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UNICEF: ‘Deadliest Year on Record’ for Palestinian Children in the West Bank

by | Dec 29, 2023

UNICEF: ‘Deadliest Year on Record’ for Palestinian Children in the West Bank

by | Dec 29, 2023

deadliest year on record’ for palestinian children in the west bank, unicef

Attacks by Israeli forces and settlers have soared along with Tel Aviv’s brutal bombing campaign in Gaza, bringing this year’s total death toll to approximately 500 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem

As Tel Aviv’s brutal bombing campaign and ground operations in the Gaza Strip have killed over 21,000 people, mostly women and children, a violent Israeli campaign of terror is ongoing throughout the occupied West Bank.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a statement on Thursday, describing 2023 as the “deadliest year on record for children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” Adele Khodr, the UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, says violence resulting from the Israeli occupation is “reaching unprecedented levels.”

Khodr notes that “children living in the [occupied territories] have been experiencing grinding violence for many years, yet the intensity of that violence has dramatically increased” since the Hamas attack on October 7 and the subsequent launch of the Israeli onslaught.

For Palestinians, prior to this month, this year was already one of the deadliest on record. Before the end of September, more than 220 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces, including over three dozen children. That figure included 187 people who were murdered in the occupied territories and another 37 killed – mostly amidst a smaller bombing campaign – in the Gaza Strip.

“Violence [in the occupied West Bank] has killed 124 Palestinian children and 6 Israeli children since the start of 2023,” according to the UNICEF statement. The report highlights that 83 of these murders have taken place since October 7. Khodr added that 576 children have been injured, with others detained by Israeli authorities.

Overall, since the war on the Gaza Strip began, estimates are that at least 316 Palestinians have been killed and roughly 3,800 injured in the West Bank.

She said the suffering of children in the West Bank “must not fade into the background of the current conflict. They “live in a near-constant feeling of fear and grief,” she explained their lives are a “nightmare.”

Her statement reads, “Many children report that fear has become a part of their daily life, with many scared even walking to school or playing outside due to the threat of shootings and other conflict-related violence. UNICEF is extremely concerned about the right of children in the West Bank including East Jerusalem to safety and protection, and their inherent right to life.”

Concurrently, the UN issued a separate report covering the “rapidly deteriorating human rights situation” in the West Bank, demanding Israel cease its “unlawful killings,” an “immediate end to the use of military weapons and means during law enforcement operations,” as well as the occupation forces’ “arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Palestinians.” Since October 7, more than 4,700 Palestinians have been arrested.

This week, Israel carried out a drone strike on the Nur Shams refugee camp in the northern West Bank which killed six people and Al Jazeera reported “Israeli troops launched their most intense raids on cities in the occupied West Bank.”

The operations constituted “a coordinated overnight assault on 10 cities including Hebron, Halhul, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, el-Bireh, Jericho and notably the [center] of Ramallah, which is the administrative headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.”

During a prolonged raid on Jenin earlier this month, Israeli occupation forces killed 12 people, desecrated a mosque, attacked ambulances and a hospital, including reportedly firing tear gas near a pre-mature babies’ ward.

On December 14, a 17-year old Palestinian boy named Musa Khatib was shot and killed in the Jenin Governmental Hospital compound. Following his murder, Doctors Without Borders stated “Since 7 October, we have seen Israeli forces fire live bullets at the [Khalil Suleiman] hospital, tear gas the hospital, block ambulances, humiliate and harass medical staff, and now – shoot and kill someone in the hospital compound.”

Last month, the Israeli outlet +972 Magazine reported that, in rural areas near Hebron, Palestinians have been shot, beaten, robbed, had their homes burned, and entire villages depopulated by armed illegal settlers including many donning Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) uniforms. The article documents the suffering of Palestinians in the H2 area of Hebron, subjected to the IDF’s totalitarian lockdown regime.

Across the West Bank, the Israeli forces’ lockdown has consisted of closing checkpoints, erecting new obstructions, as well as fortifying entrances to villages and towns. Under the new status quo, Israeli settlers have been freely attacking Palestinians, along with their homes and businesses.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.

 

Connor Freeman

Connor Freeman

Connor Freeman is the assistant editor and a writer at the Libertarian Institute, primarily covering foreign policy. He is a co-host on Conflicts of Interest. His writing has been featured in media outlets such as Antiwar.com and Counterpunch, as well as the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He has also appeared on Liberty Weekly, Around the Empire, and Parallax Views. You can follow him on Twitter @FreemansMind96

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