Defence for Children International recently published an analysis of human rights violations against Palestinian children during 2004. The report includes case studies, DCI field documentation and analysis of developments regarding the impact of the Wall on Palestinian children’s lives.
In the year under review, Palestinian children’s rights were systematically violated on a daily basis by Israeli occupation forces. Often these abuses were perpetrated directly against individual children who were killed, injured, arrested or humiliated by military personnel. But just as frequently, these rights violations stemmed indirectly from general attacks or collective punishments imposed upon the wider Palestinian population.
Closures, curfews and movement restrictions have continued unabated, plunging the Palestinian economy further into crisis. Household income levels continue to drop, unemployment has increased to 34 percent on average, with as many as one-in-three Palestinians out of work in the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, construction of the Separation Wall in the West Bank has resulted in the confiscation of vast swathes of land, demolition of hundreds of homes and the imposition of further restrictions on the movement of Palestinian citizens. The implication of these measures for Palestinian children, and thus for the long-term development of society, are enormous.
Education standards are declining as hundreds are routinely prevented by movement restrictions from getting to school, while many more are being forced to drop out of education altogether either to help supplement diminishing family incomes or because their parents can no longer afford to send them to school. Rising food insecurity is leading to increasing levels of malnutrition among children and other health indicators continue to decline, while casualties and injuries grow.
Despite clear evidence and while international recognition that Israel bears full responsibility for the appalling circumstances in which many Palestinians find themselves, the Israeli authorities have done nothing to try and redress the situation. On the contrary, the government repeatedly implements policies and orders military operations that have no strategic purpose other than to heighten the suffering of the Palestinian population.
The aim of this report is to shed light on both the major rights violations and the cumulative impact of the daily abuses which tragically play an integral role in the normal childhood of every Palestinian child living in the occupied Palestinian territories today.
To download Surviving the Present, Facing the Future (PDF) click here.