021 became the deadliest year for Palestinian children since 2014. Previously, the highest number of Palestinian children killed in a year since 2014 was in 2018, when Israeli forces killed 57 Palestinian children.   

In 2021, most of the Palestinian children were killed during Israel’s 11-day bombing of the densely-populated occupied Gaza in May. According to the report, Israel murdered 61 children in those raids, which took the lives of a total of around 250 Palestinians and injured over 2,000. A majority of the 982 children in 2021 are also from the Gaza strip. 

Israel shot and killed 17 Palestinian children with live ammunition in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, mostly during anti-occupation protests.

In various raids of the occupied territories carried out throughout the year, Israeli forces detained 637 Palestinian children, at least 75% of whom say they experienced physical violence from Israeli forces.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, there are at least 172 Palestinian children out of over 4,600 Palestinians imprisoned in various Israeli jails for resisting occupation.   

According to the Geneva-based Defense for Children International’s Palestine chapter (DCI-P), Israeli occupation has killed 16 Palestinian children already in 2022. 

According to the UN report, at least 2,515 children were killed globally in different conflict zones in 2021, with the majority of deaths coming from Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.