Israeli attacks against Palestinian Children in 2022
Israeli attacks against Palestinian Children in 2022
Israel, the occupying Power, continues to violate the rights of Palestinian children to life, family, education, housing, and health. With Israel's shoot-to-kill policy in the occupied West Bank and heavy bombardments against occupied Gaza, our children's lives are at risk. Each year, the Israeli occupying forces (IOF) and armed settlers kill, injure, abuse, and arrest hundreds of Palestinian children. The Palestinian child has been paying a high price and is a target of the Israeli occupation’s arbitrary measures, including house arrests, and is suffering the consequences of Israel’s systematic illegal policies, including Israel’s colonial enterprise, closures, military incursions, denial of family reunification, and the Israelization of their textbooks and curricula as it’s the case in occupied Jerusalem.
Despite international agreements, treaties, covenants, and laws, which guarantee and protect the rights of children, foremost among them is the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the occupation authorities continue to commit crimes against innocent Palestinian children, many of which can qualify to crimes against humanity and war crimes. Palestinian children are targeted as part of a systematic Israeli policy designed to destroy their present and future.
This report only provides a snapshot of the reality of Palestinian children under Israel’s prolonged occupation, highlighting some of the violations committed by the IOF and settlers against Palestinian children, mainly in the occupied West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, in 2022 (until 20 November, unless otherwise indicated).
During the reporting period (until November 21): the IOF killed 199 Palestinians in occupied Palestine, 44 of which are children under the age of 18 (about 22%).
As outlined in all four Geneva Conventions, withholding the bodies of Palestinian martyrs violates international customary law and negates the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. As of 2015, 117 martyrs’ bodies, including those of 12 children, remain in Israeli custody:
- Mohammad Nasser Trereh (17) from Hebron since 30 June 2016
- Khaled Abdel A’al (17) from Gaza since 2 July 2018
- Mohammad Dar Yousef (17) from Ramallah since 26 July 2018
- Badawi Masalmeh (17) from Hebron since 30 November 2019
- Mohammad Abu Mandil (17) from Gaza since 22 January 2020
- Mahmoud Kamil (17) from Jenin since 21 December 2020
- Atallah Rayyan (17) from Salfit since 26 January 2021
- Zuhdi Al-Tawil (17) from Jerusalem since 24 May 2021
- Yousef Subuh (16) from Jenin since 26 September 2021
- Mohammad Younes (16) from Nablus since 6 December 2021
- Mu’tasem Atallah (17) from Bethlehem since 8 May 2022
- Mohammad Al-Sa’eed (17) from Jenin since 14 October 2022.
The following are examples of Palestinian children who were executed extrajudicially by the IOF:
- At dawn on November 14, the IOF shot and killed Fulla Mallouh (14 years old) in the town of Beitunia, west of Ramallah. The IOF fired at least 20 bullets at the car she was riding in, beat and detained the driver, pulled Fulla out of the car, and laid her on the ground, leaving her without medical attention.
- On November 9, the IOF killed Mahdi Hashash (15 years old) near Nablus. Hashash was shot in the leg and chest with live ammunition.
- On August 1, an Israeli sniper shot Dirar Al-Haj Saleh (16 years old) in the back from the top of a residential building during an Israeli military incursion into the Jenin refugee camp.
- On June 2, the IOF shot Odeh Sadaqa (16 years old ) with live ammunition in the village of Al-Midya, west of Ramallah. Approximately 100 meters from his home, Sadaqa was walking with his two friends. When they tried to flee, Sadaqa was struck in the back by a bullet that penetrated his heart.
According to OCHA (until 7 November), 8903 Palestinians, including 885 children, were injured by the IOF in the occupied West Bank.
Below are two examples of Palestinian children injured by gunshots and others abused during detention by IOF:
- On November 5, Nishan Al-Zaben (16 years old) and his cousin Musab were returning to their village of al-Mazra'a al-Sharqiya east of Ramallah when Israeli soldiers hiding in the olive fields fired stun grenades and live ammunition at them. Three bullets penetrated Musab's heart, and a fourth bullet struck his pelvis, immediately killing him. Two bullets hit Nishan's feet, and one penetrated his lungs. Nishan survived and was dragged away from his cousin after Israeli soldiers stripped him of his clothes. Nishan suffered from severe internal bleeding, which made him lose his conscience for two days; then, he woke up to find himself handcuffed while two soldiers were standing beside his bed. Despite his critical health condition, he endured lengthy interrogations. After spending eight days in the hospital, he was transferred to "Ofer" prison near Ramallah, where he was withheld until he was released later on bail.
- On May 29, Safi Jawabra (11 years old) was shot at the entrance of the Al-Arroub refugee camp near Hebron as he was going back home from school after completing his final exam. The IOF shot him in the head above his left eye with a rubber-coated metal bullet. After trying to run away, Safi was confronted by another group of soldiers who fired tear gas canisters at him. Now, Safi's left eye only functions at 10 percent.
