THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN KILLED by Israeli security forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank has doubled compared to last year, says Save the Children.

According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 17 Palestinian children were killed in the West Bank in 2021. By 23 November this year the number of children killed had reached 34, following the shooting of two teenage boys in consecutive days.

The killing of 17-year-old Mahmoud al-Sadi while on his way to school on Monday 21 November, and of 16-year-old Ahmad Shehadeh during a late night raid in Nablus on Tuesday 22 November, makes this the deadliest year for children living in the West Bank since 2006.

On Wednesday morning, a 15-year-old Israeli-Canadian teenager was also killed and over a dozen people injured in two separate explosions in Jerusalem.

Violence in the West Bank has flared up in recent months, with a rapid expansion of Israeli settlements, a sharp rise in Israeli military raids across the occupied West Bank, as well as Palestinian attacks. In addition to being caught-up in the violence, Palestinian families have been subjected to movement restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities, disrupting their access to essential services.

Speaking on 23 November, Jason Lee, Country Director for Save the Children in the occupied Palestinian territory, said: “It is unacceptable that there is continued use of lethal force against children. So far, 34 Palestinian children in the West Bank have lost their lives in 2022, in what has become the deadliest year for children in more than 15 years. One Israeli child was reportedly also killed in an attack just this morning. Once again, children are paying the heaviest price for a conflict they have no control over.  

The escalating violence witnessed in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel is deeply alarming as it threatens children’s lives and wellbeing. A culture of impunity will only serve to continue cycles of violence. This has to stop. Without steps being taken to de-escalate the situation, children will continue to pay the price. Under international law, children have special protection and must be protected from violence at all times. Every action necessary must be taken to keep children safe.”

Of the 34 children killed in West Bank violence in 2022, 32 have been confirmed to have been killed by Israeli forces, one by an Israeli settler, and one was shot by both an Israeli settler and soldier.

Save the Children is calling for an immediate end of the use of live ammunition against children by Israeli forces. At the same time, it is calling for an immediate, independent investigation into – and accountability for – the killing of all children. Save the Children says all parties must seek to de-escalate the situation and break this current cycle of violence, as the best way to ensure the protection of children and restore hope for their future.

* Source: Save the Children International