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A Scarred Childhood: Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Children in the Occupied West Bank in 2022

12:00 Apr 12 2022 Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT) الأراضي الفلسطينية West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza

A Scarred Childhood: Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Children in the Occupied West Bank in 2022 A Scarred Childhood: Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Children in the Occupied West Bank in 2022 A Scarred Childhood: Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Children in the Occupied West Bank in 2022 A Scarred Childhood: Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Children in the Occupied West Bank in 2022 A Scarred Childhood: Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Children in the Occupied West Bank in 2022 A Scarred Childhood: Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Children in the Occupied West Bank in 2022
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Photos:
Palestinian boy arrested after riding his bike near Israeli soldiers. November 29, 2019 Published by IMEMC News

Chart of Palestinian Children Martyrs (from Greek martur ‘witness’). Photo by C Abed Rahim Khatib/Shutterstock Published by IMEMC News

The brother of a Palestinian boy killed during Israel’s May 2021 attack on Gaza cries during his funeral. (Reuters) Published by IMEMC News

Palestinian student Mohammed Abu Hussain from Gaza, who lost his leg after being shot by an Israeli sniper during “Great March of Return” demonstrations, sits on a chair holding his crutches at the playground of his school in Gaza City, Gaza on 3 September 2018. (Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency) Published by IMEMC News

Shams a-Din Aazem at home, this week. Credit: Alex Levac Published by Haaretz

Shams a-Din Aazem and his father, Amin, this week. Shams says he wasn’t scared by his confrontation with the IDF. Says Amin: “Of course he was scared. Soldiers all around and he wouldn’t be scared?” Credit: Alex Levac
Published by Haaretz
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Reposted from State of Palestine Negotiations Affairs Dept., April 12, 2022

For over five decades, Palestinian children and their families have experienced the injustices of the Israeli occupation. To our children, this occupation has served as a school of daily experiential learning.

This happens at Israeli-monitored checkpoints that fragment our towns and restrict our movement; during clashes where Israeli occupation forces shoot and sometimes kill, unarmed Palestinians; during repressive curfews, closures, home raids, and demolitions; through settler violence, and the day-to-day humiliations faced by a people under occupation.

Undoubtedly, the occupying Power has constituted an informal curriculum, whose master teachers have instilled and cultivated existential fear, a profound sense of insecurity, loss, bitterness, and anger in the hearts and minds of our children.

The impact of Israel’s oppressive policies against our children, in violation of international law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is tremendous and far-reaching since they touch not only the five senses but leave deep physical, mental, psychological, emotional, and spiritual scars that are hard to heal given the continued occupation.

In over twenty years and based on documentation by Defense for Children International- Palestine (DCIP), more than 2,200 Palestinian children were killed by the Israeli occupying forces and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory. At the end of 2021, the same organization conducted an investigation and concluded that last year was the “deadliest year for Palestinian children since 2014.”

Since the beginning of the year, Israel, the occupying Power, has continued to terrorize the Palestinian people, including women, children, and the elderly. As a result, many Palestinians have been killed, hundreds injured, and more than a thousand detained.

This is in addition to over 1,400 military raids into Palestinian villages and cities in the occupied West Bank, and 85 demolition operations documented by UNOCHA, which displaced almost 230 people, half of them were children, and otherwise affected nearly 1,140 Palestinians, nearly half of them are children.

On the occasion of Palestinian Child Day on 5 April and the Palestinian Prisoner Day on 17 April, this report provides an overview of the various Israeli violations committed by Israel’s occupying forces and settlers during the first three months of 2022[1] in the occupied West Bank against our children, who represent nearly 44% of the entire Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

I. KILLINGS
In the first three months of 2022, the Israeli occupying forces (IOF) killed 24 Palestinians, five of which are under the age of 18: Mohammad Abu Salah (17) from Al-Yamoun town in Jenin, Mohammad Salah (14) from Al- Khadder town in Bethlehem, Shadi Najem (18) from Jenin refugee camp, Nader Rayan (17) from Balata refugee camp in Nablus, and Sanad Abu Attiya (17) from Jenin refugee camp.

