Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel
The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/67/845–S/2013/245) issued on 15 May 2013.
In 2012, Palestinian and Israeli children continued to be affected by the prevailing situation of conflict. In the West Bank, the number of Palestinian children killed and injured during demonstrations and violence by Israeli settlers remained a serious concern. Throughout the reporting period, there were several escalations of violence between armed groups in Gaza and Israeli forces that resulted in the killing and injuring of Palestinian children and the injuring of Israeli children. During the reporting period, 50 Palestinian children (40 boys and 10 girls) were killed and 665 (640 boys and 25 girls) injured in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and 17 Israeli children were injured in Israel, marking a significant increase compared with 2011.
In the West Bank, four Palestinian boys were killed and 552 Palestinian children, including 16 girls, injured during the reporting period. Of the children killed, two were victims of unexploded ordnance and two were shot by Israeli forces during demonstrations. On 12 December 2012, a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed at a checkpoint at the entrance to Al-Masharqa neighbourhood in the old city of Hebron. Since mid-November 2012, an increase in the use of lethal force by Israeli forces has been observed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, also affecting children. A total of 436 Palestinian children were injured during demonstrations in clashes with the Israeli forces: 69 during military operations involving live ammunition, physical assault, gas canisters, rubber-coated metal bullets or tear gas inhalation; 39 as a result of settler violence; and 8 as a result of unexploded ordnance. Although no children were killed by Israeli settlers in 2012, 18 were injured as a result of physical assault, stone throwing or the use of Molotov cocktails or live ammunition. A total of 21 children were injured as a result of intervention by Israeli forces following clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers.
In Gaza, 46 Palestinian children were killed during the reporting period, the vast majority in November 2012 during an operation in Gaza codenamed “Pillar of Defence”. During the first two weeks of November, armed violence escalated intermittently as the Israeli forces attacked various targets inside Gaza and Palestinian armed groups fired rockets into southern Israel. Between 14 and 21 November 2012, 32 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli air strikes. In three other incidents, Palestinian children were allegedly killed by Palestinian rockets aimed at Israel that fell short and landed in Gaza. Outside the November escalation, another 11 children were killed in Gaza: 3 as a result of Israeli air strikes; 3 by Israeli tank shells; 1 boy during an incursion into Gaza by Israeli forces; 1 boy as a result of mishandling a weapon found at home; 1 boy while mishandling unexploded ordnance; and 2 other children as a result of Palestinian rockets aimed at Israel that fell short and landed in Gaza.
A further 113 children were injured in Gaza as a result of Israeli military operations, during demonstrations or as a result of unexploded ordnance. In one particular incident, on 30 March 2012, 23 boys were injured during demonstrations, 21 as a result of the use of live ammunition by Israeli forces and 2 owing to severe tear gas inhalation.
During the reporting period, 17 Israeli children were injured. In November 2012, during the escalation of violence in Gaza, Palestinian armed groups launched rockets at southern Israel. On 15 November 2012, 14 Israeli children, including an 8-month-old baby, were injured. Three other Israeli children were injured inside the West Bank. On 10 July 2012, two settler children were injured during clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians in Al-Khalil neighbourhood of the old city of Hebron. On 8 April 2012, a girl was injured when the vehicle in which she was travelling was hit by an object thrown by an unidentified person on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
On 3 June 2012, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy was reportedly killed by an Israeli air strike on a motorcycle on which members of the Abdul Qader Al-Husseini armed group were travelling in Abasan, southern Gaza. On 21 February 2012, Israeli forces reportedly used a Palestinian boy as a human shield. The 15-year-old boy from Beit Ummar was taken from his home by Israeli forces and forced to walk in front of a military jeep at which villagers were throwing stones, in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court order forbidding the use of human shields. During the reporting period, four other cases of attempted use of children by Israeli forces for military intelligence purposes were reported in the Megiddo and Al-Jalame interrogation sites. These cases involved Palestinian boys between 15 and 17 years of age who were arrested and offered money, entry to Israel and a car or mobile telephone in exchange for intelligence on activities in their villages.
In 2012, Palestinian children continued to be arrested and detained by Israeli forces for alleged security offences and prosecuted in juvenile military courts. At the end of December 2012, 194 boys and 1 girl, of between 12 and 17 years of age, were in Israeli military detention for alleged security infractions. Of those children, 119 were being held in pretrial detention and 76 had been convicted and were serving a sentence. According to the Israeli Prison Service, 73 child detainees were transferred to prisons inside Israel during the reporting period. Such transfers contravene article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
In 2012, in relation to those cases of military detention, 115 cases of ill-treatment were documented through affidavits taken by lawyers. All 115 Palestinian boys reported being subjected to cruel and degrading ill-treatment by the Israeli forces and the Israeli police, including but not limited to the practice of blindfolding and painful restraint during arrest, transfer and interrogation; strip-searching; verbal abuse; physical violence, including beating and kicking; and threats of violence. A total of 21 boys were also held in solitary confinement for a period ranging from 1 to 20 days at Al-Jalame, Hasharon and Petah Tikva interrogation sites, in addition to the Megiddo prison inside Israel.
On 1 August 2012, Israeli Military Order No. 1685 established that children arrested and detained by the Israeli forces must be brought before a judge within four days of arrest, instead of the previously allowed eight days. Another military order, issued on 28 November 2012, which will enter into force in April 2013, will further halve the length of pretrial detention, stipulating that children under 14 years of age should be brought before a judge within 24 hours of arrest and children between 14 and 18 years of age within 48 hours. Although this represents progress, the duration remains double the maximum pretrial detention period for Israeli children under Israeli juvenile law.
In 2012, a significant number of attacks on schools and education facilities continued to be reported in both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. A total of 321 cases were reported in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in 2012, compared with 46 in 2011. Seven attacks against Israeli schools were reported.
A total of 25 incidents of attacks on schools were reported in the West Bank in 2012. In 11 instances, the Israeli forces entered or attempted to enter school premises during search operations, to remove Palestinian flags from the rooftops of schools or for other unknown reasons, causing disruption to classes and sometimes damage to schools. In another four instances, the Israeli forces fired live ammunition or tear gas at schools. In a worrisome spike in incidents, on four separate occasions, Israeli settlers from Yitzhar settlement threw stones at the school in Urif (Nablus). In one particular instance, on 23 April 2012, the stone-throwing by settlers triggered clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces and settlers from the Yitzhar settlement, after which tear gas was fired at the Palestinians, injuring eight children. In addition, on six occasions, Israeli forces also entered the Haj Ma’zoz Al Masri Secondary School for Girls in Nablus to secure the area for Israeli settlers during night-time religious events.
The vast majority of the incidents affecting schools in Gaza occurred between 14 and 21 November 2012, during the Israeli military operation. A total of 285 school buildings suffered damage as a result of Israeli air strikes on nearby locations, including 60 United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) school buildings. Six UNRWA health centres also suffered damage during the escalation in November.
In southern Israel, six school buildings were damaged by rockets launched by Palestinian armed groups during the hostilities in November 2012. One additional Israeli school in Beersheba was damaged on 11 March 2012 by rocket fire from Gaza. No injuries to children were reported as a result of the incident, given that the school had been closed that day as a precautionary measure.