Children and Armed Conflict – Report of the Secretary-General (A/74/845–S/2020/525) (Excerpts)

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Israel and the State of Palestine

  1. The United Nations verified 3,908 violations against 1,565 Palestinian and 6 Israeli children (1,486 boys, 85 girls).
  2. No incidents of the recruitment and use of children were verified. Of concern, in Gaza, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades and Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades organized weeklong “summer camps” for adults and children as young as 14, exposing them to military content and activities. One child reported that the Israeli forces attempted to recruit him as an informant.
  3. A total of 529 Palestinian children (528 boys, 1 girl) were detained for alleged security offences by Israeli forces (527) in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem (527, including 374 in East Jerusalem), and by de facto authorities in Gaza (2). The United Nations received testimonies of 166 children who reported ill-treatment and breaches of due process by Israeli forces, including physical violence and one threat of sexual violence.
  4. A total of 32 Palestinian children (29 boys, 3 girls) and 1 Israeli girl were killed in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem (6), and the Gaza Strip (27). Most casualties were attributed to Israeli forces (29) and caused by live ammunition (15), air strikes (10) or tear-gas canisters (4). One case was attributed to a Palestinian armed group, while two children were killed in incidents involving explosive remnants of war. One Israeli girl was killed by an improvised explosive device in the occupied West Bank, attributed to unidentified perpetrators.
  5. A total of 1,539 Palestinian children (1,460 boys, 79 girls) and 8 Israeli children (5 boys, 3 girls,) were maimed. Casualties were attributed to Israeli forces (1,496), Israeli settlers (19), Palestinian armed groups (7), Hamas (3), explosive remnants of war (17), unidentified perpetrators (3) and stabbing attacks not attributed to any party (2). The causes of maiming and injuries of children by Israeli forces were live ammunition (415), tear-gas inhalation (358), tear-gas canisters (311), rubber-coated metal bullets (229), ammunition shrapnel (121), air strikes (34), physical assault (22) and other causes (6). Children were maimed by Israeli forces during demonstrations (1,036) and other circumstances (1) at the Israel-Gaza perimeter fence, during air strikes by Israeli forces on Gaza (34) and on the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem (425). Of the eight Israeli children maimed, three were injured in Hamas rocket attacks. The maiming or injuring of 532 additional children (510 boys, 22 girls) by Israeli forces during demonstrations in Gaza in 2018 was verified at a later date, in 2019.
  6. Some 208 attacks on schools (15) and hospitals (193) and protected personnel, attributed to Israeli forces (201) and settlers (7), occurred in Gaza (168) and in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem (40), and involved hospitals being damaged by air strikes (1) or affected by tear gas disrupting their functioning (3), incidents of injuring or killing of medical personnel (189) and threats against teachers or students (15). The United Nations verified 4 incidents of the military use of schools by Israeli forces and 242 other interferences with education by Israeli forces (229) and Israeli settlers (13), affecting over 48,000 Palestinian children, mostly involving Israeli forces firing live ammunition, tear gas or sound grenades in and around schools. Conflict escalation significantly affected children’s education: rocket fire by Palestinian armed groups, on the one hand, and air strikes by Israeli forces on Gaza, on the other, each caused school closures for five days, affecting 1.3 million children respectively. Incendiary balloons were launched from Gaza towards Israel, some of which reportedly landed near schools.
  7. The denial of humanitarian access by Israeli forces was verified in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in Gaza. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, medical and other emergency services were prevented from reaching children injured in four incidents. As for Gaza, 23 per cent of applications to Israeli authorities to gain access to specialized medical treatment outside Gaza were delayed until after the scheduled appointment and 5 per cent were denied, affecting 2,127 children (1,281 boys, 846 girls).

Developments and concerns

  1. I note the decrease in the killing and maiming of children but remain extremely concerned by the high incidence of this violation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. I welcome the increased dialogue on grave violations of Israel and the State of Palestine with my Special Representative and the United Nations on the ground, following my previous report, and request my Special Representative to continue her efforts to engage with all parties to end grave violations against children and to further examine grave violations against children, including recruitment and use by armed groups and killing and maiming by Israeli forces.
  2. I urge all parties to end and prevent grave violations against children, in particular killing and maiming, and to apply all feasible measures to ensure the protection of, and care for, children affected by armed conflict.
  3. I urge Israel to put in place measures to end any excessive use of force against children and to ensure accountability in all cases involving the killing and maiming of children. I reiterate my call upon Israel to uphold international juvenile justice standards, as well as to cease the use of administrative detention for children and end all forms of ill-treatment in detention or any attempted recruitment of detained children as informants, and I exhort Israel to better protect schools as places of learning.
  4. I urge all Palestinian armed groups to uphold their responsibility to ensure the safety of children, including by preventing them from being exposed to the risk of violence or by abstaining from instrumentalizing them for political purposes, including by exposing them to military content and activities. I call upon Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza to cease all indiscriminate launching of rockets, mortars and incendiary balloons.

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Document symbol: A/74/845
Document Type: Annual report, Arabic text, Chinese text, French text, Report, Russian text, Secretary-General Report, Spanish text
Document Sources: General Assembly, Secretary-General
Country: Israel, Palestine
Subject: Armed conflict, Children
Publication Date: 09/06/2020
2021-06-22T10:25:26-04:00
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