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The protracted humanitarian protection crisis in occupied Palestinian territory has had a devastating impact on the well-being, physical security and future of girls and boys. Restrictions and conflict-related violence have left children with a deep sense of insecurity for their future, while family coping mechanisms and community resilience are weakened by the closure regime, conflict and deprivation.
Articles, statements and press releases
During the first two months of 2018, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized a total of 70 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank. On average, this is the same number of monthly demolitions recorded in 2017 (35), and around one-third of figures recorded in 2016 (91). Around 30 per cent of the structures targeted in 2018 were residential and 81 people were displaced. The remainder were livelihood-related or public structures, including two school classrooms. An assessment by humanitarian actors of the education sector indicates that 44 Palestinian schools in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are at risk of full or partial demolition or seizure due to the lack of an Israeli-issued building permit.
I am deeply concerned by the Israeli authorities’ demolition this morning of two donor-funded classrooms (3rd and 4th grade), serving 26 Palestinian school children in the Bedouin and refugee community of Abu Nuwar, located in Area C on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The demolition was carried out on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain.
People with disabilities and special needs have been disproportionately affected by the deterioration in living conditions in the Gaza Strip since March 2017. This situation is driven by a worsening energy crisis, which has resulted in outages of 18-20 hours a day, and an exacerbation of the salary crisis in the public sector, both of which are linked to an escalation in internal Palestinian divisions.1 In the midst of this crisis, Gaza’s unemployment rate reached 44 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 (April-June), up from 41.1 per cent in the previous quarter and 41.7 per cent in the same period of 2016.
A new fence installed by the Israeli authorities around two Palestinian neighbourhoods in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2), As Salaymeh and Gheith, further separates up to 1,800 Palestinians from the rest of the city. This is in addition to the recent reinforcement (including the installment of turnstiles) of two pre-existing checkpoints controlling access to the area where the new fence was installed. These developments disrupt the livelihoods and family life of Palestinians living in the two neighbourhoods and limit access to basic services like health and education.
For the past three years, approximately 700 Palestinian children in East Jerusalem have been detained by Israeli forces every year, usually on charges of stone-throwing and, more recently, incitement to violence in social media. Some of these cases have triggered allegations of abuses during the arrest, transfer and/or interrogation. Also of concern are recent changes to Israeli legislation that allow harsher prison sentences for children convicted of crimes such as stone-throwing, including children as young as 12 who start serving their sentences when they turn 14. Some Palestinian children convicted or awaiting trial have been placed under house arrest. Although preferable than imprisonment for children, this puts additional strain on the families affected.
An article contributed by UNICEF: The 51-day conflict in the Gaza Strip and Israel in the summer of 2014 had a devastating impact on children. At least 551 Palestinian children and four Israeli children were killed; 2,956 Palestinian children and 22 Israeli children were reportedly injured.