Archive for the 'Children' Category

That Slap In The Face

Shukri Abu-Bakr*

This is for you, Ahed

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Like a Free Palestine Spirit, your home is hospitable and warm, but has no fireplace for a cold killer.

Your fingernails sun-kissed, your palms soft as a whisper; but you did it, girl; you slapped a lethal weapon right in the face.

Your lips breathless over a million unheard cries… So rouse the world. Make it listen. Make it rise. Stand face-to-face and slap it right in the face.

Your green eyes, what do they see or so desire; but a white dawn to descend upon a nation’s dream set on fire.

So, girl, strip the arsonist of his undue grace…and yes, princess, with your bare hands slap him right in the face.

You’re noble from head to toe, daughter of the mountains, so bring your oppressor down on his armored knees.. and slap him hard. Slap him right in the face.

Slap him every time his psycho boots step into your peace of mind.

Slap him every time his tanks roll over your tender foot-marks. Slap him every time his smoke out-smells the wild sage in your yard. And slap him, daughter of the land…

Slap him for every time he stole dirt from your great grandfather’s grave. Slap him for every time he left an olive tree butchered in your neighbor’s grove. Slap him for every time he demanded respect for his loaded gun.

Slap him for your cousin… for all the young bones punctuated with bullets. And your highness, with your wrists besieged in cuffs as cruel as my own, slap him; not once, not twice, but thrice, for every time he thought that at the sight of coming invaders, Red-headed Palestine would simply run away.

* Shukri Abu Bakr is a Palestinian humanitarian serving a 65 year prison sentence in the United States following the controversial Holy Land Foundation trial

UNRWA condemns the Killing of 11 Year Old Boy in Gaza by Israeli Security Forces

PRESS STATEMENT
UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness

Relatives grieving at his funeral. Photo: EPA

Relatives grieving at his funeral. Photo: EPA

28 July 2018

Yesterday, during protests at the fence in Gaza, Majdi Ramzi Kamal Al Satari, an 11 year old boy and UNRWA student, was killed by Israeli Security Forces.

This dramatic incident brings to ten – nine boys and one girl – the number of UNRWA students killed near the fence in Gaza since 30th March when the present round of demonstrations began.

UNRWA condemns in the strongest possible terms the deaths of these children in Gaza. We have conveyed our condolences to Majdi’s family and loved ones.

Conditions in Gaza have reached extremes of hardship, fueled by ongoing conflict, blockade and occupation. The absence of horizon is impacting the community in multiple ways.

UNRWA endorses the statements of the United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights that Palestinians have the right to peaceful assembly and expression. Lethal force may be used only when strictly unavoidable as a last resort in self-defense or in order to protect life. The killing and injuring of children – who enjoy additional protection under international law – is particularly appalling .

UNRWA calls for maximum restraint to prevent an escalation of the violence. Utmost efforts must be made to prevent any further loss of life, especially of children. Thorough, independent, and transparent investigations must be undertaken in relation to these incidents to ensure accountability in accordance with international standards.

UNRWA condemns the killing of a refugee child during military raid in the occupied Palestinian territory

PRESS STATEMENT
Chris Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson

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Jerusalem, 25 July 2018: During a large scale incursion by the Israeli security forces (ISF) into Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem on 23 July, a fourteen year old Palestine refugee student at UNRWA’s Basic Boys School in the camp was shot and killed, reportedly with live ammunition. Preliminary reports suggest he was not armed. UNRWA condemns the killing of children and calls for an independent and transparent investigation to establish the cause and circumstances of this death.

Across all 19 refugee camps in the West Bank since the beginning of 2017 until now, 10 refugees have been killed and 129 (27 minors) injured by live ammunition. All of these fatalities occurred in the context of ISF operations in and around the camps. In Deheisheh alone since the beginning of 2017, three Palestine refugees have been killed and 55 (including 13 children) injured by live ammunition. Read more »

Gaza: 1 million children suffering in ‘unlivable’ conditions

PRESS RELEASE
Save the Children

One million children in Gaza are living in dire conditions. Many celebrated Eid in the dark without electricity. A UN report in 2012 said Gaza would be unlivable by 2020. Save the Children considers Gaza to be unlivable now.

