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From Muhammad Al-Durra to Rayan Suleiman my heart grieves for Palestinian children

Palestinian Jamal al-Durra, the father of Mohammed al-Durra, 12, (in the picture) who was killed by the Israeli troops at the begining of the second Intifada [Abid Katib/Getty Images]
Palestinian Jamal al-Durra, the father of Mohammed al-Durra, 12, (in the picture) who was killed by the Israeli troops at the begining of the second Intifada [Abid Katib/Getty Images]

It has been 22 years since the start of the Second (Al-Aqsa) Intifada when Ariel Sharon stormed and desecrated the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque in September 2000. The intifada spread to all of the territories of occupied Palestine. On its third day, 12-year-old Muhammad Al-Durra was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza. The Arab nations from the ocean to the gulf were shocked, and people took to the streets holding the boy's picture and condemning Israel and its crimes. Today, these Arab nations are no longer shaken by hundreds of Muhammad Al-Durras in Palestine, because they also have thousands like him due to their tyrannical regimes.

That is why 7-year-old Rayan Suleiman's death last week did not attract the same sort of sympathy and attention from the Arab nations as young Muhammad Al-Durra did. This, sadly, encourages the Zionist enemy to commit even more crimes against Palestinian children.

From Muhammad Al-Durra to Rayan Suleiman, my heart grieves. Hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed and added to the appalling human rights record of the Zionist occupation forces. History has recorded their names, including Jamila Al-Habbash, Iman Hajo, Hamza Nassar and Alaa Qaddoum.

It's a familiar scene, unfortunately: Soldiers armed with the latest deadly weapons storm into homes and schools, chase children and treat them with unbelievable brutality. The whole world watches on television and social media, but does nothing. When it comes to Arab children, especially Palestinians, the international community has no conscience; it protects the occupation state and its non-existent "right of self-defence". The UN is incapable of holding Israel to account for its crimes. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres refused to add the Israeli occupation army in 2012 to the blacklist of countries and groups violating the rights of children in conflict areas, despite the grave violations against Palestinian children in the occupied territories, the West Bank and Jerusalem.

On World Children's Day 20 November 2021, the Palestinian Prisoners' Club said that the Zionist occupation had arrested 1,149 Palestinian children since the beginning of the year. The club also indicated that since 2000, the Israeli occupation state had arrested at least 19,000 Palestinian children. Moreover, in 2020, Defence for Children International noted that Israel is the only state in the world to systematically prosecute children before military courts, with between 500 and 700 Palestinian children facing trials every year that lack justice and basic rights.

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Ever since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, occupied Palestine has been the scene of brutal crimes committed by Zionist thugs and gangs. Many children have been killed alongside women and men in Israeli massacres of Palestinians. The so-called "Israel Defence Forces" appear to target Palestinian children deliberately, and this is reflected in the increase in the number of children martyred. According to official Palestinian statistics, about 2,230 children have been killed by Israelis since the 2000, most of them in Gaza during the past four Israeli military offensives.

Rayan Suleiman was thus not the first and will not be the last Palestinian child to be killed by the Israeli occupation. The settler-colonial state will continue to kill Palestinian men, women and children for as long as the international community maintains its pro-Israel bias and turns a blind eye to the crimes of the occupation authorities.

Meanwhile, the so-called Palestinian Authority obeys Israel's orders in its "sacred" security coordination with the occupation state, helping the criminal entity to violate the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. The PA led by Mahmoud Abbas and his equally corrupt henchmen must step down so that the Palestinian people can liberate their land from the clutches of the criminal Zionists.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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