ISRAEL-OPT: Israel-Palestinian Conflict Takes Its Toll On Children

New York, 5 June 2007 – UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy deplored the number of casualties and the suffering of children in the 40 year conflict between Israel and Palestine. "Two generations of Palestinian and Israeli children have already suffered from the consequences of the conflict. The figures are alarming. Peace must come for the sake of these children and the future generations", she said. Ms. Coomaraswamy strongly condemned the killing of two children by the Israeli Defense Forces in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza strip, on June 1st as well as the continuous indiscriminate rockets firing from Gaza into Israeli civilian areas that recently forced families to flee their home. "The situation continues to feed the vicious circle of trauma on both sides and it has to stop. Security for children needs to be ensured in the oPt and in Israel", added the UN Representative. The 2007 report of Amnesty International reveals that, since September 2000, Israeli forces have killed some 800 Palestinian children and the Palestinian armed groups some 120 Israeli children. Moverover, according to UNICEF, since January 2007, at least 20 Palestinian children have died in the Palestinian internal fighting and more than 11 due to the conflict with Israel. In addition, 380 children remain in Israeli detention facilities outside the West Bank and Gaza, in contradiction to the Geneva Conventions.# # #For further in formation, please contact Laurence Gérard, Office of the Special Representative for Children & Armed Conflict. Office: +1212-963-0984 – gerardl@un.orgWebsite: www.un.org/children/conflict