The bodies of the following Palestinian children martyrs remain withheld in Israeli custody[2]:

Mohammad Nasser Trereh (17) from Hebron since 30 June 2016
Khaled Abdel A’al (17) from Gaza since 2 July 2018
Mohammad Dar Yousef (17) from Ramallah since 26 July 2018
Mohammad Abu Mandil (17) from Gaza since 22 January 2020
Mahmoud Kamil (17) from Jenin since 21 December 2020
Atallah Rayyan (17) from Salfit since 26 January 2021
Zuhdi Al-Tawil (17) from Jerusalem since 24 May 2021
Yousef Subuh (16) from Jenin since 26 September 2021
Mohammad Younes (16) from Nablus since 6 December 2021

II. INJURIES
Nearly 1,600 Palestinians were injured[3], including nearly 40 children that were hospitalized according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as well as others who suffocated from tear gas inhalation.

Many of these injuries happened during protests (in Hebron, Budrus village, Qalendia refugee camp, Jerusalem, Beita village, Kufr Qaddoum village, and other places throughout the occupied West Bank) against the IOF, who often responded with rubber-coated metal bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas canisters.

Among the young wounded Palestinians was Ahmad Thawabteh (13), who was briefly arrested and later released after being severely beaten and breaking his leg. Among the injured were 11-year-old children, including Munawar Burqan (details about the incident later in the report) with special needs from occupied Jerusalem, who was seriously injured after a stun grenade was fired at her face by the IOF.

The youngest among the wounded was a 6 months-old baby.

Below are some examples of Palestinian children injured by the IOF and later abused in prison[4]:

– Ahmad Flanna, from Safa town in Ramallah, turned 17 on 4 April. Ahmad was shot five times and abused by the IOF before being arrested on 26 February 2021. While incarcerated, Ahmad had several surgeries at an Israeli hospital without informing his family. The occupation authorities had also interrogated him while in the hospital without regard to his health condition.

Ahmed, a student in the first year of secondary school, is currently detained in “Megiddo” prison. A hearing at an Israeli court was scheduled for 12 April.

– Issa Al-Titi (17) from Al-Aroub Refugee Camp was shot by the IOF in September 2020, leaving him with disfiguring injuries to his face, a fractured skull, and severe head injuries. He stayed in an Israeli hospital for eight days before being transferred to the “Megiddo” prison and then to the “Ofer” prison.

Today, a permanent headache plagues him due to the Israeli prison administration’s indifference to providing him with necessary medical treatment. They also keep him from meeting his brothers, Jihad and Mohammad, who are also detained in Israeli jails. Issa was sentenced to 13 months in prison and was released in January 2022.

– Mohammad Al-Sheikh (17) from Al-Ezzariya was arrested in August 2019 after shooting him with several bullets in the body. Naseem Abu Rumi, his friend, was killed by the IOF in occupied Jerusalem the same day. Mohammed underwent several surgeries in an Israeli hospital after his arrest. He stayed there for ten days before being transferred to the “Ramle” prison clinic, where he remained for four months.

Despite suffering from a bullet near his heart, and shrapnel in his body, Mohammed is currently being held under harsh detention conditions in “Ofer” prison. His health is deteriorating due to Israel’s inhumane policy of medical negligence.

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[1] Unless otherwise indicated, this report is based on the documentation of NAD’s Palestinian Monitory Group

[2] According to the National Campaign for the Retrieval of Palestinian and Arab Victims’ Bodies held by Israel.

[3] Based on the documentation of NAD’s Palestinian Monitory Group, which also includes non-hospitalized cases.