III. Arbitrary detention
Since the eruption of the second Intifada in September 2000, the IOF has arrested and detained over 19000 Palestinian children. In 2021 alone, Israel detained 1300 Palestinian children. And so far, in 2022, at least 770 Palestinian children have been arrested, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society. Today, there are about 160 children imprisoned in Israeli jails, some as young as 14, including three females: Jannat Zaidat (16) from Hebron, Nufuz Hammad (16) from Jerusalem, and Zamzam Qawasmi (17) from Hebron. The children are distributed in three main prisons: (60) children in “Ofer” prison, (56) children in “Megiddo” prison, and (30) children from Jerusalem and its environs in “Damon” prison, in addition to around 15 children in Israeli detention centers.
During 2022, April and October witnessed the highest number of arbitrary arrests among Palestinian children, with 165 children arrested in April compared to 119 children in October, noting that Jerusalem recorded the highest rate of arrests. Four of the 160 children still in Israeli jails are under administrative detention:
- Anas Abul Rub ( 16 years) from Qabatia (Jenin) was arrested on 17 March 2022
- Jihad Jaber (17 years) from Aqraba (Nablus) was arrested on 3 May 2022
- Suhaib Salameh (17 years ) from Jenin was arrested on 21 October 2022
- Obada Khalil Hammad (17 years) from Silwad (Ramallah) was arrested on 28 June 2022
Palestinian child detainees suffer systematic abuse, including torture, threats, and intimidation. Palestinian children are routinely held in Israeli detention centers under appalling conditions. They are prosecuted under an Israeli military system that denies them their fundamental rights in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
All charters and agreements stipulate and guarantee minimum standards for children's rights, but conditions in Israeli jails fail to meet these standards. Detention rooms are usually overcrowded with only three meters for each child prisoner in addition to the unbearable heat and humidity inside the rooms in summer and cold winter. Israeli prisons lack the necessities of life; children prisoners suffer from lack of food, hygiene, insect infestation, proper ventilation and lighting, medical negligence, and lack of clothing and are completely disconnected from the outside world and are denied family visits as well.
The arrest of Palestinian children at the hands of the IOF is usually accompanied by physical violence, with the children's hands and feet tied. Generally, the investigation is directly conducted in the field, in the military jeep, or on the street. The children are dragged to the checkpoints, strip-searched, and then transferred into a container where they are kept for long hours. Later, they are taken to a small interrogation room and tied to a chair, where they are interrogated for an extended period ranging between 5 to 15 hours. During the interrogations, the children are handcuffed, blindfolded, and their legs shackled. In some cases, on winter days, they are left standing for long hours in the rain. If they refuse to speak, they are shouted at, intimidated, beaten, threatened with death, sexually harassed, or threatened with harm to their families. Most child prisoners are taken to illegal settlements for interrogation, where they are interrogated and tortured without supervision from the International Red Cross or Palestinian lawyers. Besides being kept hungry, they are not allowed to use the toilet and are slapped when they sleep to wake them up. In this situation, the child prisoner faces risk, as they are singled out and forced to sign statements in Hebrew that they have no idea what the contents are.
During interrogations, the Israeli occupation authorities deny Palestinian minors their internationally recognized rights, most notably the rights to know the reason for the arrest, to obtain information, to remain silent, to consult a private lawyer, as well as to inform the family of the reason for the arrest and the place of the investigation.
Below are several examples of Palestinian children assaulted and abused by IOF, whether during detention or interrogation:
- Muhammad Samer Abu Al-Hawa (16 years old) from Al-Tur town in occupied Jerusalem was brutally beaten and abused during his arrest. At dawn, the IOF raided his house and turned everything upside down. Then, he was taken to the Russian Compound interrogation center “Mascobiyeh” where he stayed for 19 days. On May 26, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison and transferred to “Damon Prison.”
- Qassam Iyad A'war (17 years old) from Al-Issawiya in occupied Jerusalem was arrested after raiding and searching his home at 4:00 am. The IOF arrested Qassam after taking his cell phone, tied his hands behind his back, and pulled him out of the house while blindfolded. He was put in the police car and brutally assaulted before being transferred to the Russian Compound interrogation center "Mascobiyeh, " where he endured long hours of interrogation. A court later ruled to extend his detention then he was transferred to "Damon" prison.
- Salem Abu Asida (17 years) was arrested from his home on March 30 at around 2:00 am when a group of soldiers raided his home, breaking the entrance door. As soldiers handcuffed him behind his back, they blindfolded him and dragged him out. They took him to a military post on the outskirts of Tal village, where he stood for hours. It was during this time that he was beaten, assaulted, and harassed by a soldier. Later, he was transferred to an interrogation and detention center, where he spent 13 days in solitary confinement. Interrogations were conducted four times, each for approximately six hours straight ahead while handcuffed. According to Salem: "He was strip-searched in a very humiliating way when he was transferred from Megiddo prison to the court."
