A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces on Thursday of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said on Thursday Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip are normally not allowed to have their birth registered, and are denied access to health care, decent schooling as well as safe drinking water.
“Hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed and thousands injured over the reporting period as a result of the state party military operations, especially in Gaza where the state party proceeded to [conduct] air and naval strikes on densely populated areas with a significant presence of children, thus disregarding the principles of proportionality and distinction,” Reuters reported, citing the CRC’s report.
It was revealed that the IDF [Israel “Defence” Forces] used Palestinian children to enter potentially dangerous buildings, forcing them to stand as human shields to discourage stone-throwing at military vehicles and troops.
“Almost all those using children as human shields and informants have remained unpunished and the soldiers convicted for having forced at gunpoint a 9-year-old child to search bags suspected of containing explosives only received a suspended sentence of three months and were demoted,” the watchdog’s panel of 18 independent experts said.
The UN report also stated that an estimated 7,000 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17, but some as young as nine, have been arrested, interrogated and detained over the past ten years.
Many are brought in leg chains and shackles before military courts, while youths are held in solitary confinement, sometimes for months, the report said.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has offered his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas just two weeks after taking office.
It was not immediately clear whether Abbas would accept the resignation by Hamdallah, an academic and political independent whose Cabinet only met for the first time last week.
The government source said that Hamdallah made the abrupt, unexpected move because of a “dispute over his powers.” Hamdallah’s Cabinet consists overwhelmingly of members of the Fatah party led by Abbas.
His predecessor, Salam Fayyad, resigned in April after six years in power defined by tough economic challenges and rivalries with Fatah politicians.