People walk past a destroyed building, Gaza City 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

People walk past a destroyed building, Gaza City 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

Save the Children urges Israel to lift the Gaza blockade and for Palestinian and Israeli authorities to provide basic services to the residents of Gaza. the international community has failed to react to the suffering of Palestinian children in Gaza. A decade of isolation had reduced power available to households to just eight hours per day. Now families are lucky if they get two hours of electricity per day. Far too many get nothing at all.

The power shortages are also affecting Gaza’s already crippled infrastructure. The shortening or suspension of sewage treatment cycles has led to increased levels of pollution and contamination of groundwater sources and the Mediterranean Sea, leaving more than 60% of the sea around Gaza contaminated with untreated sewage and over 90% of water sources too contaminated for human consumption. Read more »

Joint report estimates that 880 Palestinians arrested in July 2017

PRESS RELEASE
ADDAMEER

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Palestinian prisoners’ affairs institutions – the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs and Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights – issued the following report on 8 July 2017, which indicates that, during the month of July 2017, Israeli authorities arrested 880 individuals from the occupied Palestinian territories, including 144 children, and 18 women. Read more »

Pregnant women, newborns contaminated with heavy metals linked to Israeli attacks

Julie Webb-Pullman

Remnants of Israeli attacks....

Remnants of war….

Newborn babies and their mothers exposed to Israeli attacks in 2014 have a high level of heavy metal contamination in their hair, reports a study published in the latest British Medical Journal (BMJ Open). The research was carried out in Gaza on 502 women who were pregnant at the time of the 2014 Israeli offensive.

Italian, Finnish and Gazan researchers analyzed the quantities of 23 kinds of metal in the hair of the women and the children they subsequently gave birth to, and compared them with the metal content in women’s hair outside of war zones. They also studied in utero transmission of heavy metals, as well as the hypothesis of contamination unrelated to war.

“Heavy metals used during wars are toxic, teratogenic and carcinogenic, and this study has shown they pose a health risk to pregnant women and their children, now and in the long-term” said lead researcher, Paola Manduca.

Teratogens disrupt the development of the embryo and can cause birth defects, while carcinogens can cause cancer.

“They are known as endocrine disruptors. They remain in the environment, remain in bodies and accumulate due to chronic exposure if their sources are not eliminated from the environment,” said Manduca.

Such sources include weapon remnants themselves, substances released during the explosion of missiles and shells, and contaminated ruins.

Using Plasma-Mass-coupled spectrometry (ICP-MS), the researchers made comparisons with groups exposed to domestic and agricultural chemicals.

Although women’s heavy metal load was higher than that of the newborns, it was not enough of a difference to protect the babies from harm: the study found an increase in birth defects and preterm births from 2011 data.

The rate of birth defects reported in the Gaza study was 4.5%, compared for example to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) figure of 3% for the United States – the Gaza rate is 50% higher.

Equally worrying, the study documented that the frequency of exposure to military attacks was about 70% in the random sample of 502 mothers, suggesting overall contamination of the entire population.

“Surveillance, bio-monitoring and further research on this subject is essential,” said Paola Manduca. “The risk of transgenerational genetic mutations can not be ruled out.”

Nearly 200,000 Gaza Children Take Part in UNRWA ‘Summer Fun Weeks’

PRESS RELEASE
UNRWA

UNRWA students during their participation in the opening ceremony performances of the Summer Fun Weeks held in Al-Zaitoun Elementary Girls School, Gaza city. © UNRWA Gaza 2017. Photo by Fadi Thabet

UNRWA students during their participation in the opening ceremony performances of the Summer Fun Weeks held in Al-Zaitoun Elementary Girls School, Gaza city © UNRWA Gaza 2017. Photo by Fadi Thabet

Gaza, 09 July: One hundred and eighty-six thousand children have registered to participate in a month-long programme of summer activities organized by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The ‘Summer Fun Weeks’ (SFWs) will begin on 08 July and culminate in a series of closing ceremonies that end on 5 August.