[4] The Palestinian Prisoners Club

[5] The majority of information in this section was provided by the Palestinian Prisoners Club

[6] The Palestinian Prisoners Club

[7] Jerusalem Governorate
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He Has Cancer and a Disability. Israeli Troops Still Cuffed and Detained Him for Hours

Soldiers arrested Shams a-Dim Aazem, 17, on suspicion of throwing stones. But between his cancer and his disability, the boy can barely move around. That didn't save him from being handcuffed and spending five hours in detention

by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac for Haaretz
Apr. 16, 2022 12:48 AM

There is no mistaking Shams a-Din Aazem’s disability. His torso is deformed and rigid and inclines to one side. His arms are as skinny as matches. His face is ashen. Though his intellect is unimpaired, his manner of speech is quiet and strained. His face is anguished. He sits down with difficulty, stands up with difficultly and moves about with difficulty because of his physical adversities and his thin build.

It’s difficult, almost impossible, to imagine a soldier who would dare to arrest a teen in his condition, cuff his hands behind his back and also shove him and possibly kick him. It is no less difficult to imagine this boy throwing stones at soldiers, or at anything. He’s probably not capable of picking up a stone, let alone hurling one. But the Israeli soldiers, who never see the Palestinians they encounter as human beings, are also incapable of identifying a disabled person. Disabilities are associated with human beings, not with Palestinians.

He’s 17, and he lost his mother to brain cancer in 2017. His father finds occasional work in the area where they live. They are six sons and a daughter, in the village of Qaryut in the central West Bank. Because of his condition, Shams has been idle since leaving school in the 10th grade. He was only four when cancer first afflicted him, in the form of a malignant tumor in his spinal cord. Since then, he has undergone treatment at the King Hussein Cancer Center in Amman, the An-Najah National University Hospital in Nablus and at Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem. Today, 13 years after the disease was diagnosed, he continues to get oral chemotherapy and is required to visit a hospital once a month.

His father was compelled to bring his medication to the soldiers who handcuffed his son in order to prove to them that Shams is a cancer patient. The troops showed it to a physician or an army paramedic and only then were they persuaded that the teen is ill. To their utter shame, his gaunt and debilitated appearance wasn’t enough for them.

On Friday, April 1, Shams and two friends went to the southern part of their village, where there is a spectacular view of fields in the valley below. Qaryut is one of the most suffocated villages in the West Bank – surrounded on all sides by the wild settler outposts of the Shiloh Valley, which are strangling the village and seizing control of its remaining lands. The village’s leaders say that Qaryut has already lost more than 16,000 dunams (4,000 acres) of the 22,000 dunams of the land it possessed in 1967. The village’s population declined from 10,000 at that time to only 3,000 inhabitants today. The others emigrated because the village was being hemmed in on all sides.

The plunder of the land continues, amid desperate legal struggles by the villagers. Presently on the agenda are two springs of the village that the settlers covet. Violent assaults by the settlers are also ongoing here. Two weeks ago, this column wrote about the torching of five private cars in the neighboring village of Jalud. Adei Ad, Kida, Esh Kodesh, Shvut Rachel, Ahiya, Amichai and Shiloh are only some of the settlements that are suffocating the village.

It was 7 P.M. when Shams and his two friends reached the edge of the valley. At the time, clashes were underway there with the army and with settlers, who had come, as they do every Friday, to one the village’s springs and had chased away the residents. On the hill opposite, as on every hill around the village, there is a settler outpost. This one, Hayovel, was built on private land belonging to Qaryut residents. Hayovel, by the way, was the first outpost for whose establishment privately owned Palestinian land was declared state land, in 1998.

As the three friends stood there, a settler suddenly emerged from between the olive trees on the slope and tried to assault them. A moment later, another settler appeared from the opposite side. Shams’ two friends were able to escape the ambush, but there was no way Shams could run for cover in his physical condition. That there were clashes that day has already been noted – this week we found the remains of a burnt tire at the site. “Why are you throwing stones?” shouted the settler who caught Shams. “I didn’t throw stones,” Shams said.

In no time, there were six or seven settlers around him. He says they also hit him. Then the army showed up and the settlers handed over their human booty to the soldiers – the usual practice in these incidents, in which the army protects the pogromists.


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