Report of the United Nations Secretary-General: Children and Armed Conflict

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Report of the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres

Israel and the State of Palestine

  • The United Nations verified 2,934 grave violations against 1,208 Palestinian children and 9 Israeli children (915 boys, 302 girls) in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and Israel.
  • The United Nations verified the detention of 637 Palestinian children for alleged security offences by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, including 557 in East Jerusalem. Among those children, 85 reported ill-treatment and breaches of due process by Israeli forces while in detention, with 75 per cent reporting having experienced physical violence.
  • A total of 88 children (86 Palestinians, 2 Israelis; 64 boys, 24 girls) were killed in Gaza (69), in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem (17) and in Israel (2), by Israeli forces (78), Palestinian armed groups (8), unidentified perpetrators and explosive remnants of war (2). All 17 children in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, were killed by Israeli forces using live ammunition mainly during demonstrations (9), and in relation to alleged or attempted attacks on Israeli civilians or forces (7). In Gaza, 59 children were killed by air strikes and 1 by live ammunition by Israeli forces during the escalation of hostilities in May, 6 by rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups, one by Israeli forces during a demonstration at the Israel/Gaza perimeter fence, one by explosive remnants of war and one by unidentified perpetrators. The two Israeli children were killed by rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups.
  • A total of 1,128 children (1,121 Palestinians, 7 Israelis; 850 boys, 278 girls) were maimed in Gaza (661), in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem (464) and in Israel (3), by Israeli forces (982), Israeli settlers (28), Palestinian armed groups (46), including Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades (18), Palestinian perpetrators (4), and unidentified perpetrators (68), including by explosive remnants of war (10). The main causes of maiming by Israeli forces were shelling and air strikes (539), tear gas inhalation (153), rubber-coated metal bullets (133) and live ammunition (116). Of the children maimed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, 196 were maimed during demonstrations against settlement activities. A total of 43 Palestinian children were maimed by Palestinian armed groups, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades (18), in Gaza, by rockets fired during the escalation in May (18), as a result of the explosion of stored weapons (23) and as a result of accidents involving children who were near to military training exercises (2). The 7 Israeli children were maimed by rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, striking Israel (3), and by Palestinian perpetrators during stone-throwing incidents in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem (4).
  • The United Nations verified 134 attacks on schools (22) and hospitals (112), including on protected persons in relation to schools and/or hospitals (61), attributed to Israeli forces (128), Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades (5) and Palestinian armed groups (1), in Gaza (72), the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem (61) and in Israel (1). Incidents involved air strikes (67), attacks on medical personnel (59), the explosion of munitions stored in the vicinity of schools and/or hospitals (5), threats against school personnel (2) and a rocket attack (1). Separately, 156 other interferences with health (54) and education (102) by Israeli forces (152) and Israeli settlers (4) were verified. Most involved Israeli forces firing weapons at health facilities (4), at ambulances and paramedics (45), at or in the vicinity of schools (27) and closures of checkpoints or the denial of teachers’ and students’ access through checkpoints (45). Of concern, in the context of a subsequent investigation into how to secure a school of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East that had been struck by two Israeli missiles, the existence of a possible tunnel under the school was discovered, for potential use by Palestinian armed groups, with no indication of the existence of any entry or exit points for the tunnel within the premises.
  • The denial of humanitarian access by Israeli forces (1,582) and Palestinian armed groups (1) was verified in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in Gaza. Some 38 % of permit applications to Israeli authorities for children to exit through the Erez crossing to access specialized medical treatment outside Gaza were delayed or denied, affecting 1,581 applications (933 boys, 648 girls).

Developments and concerns

  • I welcome the collaboration extended by Israeli and Palestinian parties to my Special Representative.
  • I am alarmed by the increase in grave violations against children, particularly the dramatic rise in killing and maiming, including in the context of the escalation of hostilities in May 2021, despite commitments by Israeli and Palestinian parties to implement corrective measures and strengthen protection frameworks following consultations with my Special Representative (A/75/873–S/2021/437). I urge the Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law, including by ensuring that operations are conducted in line with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, and to immediately correct and reinforce existing measures to ensure the protection of children affected by armed conflict. I reiterate my call upon all parties to continue to engage with my Special Representative and the United Nations, including at the country level, to end and prevent grave violations against children and to better protect children and respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
  • 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, and by the persistent lack of accountability for these violations. I express serious concern regarding the excessive use of force and reiterate that security forces must exercise maximum restraint and use lethal force only when it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect life and put in place preventive and protective measures to end and prevent any excessive use of force against children. I note the existing procedures, which have been shared with my Special Representative, and I urge Israeli authorities to review and strengthen their procedures to prevent any excessive use of force. I further urge Israel to continue to investigate each case where live ammunition was used, as required by procedure, and to pursue accountability for violations against children. I exhort Israel to better protect schools.
  • I am concerned by the increase in the number of children detained by Israel and by the reports by children of physical violence directed against them during detention. I reiterate my call upon Israel to uphold international juvenile justice standards, including the use of detention as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time, to end the administrative detention of children, and to prevent any violence and ill-treatment in detention.
  • I am concerned by the increase in the killing and maiming of children by Palestinian armed groups and by recurrent incidents of recruitment and use of children. I call upon Palestinian armed groups to cease the recruitment and use of children and to abide by their domestic and international legal obligations. I call upon Palestinian armed groups to cease all indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars from densely populated areas in Gaza towards Israeli civilian population centres. I urge all Palestinian armed groups to protect children, including by preventing them from being exposed to the risk of violence or by abstaining from instrumentalizing them for political purposes.

