FROM SEPTEMBER 29, 2000 through March 27, 2003, the violence in occupied Palestine and Israel claimed the lives of at least 419 Palestinian and 93 Israeli children under the age of 18.
Remember These Children lists these 512 children side by side. The documentation, though painful, conveys the personal reality of these terrible statistics. Arranged chronologically by date of death, each entry includes the child’s name, hometown, how the child was killed, and, where available, the location of the fatal injury.
Viewed in this fashion, the waste in human life is almost too great to contemplate.
Yet how can one forget the terrible month of November 2000, during which Israeli soldiers and settlers killed 40 children, at least one per day, on all but five days of the entire month?
How can one forget the single Palestinian suicide bombing that cut short the lives of 12 teenagers in a single horrible moment outside a Tel Aviv disco on June 1, 2001?
How can one not mourn for Khalil Moghrabi, 11, shot to death by an Israeli soldier in Rafah on July 7, 2001, while resting on a sand dune after a football game watching the sunset? Or for 16-year-old Rami Gharib, of El Khader village near Bethlehem, killed on April 17, 2001 by Israeli gunfire as he sat with his family in their home eating dinner?
How can one not mourn for Naftali Lanzkorn, 13, of Petah Tikva and Eliran Rosenberg-Zayat, 15, of Givat Shmuel, killed by a suicide bomber as they waited on March 28, 2001 for a bus to take them to school?
Even infants and the unborn are not spared. In two days in February 2002, three pregnant women were shot: two Palestinians trying to pass Israeli roadblocks to reach the hospital in Nablus, and an Israeli settler in Sour Bethlehem traveling on a West Bank road. Twelve Palestinian mothers were stopped at Israeli-manned checkpoints and prevented from reaching hospitals to have their babies.
And the slaughter continues. Israel’s invasion of Palestinian territory in April left more than 30 Palestinian children dead. Many more bodies remain buried in the rubble. Many may never be found. Palestinian and Israeli children killed in April and subsequent months are not included in the list that follows.
The children on these pages did not present a danger to their killers, whether they were Israeli soldiers or Palestinian militants. We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of every child who has been killed.
To remember and mourn, however, is not enough; one must also act to stop the carnage. At the end of the booklet one of us tells you how his wife found a constructive outlet for her grief and anger.
We ask you to add your voice to the call for an end to the killing of children, for a just peace in the region, for a fair resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. You might wish to call for an end to Israel’s 35-year illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Or you might invoke international law, U.N. resolutions, or the Geneva Conventions. At the very least you might wish to support the deployment of international observers in the region. We are confident that, in your own way, you will want to save the children whom the world appears to have forsaken.
* American Educational Trust
* Americans for Middle East Understanding
* Black Voices for Peace
* Jews for Justice in Palestine and Israel