Israeli Violence Against Palestinian Children Illustrates Why We Must #SpeakUpForPalestine


“In its annual Children and Armed Conflict report, the UN said Israeli forces killed 78 Palestinian children, maimed another 982 and detained 637 in 2021 alone.”

Matt Willgress, Labour & Palestine, previews next week’s rally on why it’s time for Labour to Speak up for Palestine.

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, said this week that Israel should be added to a UN blacklist if its violence against Palestinian children is repeated this year.

In another example of how not a month goes by without international condemnation of the Israeli state’s human rights crimes in illegally occupied Palestine, in its annual Children and Armed Conflict report, the UN said Israeli forces killed 78 Palestinian children, maimed another 982 and detained 637 in 2021 alone.

In this report, in total the UN recorded 2,934 grave violations against 1,208 Palestinian children and nine Israeli children in the occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel.

In the blockaded Gaza Strip, 69 Palestinian children were killed, the majority during Israel’s 11-day illegal bombardment campaign, which was condemned across the world and led to massive protests, including here in the UK.

Meanwhile, the report also noted that all 17 children killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, were fatally shot using live ammunition, often during demonstrations.

In terms of the 637 Palestinian children detained in this period, the report outlines that 85 reported ill-treatment and breaches of due process by Israeli forces, with 75 percent reporting having experienced physical violence.

Speaking on the report, Guterres said, “I am shocked by the number of children killed and maimed by Israeli forces during hostilities, in air strikes on densely populated areas and through the use of live ammunition during law enforcement operations.” He added: “Should the situation repeat itself in 2022, without meaningful improvement, Israel should be listed.”

This is likely to – and should – happen as so far in 2022, at least 15 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli forces, according to the Geneva-based Defence for Children International’s Palestine chapter (DCI-P).

The annual report, which records grave violations against children in conflict areas around the world, includes a ‘blacklist’ at the end of each report, and previously campaigners for Palestinian human rights have complained that Israel has never been on the list.

This UN report on human rights abuses against Palestinian children – which follows a report from Amnesty International last year officially condemning Israel practising apartheid – is yet another illustration of why internationally we must speak up for Justice for Palestine.

Despite the clear policies passed by Labour Conference in 2018, 2019 and 2021 – overwhelmingly in each case – the Labour Front Bench since Keir Starmer’s election as leader has too often not been vocal in backing the rights of the Palestinian people. It’s up to us to build the mass pressure to change this situation – please support Labour & Palestine’s ongoing work.

Featured image: Rally in support of the Palestinian struggle. Image credit: Montecruz Foto, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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