Voices of Peace
"The only tyrant I accept in
this world is the still voice within."
- At least, three Palestinian children have been killed. On 1 April, Israeli soldiers shot and killed 13 year old Hamada Akram Sakheeli, of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. He was shot in the chest while playing with friends. On 2 April, 15 year old, Issa Daboub, of Bethlehem, was shot and killed while playing in front of his home. Also, on 2 April, 13 year old Fayez Khaled Salah of Khan Yunis was shot and killed. All three children were shot with live ammunition.
- Yesterday, 3 April, during a three-hour lifting of the curfew on residents of Ramallah, Israeli troops fired randomly at Palestinian civilians who were attempting to buy food, water and essential goods. A 14-year old boy, Kindi Qutteineh, who lives in the center of the city, was shot in his leg by live ammunition fired from an Israeli tank. An eyewitness to the shooting told DCI/PS, "I was walking up the street to buy some food when Israeli soldiers shot randomly at people walking in the street. Kindi was near his house and was clearly shot for amusement by Israeli soldiers positioned in a tank. It took around one hour before an ambulance could reach Kindi and take him to hospital."
- Also, yesterday, the Palestinian Counselling Center (PCC) received a phone call from a man in Bethlehem whose house had been struck by artillery from the Israeli military. His mother and brother died from injuries sustained during the shelling. The Israeli army is refusing to allow their bodies to be removed. The 60-year-old woman and her 38 year old son were killed Tuesday morning and their bodies have remained inside the two room apartment since then. Media resources report that the Israeli army has refused efforts by the International Committee of the Red Cross to remove the bodies. The children in the house, ranging in age from 5 years to 14 years, have been moved into the bathroom to stop them from seeing the bodies decompose. As of 7:20pm (+2 GMT) 3 April, the bodies remain in the house.
-The PCC also reported another hotline call from a family in Ramallah whose home was invaded yesterday by Israeli soldiers, who destroyed virtually everything in the house. Clothes were removed from closets and ripped apart. The children's toys were destroyed. There are three children in the house, ranging in age from 6 years to 10 years. The mother of the family called PCC saying that they had run out of food and needed immediate help. The mother also asked for advice on what to tell her six year old daughter who kept asking for an explanation as to why the soldiers had ripped the head and hands off her favorite doll.
- Israeli troops have been conducting an indiscriminate arrest campaign targeting all Palestinian males. According to information from Addameer, Prisoner Support and Human Rights Organization, around 700 Palestinians have been arrested in Ramallah alone over the last few days. Around 20% of that number are children. DCI/PS is extremely concerned about these child detainees as no information about their whereabouts is currently available. Before this latest arrest campaign, around 160 Palestinian children were being held as political prisoners inside Israeli jails. DCI/PS's experience with child detainees indicates that virtually all of these children face some form of torture such as beating, having scalding and freezing water poured on them alternatively, tied in painful positions for long periods of time, sexually harassed, and are subject to physical and psychological threats by Israeli interrogators.
- Late Sunday night Israeli soldiers overtook a 5-story building next to the Preventive Security Compound in Beitunia in the Ramallah area. They gathered nine families from the building and placed these 60 people in one apartment. Included in this group were 22 children below 15 years of age. They were kept in this apartment for at least 2 days without food and used as human shields as Israeli forces bombarded the Preventive Security Compound with helicopter missiles and tank shells only 50m away.
- Israeli tanks and bulldozers have deliberately severed water lines in numerous areas of the West Bank. In the Ramallah area, residents are facing a severe water shortage. Compounding this problem, according to information provided by the electric company, around 120,000 people in the Ramallah area are without electricity at present. Moreover, six of nine electrical feeding stations are down. The Israeli military has occupied the building housing a main water pumping station in Beitunia and no water is being pumped to local residents. At this point, Ramallah and Al Bireh residents are utilizing water from the reserves on the roofs of their houses. Some have already run out and many residential areas have no running water. The lack of water is a particularly serious problem for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that sewage cannot be pumped properly. Medical sources are fearing the onset of epidemic diseases if refuse and sewage are not disposed of properly in the coming days.
- Yesterday in the Bethlehem area, a pregnant Palestinian woman, Haleema Mohammed Hussein Al Atrash, was forced to give birth on the street. When complications arose, Israeli soldiers prevented ambulances from reaching the area and providing medical care, resulting in the death of her newborn child.
- In Tulkarem, in the northern West Bank, Israeli soldiers occupied Dar Ilyatim Al Arabi, a boarding school for orphans, gathering all of the children in the hall and preventing them from returning to their rooms.
DCI/PS has repeatedly warned the international community of the
disastrous effects of Israel's non-compliance with its obligations under international
law, in particular, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The State
of Israel willingly signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
It entered into force in Israel on 2 November 1991. According to article 2 of the
Convention, "States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in
the Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of
In the period since the CRC's entry into force, Israel has not only failed to comply with the provisions of the Convention, it has consistently and systematically engaged in gross violations of Palestinian children's rights. Moreover, in its report detailing measures taken in compliance with the Convention, a report that was submitted 7 years late, the State of Israel failed to make any mention of Palestinian children in the occupied territories. As a result, not only has the State of Israel actively engaged in systematic and gross violations of children's rights, they are attempting to absolve themselves of any and all responsibility.
DCI/PS emphasizes that Palestinian children, as the most dependent sector of Palestinian society, are severely affected by Israel's measures of collective punishment. No justification can be invoked for the suffering to which Palestinian children are being subjected. The current siege and violent attacks on a civilian population demonstrate the utter bankruptcy of an occupation regime that has lost all façade of human dignity. It is time to end this occupation once and for all.
DCI/PS calls on the international community to intervene and demand an immediate halt to Israel's siege on the occupied territories and an end to the Israeli occupation. Please address letters of protest to the following individuals:
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs. Mary Robinson OHCHR Tel. ++41 22 917 9000 Fax. ++41 22 917 9012/9006/9005 E-mail email@example.com
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Office of the Prime Minister Tel: ++972 2 6705555 Fax: ++972 2 566 4838 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
President, European Commission (Romano Prodi) European Commission 200 rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200 B-1049 Brussels Belgium E-mail: email@example.com
US President George Bush The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Phone: ++1-202 456 1414 Fax: ++1-202 456 2461 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org