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At least 101 children killed in the West Bank this year

December 1, 2023 at 9:22 am

Israeli soldiers raid the Balata Refugee Camp and throw tear gas against the Palestinians in Nablus, West Bank on November 21, 2023. [Nedal Eshtayah – Anadolu Agency]

An eight-year-old boy shot dead in the street is one of the most recent casualties of Israel’s continued raids and attacks in the occupied West Bank which have killed 101 Palestinian children so far this year, Save the Children has said.

Since 7 October, Israeli occupation forces or illegal settlers have killed at least 63 children in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN, averaging more than one child a day — significantly more fatalities than in the first nine months of the already deadliest year. During this same period, the UN has reported that some 143 families, including 388 children, have been displaced from their homes in the West Bank due to settler violence and access restrictions.

The number of Palestinian children killed in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers or settlers this year is now three times the number killed in 2022 – itself previously the deadliest year on record since 2005 – when 36 children were killed. At least 39 Israeli children have been reportedly killed this year.

“Without a permanent end to the violence, Save the Children is gravely concerned that child and wider civilian casualties will continue to rise across the occupied Palestinian territory,” the rights group said in its press release. “The escalation of violence in Gaza has been mirrored by increased control measures and violence in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, with ongoing unrest keeping children out of school, and restricting their access to vital services, including healthcare.”

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Children trying to cross checkpoints across the West Bank have also reported having their phones seized and being detained in the military detention system “based on their social-media activity, raising serious human rights concerns including around freedom of expression, privacy, and deprivation of liberty.”

“While all eyes have been on the conflict in Gaza, there has been no pause in the killing of children in the West Bank, where the situation continues to deteriorate,” said occupied Palestinian territory Country Director for Save the Children, Jason Lee.

The longer the killing of civilians in Gaza continues, the higher the likelihood that this will continue to spread into the West Bank where children are already seeing their rights eviscerated.”

“We are calling for an immediate, independent investigation into – and accountability for – the killing of all children. As long as a culture of impunity persists, cycles of violence are likely to continue.”