Fact Sheets > children

fact sheets-children

The illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has been violating the basic rights of Palestinian children for the last 35 years. All violations perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinians over the last decades – ranging from torture and illegal killings to expulsion, the prevention of access to medical treatment, discrimination, and the destruction of homes and livelihoods – have had a disproportionate effect on the children of Palestine.

During the most recent Intifada, which began in September 2000, Israeli repression has been particularly brutal, with the Israeli army acting with excessive force and subjecting the Palestinian people – particularly children -- to systematic collective punishment on an unprecedented scale.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees the fundamental rights of all children. The State of Israel willingly signed and ratified this agreement in October 1991. Since this time, Israel has not only failed to comply with the Convention’s provisions, but has consistently and systematically violated Palestinian children’s rights in every way.

Since September 28, 2000:

The Right to Education

The Israeli army’s widespread destruction of schools, the forced closure of educational institutes, the ever- present danger to school children and staff attempting to continue normal education, together demonstrate the Israeli government’s complete violation of the right of Palestinian children to an education. For example:

The Right to Health

The Israeli occupation, in particular widespread closure, has paralyzed the Palestinian health system. Children are particularly vulnerable to this policy of collective punishment. Internal closures have severely disrupted health plans which affect over 500,000 children. These include vaccination programmes, dental examinations and early diagnosis programmes for children when starting schools.

The Right to an Adequate Standard of Living

Poverty and restrictions on freedom of movement have adverse effects on children’s living standards. Most children are almost wholly dependent on their parents for survival and their economic situation is therefore a key determinant of access to social, health and education resources required for adequate living.

The Rights of Children Deprived of Liberty

Palestinian children arrested, detained or imprisoned by Israeli authorities routinely face violations of their rights. Among these violations are physical and psychological torture, arbitrary arrest and denial of a lawyer or family visits.

The Right to Non-Discrimination

Palestinian children experience constant discrimination as a result of living under Israeli military occupation. Children are particularly vulnerable to the detrimental effects of the Israeli state’s discriminatory policies against its Palestinian residents. This is particularly true in Jerusalem, which is the object of an Israeli policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinians living in the city, and separating it from the rest of the Palestinian territories -- with the ultimate aim of ensuring Israeli sovereignty over the city.

• Palestinian children are deprived of an officially recognized nationality and associated benefits
• Throughout the current Intifada, Palestinian children have been subjected to heightened discrimination in every way – from the war-like situation in which they live, the curfew and closure imposed on their homes and villages, to the constant threat to their physical safety and sense of security.

The Right to Life

The Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories continually affects Palestinian children’s inherent right to life, security and survival. In both international and human rights law, the right to life is guaranteed the highest degree of protection. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights unequivocally states that ‘everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.’ Every human rights instrument provides that the right to life and security of the individual is protected and must be applied with no exception, in all circumstances, including times of emergency and internal unrest.

The information for this Fact Sheet was mainly compiled from DCI/PS’s publication: A Generation Denied, 2001. For more information, please see
Defence for Children International, Palestine Section (DCI/PS) or