NEW YORK, March 26, 2015 (WAFA) – Ambassador Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, Thursday said during a Security Council Debate that Israel systematically fulfills three of the six criteria used to assess grave violations against Palestinians children.
Mansour joined the debate, titled “Children and Armed Conflict”, and briefed the attendees on the systematic violations against children in Palestine by the Israeli armed forces. He began his speech by urging the Security Council to bear in mind the situation of children in Palestine when speaking about violtions against children basing his argument on the six criteria to assess violations against children.
The six criteria adopted in determining violations against children were identified as, recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming children, sexual violence against children, attacks against schools and hospitals, abduction of children and the denial of humanitarian access.
“Israeli occupying forces engage in a pattern of killing and maiming children. The occupying power cynically claims that its military strikes are “conducted in a precise and surgical manner,” Mansour noted in reference to the latest Israeli aggression of 2014 targeting the Gaza Strip, during which around 540 children were killed.
The Ambassador touched upon the past two wars as well, which resulted in “a high proportion of child casualty.” In the West Bank alone, around 1200 children were injured as a result of settlers and army violence, Mansour noted.
Not only children are continuously targeted in the Palestinian territories, but also schools and health centers that provide children with their basic human rights. Mansour told the Council that around 279 schools and 75 health centers and hospital were targeted in Gaza.
“90% of water [in Gaza] unfit for humans.” He added, “Children -52% of the population – are suffering disproportionately.”
Mansour also discussed the issue of detention of Palestinian children in the West Bank, noting that since the year 2000, an estimated number of 10,000 children have been detained and prosecuted in court. “Over the past three years, child detainees increased by 87%.”
Describing the situation in Gaza as a form of collective punishment, Mansour said that more than 400,000 children are in urgent need of psychological support.
Mansour called on the Security Council to add the Israeli occupying forces to the UN’s global list of parties that consistently commit grave violations against children.
He said the international community should demand the immediate and permanent release of all children from Israeli captivity as well as ensure assistance access to the blockaded Gaza Strip with an immediate end to the siege.