  • PCHR: Palestinian Civilian Killed and 7 Others, Including 2 Journalists, Wounded by the Israeli Occupation Forces Fire in Nablus

  • PCHR: Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Weekly Update: September 29 – October 5, 2022)

  • Israeli Soldiers Kill 2 Palestinians, Injure Another, Near Ramallah

  • OCHA: West Bank Demolitions and Displacement | July-August 2022

  • PCHR: Palestinian Teenager Shot Dead by Israeli Occupation Forces in East Jerusalem

  • OCHA: Protection of Civilians Report | September 13-26, 2022

  • PCHR: Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Weekly Update – September 22 – 28, 2022)

  • Israeli Forces Kill 4, Injure 44, Bomb Home in Jenin Refugee Camp

  • Israeli Forces Kill a Palestinian Young Man, Injure Three, and Detain Two, in Nablus

  • PCHR: Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Weekly Update: September 15-21, 2022)

  • OCHA: Protection of Civilians Report | August 30 – September 12, 2022

  • PCHR: Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Weekly Update: September 8 – 14, 2022)

  • PCHR Condemns Killing of Palestinian Child and Imposition of Collective Punishment Measures in West Bank

  • PCHR: Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Weekly Update – September 01-07 , 2022)

  • PCHR: Palestinian Killed by Israeli Occupation Forces Fire in Tubas

  • PCHR: Palestinian Civilian Killed and 17 Others Injured, including 6 Children, Woman and Paramedic, by Israeli Occupation Forces’ Fire in Jenin

  • Israeli Army Shoots Two Young Men, Killing One, Near Jenin

  • OCHA: Protection of Civilians Report | August 16-29, 2022

  • PCHR: Under Crimes of Excessive Use of Force, Palestinian Civilian Deadly Shot by Israeli Occupation Forces in Ramallah

  • Israeli Forces Shoot and Kill 2 Palestinian Young Men in Al-Biereh and Nablus

  • PCHR: Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Weekly Update | August 25 – 31, 2022)

  • Israeli Occupation Forces Detain Several Palestinian Civilians, Shoot One, in the West Bank

  • Israeli Occupation Forces Bombard a Palestinian Home, Injure 45, Detain 2, Near Nablus

  • Israeli Army Injures Eleven Palestinian Civilians, Detain One, Near Jenin

  • Israeli Army Shoots, Injures Several Palestinians at Protests in the Occupied West Bank

  • Autopsy Results Show Slain Palestinian Young Man Shot Three Times

  • PCHR: Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Weekly Update for August 18-24, 2022)

  • Israeli Army Detains Several Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank

  • Another Palestinian Young Man Succumbs to His Wounds, After Being Shot by the Israeli Army Two Weeks Ago in Nablus

  • WAFA: Over 150 Organizations Demand International Community Stand Against Raids and Closures of 7 Palestinian Organizations

  • Israeli Forces Detain Several Palestinians, Including Children, from the West Bank

  • OCHA: Protection of Civilians Report | August 2-15, 2022

  • Israeli Forces Kill a Palestinian Man, Injure Another in Tubas

  • PCHR: Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Weekly Update – August 11-17, 2022)

  • Israeli Army Kills One Palestinian Young Man, Injures Dozens in Nablus & Ramallah

  • Occupation Forces Shoot and Kill a Palestinian Young Man in East Jerusalem

  • Occupation Forces Injure Dozens of Palestinian Civilians at Weekly Protests in the West Bank

  • Occupation Soldiers Detain 15 Palestinian Civilians, Including 2 Children in the West Bank

  • Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Weekly Update | August 04 – 10, 2022)

  • WAFA: Summary of Palestine News | Wednesday August 10, 2022

  • Israeli Soldiers Shoot and Kill a Palestinian Teen, Injure Two More, One Seriously, in Hebron

  • PCHR: 3 Palestinians Killed, including Child, and 40 Others Wounded – 5 in Critical Condition, After IOF Targeted House With Gunfire and Missiles in Nablus

  • Israel Kills 44 Palestinians, Injures 360 in Three Day Military Onslaught

  • Egyptian-Brokered Ceasefire in Effect Between Israel and Gaza

  • AL-HAQ: Urgent Appeal to UN Special Procedures – Take All Necessary Measures to Cease Violence and Ensure Humanitarian Supplies to Occupied Gaza Strip

  • OCHA: Protection of Civilians Report | July 19 – August 1, 2022

  • On the Second Day of Aggression Against the Gaza Strip, Israel Kills 14 Palestinian Civilians, Injures 143

  • Analysis: Why Resistance Matters – Palestinians are Challenging Israel’s Unilateralism, Dominance

  • Israeli Military Launches a Brutal Assault on Gaza, Kills 10, Injures 60 Palestinian Civilians


Published by I Can Handle the Truth

I am a journalist, editor, and activist for the human rights for Palestinians across the world. Long Live Palestine!

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