- Hussein Attiya (17 years) from the town of Issawiya in occupied Jerusalem was arrested at around 4:00 am when a group of Israeli forces broke into his home and arrested him. They tied him and dragged him down the stairs in a harmful way, physically assaulting him until they put him in the military vehicle. He was transferred to an interrogation center, where he remained in the corridor until noon, kneeling on his knees with his face against the wall, handcuffed, and forbidden to move. Whenever an Israeli police officer passed by, he would hit him with his hand and leg. During the hours-long interrogation, the interrogator severely beat him and knocked him on the ground to confess to the charges against him. On the recent beating he experienced in "Ramla prison," Hussein said: "I was transferred to Ramal prison with other prisoners, and they put us in sort of cages. Two prisoners quarreled, and we tried to end the fight. The prison's guards came and sprayed tear gas on us and beat us, even though I tried to explain that I had nothing to do with the flight. Still, no one heard us, then they took us all to a small room where there were no cameras and started beating us ferociously, causing me wounds and bruises all over my body, the marks of the beating are still clear on my body."
- Shadi Suhail Khoury (16 years old), from Jerusalem, was arrested by the IOF from his home at dawn on October 18. According to a testimony by his mother: "A large occupation force stormed our house at 5:00 am and asked about my son Shadi to arrest him. Shadi asked to change his clothes, and a verbal altercation occurred between them; then the forces attacked Shadi, pushed him to the ground violently, and started beating him on the face and head while he was screaming. The blood was flowing from my son's head; at that time, we tried to push the soldiers away, but they threatened to end the life of my husband Sohail, and my son Youssef with their pistols. While Shadi's blood was running down the floor, they pulled him from his neck barefoot and in pajamas."
- Abdel Rahman Abdullah (17 years) from Tulkarem was attacked and arrested by Israeli forces on November 7 while visiting his brother Ashraf Abdullah in "Majiddo" prison. Abdullah has leukemia and needs regular checkups and medical examinations. In addition to neglecting his health, the Israeli Prisons Authority refuses to release him.
IV. Israeli Settlers' Violence
Settlers' violence and terrorism against Palestinian children continue unabated, taking various forms, such as physical assaults, intimidation, ramming, and kidnapping. During the reporting period, Israeli settlers committed more than 1187 attacks against Palestinians, of which more than 30 attacks targeted Palestinian children. These attacks, according to OCHA, led to the injury of at least 254 Palestinians, including 24 children.
- On November 19, a group of illegal settlers severely beat the child Yazan Al-Rajabi (14 years) near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba east of Hebron. Al-Rajabi suffered multiple cuts and bruises to his face.
- On October 27, an illegal settler driving his vehicle in Jabal Jallis area in the Old City of Hebron ran over the child Mansour Sufyan Al-Zaro (12 years), leaving him injured with bruises.
- On October 10, a group of illegal settlers raided the Khallet Hassan area in Bidya town and assaulted Raed Abu Saif and his son Arafat (17 years) while picking olives, causing them bruises and injuries.
- On May 17, a group of illegal settlers near the village of Al-Jiftlik threw stones at Palestinian vehicles, leading to the injury of a Palestinian man driving his car with his 3-year-old daughter, who was injured by window fragments.
- On May 22, a group of illegal settlers raided the town of Qusra and assaulted two children, Sa'ad Sayl and Ehab Hassan, causing them bruises. A head injury forced Sa'ad to go to the hospital, and the settlers tried to kidnap Ehab.
- On August 11, a group of illegal settlers physically assaulted Ahmed Khatatbeh (14 years old), a resident of Beit Furik town, causing him to have bruises all over his body and breaking his left hand.
V. Home Demolitions
So far, in 2022, the IOF have carried out 336 demolition operations in Palestinian cities, refugee camps, villages, and Bedouin communities. According to UNOCHA, the Israeli authorities destroyed 788 Palestinian structures, including 112 donor-funded structures and 164 homes. Consequently, around 884 people were displaced, including 429 children, and over 4,400 people were otherwise affected, including at least 2,100 children.
- On November 2, IOF demolished two houses in Jalbun village in Jenin district, a 200-meter square house of two floors and another 120-meter square house, both owned by citizens Khaled Abul Rub and Amir Abu Seif. The IOF claimed that the owners had no building permits and that the houses were close to the annexation wall.
- On October 2, the IOF demolished a house in Silwan owned by Ala Al-A’war under the pretext of building without a permit.
- On June 2, the IOF demolished three residential rooms in the Al-Fakhit area, southeastern Yatta town in Hebron district, in addition to four other tents, agricultural barracks, and two cattle pens owned by the brothers Mohammad, Bilal, and Bashar Abu Sabha.
For more information, check the latest joint submission by Al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Community Action Center at Al-Quds University, to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for its list of issues on Israel's third periodic report. The joint report examines Israel's systematic human rights violations against the Palestinian people, including Palestinian children, in occupied Palestine.
 Palestinian Ministry of Health
 National Campaign for the Retrieval of Palestinian and Arab Victims’ Bodies held by Israel
 Defense for Children International (DCI)
 Defense for Children International (DCI)
 Palestinian Prisoners’ Society
 Detention of Children in East Jerusalem https://www.alhaq.org/monitoring-documentation/7027.html
 The Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs
 Unless otherwise indicated, most examples were provided by the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs.
 Palestinian Prisoners Club
 NAD- Palestinian Monitoring Group figures covering until November 20
 UNOCHA figures covering until November 7