Friday, October 28, 2005

Palestine Fact Sheets 

Whether a student, community activist, politician or an average citizen, these fact sheets will provide you with concise information on the different issues related to the current Intifada and Palestine. Feel free to print and distribute them as long as they are accredited to the Palestine Monitor.

The illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has been violating the basic rights of Palestinian children for the last 35 years. All violations perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinians over the last decades – ranging from torture and illegal killings to expulsion, the prevention of access to medical treatment, discrimination, and the destruction of homes and livelihoods – have had a disproportionate effect on the children of Palestine.

During the most recent Intifada, which began in September 2000, Israeli repression has been particularly brutal, with the Israeli army acting with excessive force and subjecting the Palestinian people – particularly children -- to systematic collective punishment on an unprecedented scale.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees the fundamental rights of all children. The State of Israel willingly signed and ratified this agreement in October 1991. Since this time, Israel has not only failed to comply with the Convention's provisions, but has consistently and systematically violated Palestinian children's rights in every way.

Since September 28, 2000:
383 Palestinian children (under the age of 18) have been killed by the Israeli army and Israeli settlers, i.e. almost 19% of the total Palestinians killed (figure at 21 November 2002);
Approximately 36% of total Palestinians injured (estimated at more than 41,000) are children;
86 of these children were under the age of ten;
21 infants under the age of 12 months have been killed;
500 Palestinian children have been permanently disabled due to Israeli attacks.

The Right to Education
The Israeli army's widespread destruction of schools, the forced closure of educational institutes, the ever- present danger to school children and staff attempting to continue normal education, together demonstrate the Israeli government's complete violation of the right of Palestinian children to an education. For example:

Since September 2000:
→ 2,610 pupils have been wounded on their way to or from school;
→ 245 Palestinian students and school children have been killed and 166 students and 75 teachers have been arrested
Between January and July 2002, Israeli military forces occupied 18 schools in the West Bank, converting them to military bases or prisons;
In Hebron alone, four schools have been converted to military bases, with three still under Israeli control (as of December 2002), denying 1,920 students access to their schools;
Between January and June 2002, 24 schools were heavily shelled by the Israeli military;
Since 29 March 2002, the education process has been completely paralyzed in 850 schools;
Since September 2000, 197 schools have been damaged, 11 schools completely destroyed and 9 vandalized;
From 29 March to 1 May 2002: 1,289 schools were closed, 45,000 tawjihi students supposed to take the general exam in June were prevented from accessing their schools, and 54,730 teaching sessions per day were lost due to complete cessation of classes in major West Bank towns during Israeli military operations

The Right to Health
The Israeli occupation, in particular widespread closure, has paralyzed the Palestinian health system. Children are particularly vulnerable to this policy of collective punishment. Internal closures have severely disrupted health plans which affect over 500,000 children. These include vaccination programmes, dental examinations and early diagnosis programmes for children when starting schools.

During the first two months of the intifada, the rate of upper respiratory infections in children increased from 20% to 40%. Almost 60% of children in Gaza suffer parasitic infections.
Public services such as water and sanitation have deteriorated rapidly throughout the Intifada, increasing the frequency of water borne diseases. For example, in a two week period in January 2001, over 40,000 children under 5 year suffered from diarrhoea.
Since the beginning of the current Intifada, Palestinian children have been exposed to extreme violence: killings, shooting, harassment, displacement and destruction of their homes and schools – all of which has had a serious psychological effect on children. An overwhelming number of Palestinian children show symptoms of trauma such as sleep disorders, nervousness, decrease in appetite and weight, feelings of hopelessness and frustration, and abnormal thoughts of death.

Half a million Palestinian children have been prevented from receiving required vaccinations due to closure and invasions.

There have been 36 cases of Palestinian women in labor delayed at checkpoints and refused permission to reach medical facilities or for ambulances to reach them. At least 14 of these women gave birth at the checkpoint with eight of the births resulting in the death of the newborn infants.
The Right to an Adequate Standard of Living
Poverty and restrictions on freedom of movement have adverse effects on children's living standards. Most children are almost wholly dependent on their parents for survival and their economic situation is therefore a key determinant of access to social, health and education resources required for adequate living.

Approximately 75% of Palestinians currently live below the poverty line of $2 per day.
More than 364,000 children have suffered directly due to the reduction in income of their main source of support, with malnutrition rates for Palestinian children currently at 22%
Thousands of Palestinian children have been made homeless. During the Israeli invasion of the West Bank in March/April 2002, at least 2000 Palestinian children in the Jenin refugee camp were made homeless when 700 housing units were completely destroyed by the Israeli army.
The Rights of Children Deprived of Liberty

Palestinian children arrested, detained or imprisoned by Israeli authorities routinely face violations of their rights. Among these violations are physical and psychological torture, arbitrary arrest and denial of a lawyer or family visits.

During the first few months of the current Intifada, approximately 250 children were arrested. Currently 350 children are being held in Israeli prisons and detention centres inside Israel and in the West Bank

The majority of children arrested are forcibly taken from their homes at night. Once taken, they are blindfolded, handcuffed, removed in a military van, and immediately interrogated.
Almost every Palestinian child who is arrested undergoes some form of torture, including beatings, sleep deprivation, isolation, position abuse and verbal abuse.
Once sentenced, Palestinian child political prisoners face harsh prison conditions -- often including imprisonment with criminal prisoners -- which usually results in cases of children being beaten, scalded with boiling water and cut with razors. Cases of sexual abuse of children have also been reported.
The Right to Non-Discrimination
Palestinian children experience constant discrimination as a result of living under Israeli military occupation. Children are particularly vulnerable to the detrimental effects of the Israeli state's discriminatory policies against its Palestinian residents. This is particularly true in Jerusalem, which is the object of an Israeli policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinians living in the city, and separating it from the rest of the Palestinian territories -- with the ultimate aim of ensuring Israeli sovereignty over the city.

‧ Palestinian children are deprived of an officially recognized nationality and associated benefits
‧ Throughout the current Intifada, Palestinian children have been subjected to heightened discrimination in every way – from the war-like situation in which they live, the curfew and closure imposed on their homes and villages, to the constant threat to their physical safety and sense of security.

The Right to Life
The Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories continually affects Palestinian children's inherent right to life, security and survival. In both international and human rights law, the right to life is guaranteed the highest degree of protection. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights unequivocally states that 'everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.' Every human rights instrument provides that the right to life and security of the individual is protected and must be applied with no exception, in all circumstances, including times of emergency and internal unrest.

The information for this Fact Sheet was mainly compiled from DCI/PS's publication: A Generation Denied, 2001. For more information, please see Defence for Children International, Palestine Section (DCI/PS) or
e-mail: dcipal@palnet.com

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