According to the Director of the Summer Fun Weeks, Yousef Moussa, the event is well-balanced in terms of the gender of the participants: “50.3 per cent of participants will be girls and 49.7 will be boys. There will be football for the boys and basketball for the girls. We have also included mural painting and handicrafts, as well as bouncy castles and trampolines for the younger children.” Read more »

Die, Suffer, You Kahba

by Gideon Levy
Source: HAARETZ

A horrific incident took place in the occupied territories last Thursday. It was no less despicable than the shooting of an incapacitated terrorist by Elor Azaria. Watching the video clip that documented the event turns one’s stomach. It’s revolting and infuriating, yet no media outlet in Israel paid any attention to it, reflecting the depths of apathy to which we have sunk.

On that day, a group of soldiers stood around a dying Palestinian girl who was writhing in pain, lying bleeding on the road. The soldiers competed with each other to see who could curse her using more vile language. These are your soldiers, Israel, this is their language, these are their values and standards. No one even thought of offering her medical aid, no one thought of silencing the outburst of detestable obscenities flying around the girl who was bleeding to death. This was an apt gift for the jubilee celebrations – from the good-looking paratroopers at the Western Wall to this beastly act at the Mevo Dotan checkpoint. Fifty years of occupation have brought us to this. Read more »

UNRWA condemns armed violence in Ein El-Hilweh

Press Statement
Christopher Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson

UNRWA condemns armed violence in Ein El-Hilweh which has again prevented children from attending school and vital health services from operating

Ain Al HIlweh camp, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Ain Al HIlweh camp, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Jerusalem 22 December 2016: UNRWA strongly condemns the armed violence that took place in the Ein El Hilweh Palestine Refugee camp in Lebanon today and yesterday and calls for restraint.

Due to armed violence and increased risks to civilian lives, UNRWA has suspended all its operations in the camp and will continue to do so until further notice.

Violent incidents in Ein el-Hilweh continue to shock and frighten camp residents. They prevent children going to school and patients going to clinics; and they threaten the safety and security of civilians and their ability to access a range of services. Read more »

UNRWA condemns armed violence in Ein El Hilweh which forced children to flee amid live firing

Press Statement
Christopher Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson

Ain Al HIlweh camp, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Ain Al HIlweh camp, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Jerusalem 7 December 2016: UNRWA strongly condemns the armed violence that took place in the Ein El Hilweh Palestine Refugee camp in Lebanon, on 5 December 2016.

Armed violence, including the use of firearms, shocked and frightened Palestine refugees in the Bostan Al Qudes area in the proximity of four UNRWA schools – Faloujah, Hitten, Marj Ben Amer and Qibya schools – putting at considerable risk the lives of students receiving education from UNRWA. One armed person entered UNRWA schools without authorization, contrary to the inviolability and neutrality of UN premises and instructed children to leave the schools. The school buildings were clearly marked with a UN flag. Read more »

UNICEF-UNRWA Condemn Bombing of Child Friendly Space in Khan Eishieh Camp in Syria

UNICEF-UNRWA
PRESS RELEASE

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Amman/Damascus, 5 July 2016

The latest attack on Khan Eishieh Refugee Camp, home to Palestinian refugees and internally displaced Syrians, is the latest example in the Syria conflict of the inhumane disregard for life, particularly that of children and infrastructure on which they depend.

In one of the latest such attacks, a barrage of bombs hit the Khan Eishieh Camp at night on 3 July reportedly killing civilians and destroying homes as well as a Child Friendly Space. Khan Eshieh camp, home to about 9,000 Palestine refugees is located in a volatile area in the rural area south of Damascus, where spikes in violence have caused the deaths of at least nine Palestine refugees in recent weeks.

The destroyed Child Friendly Space was a point of respite for over 1,000 children who were coming to it daily to engage in education, psychosocial and recreational activities. This was the only Child Friendly Space in the camp where children could go to momentarily overcome the horrors of the violence and the conflict that have defined their lives. Despite the risks, local partners and volunteers continue to serve children in the best way they can. Read more »

Report on Palestinian prisoners shows 3,412 arrested in the first half of 2016

Prisoners Affairs Commission, Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights
Report

Palestinian children being detained in Jerusalem by undercover Israeli police.

Palestinian children being detained in Jerusalem by undercover Israeli police.

The following is a report issued by several Palestinian prisoner organizations (Prisoners Affairs Commission; Palestinian Prisoners’ Society; Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights.)

The institutions concerned with prisoners’ affairs revealed that the Israeli occupation has arrested in the first half of 2016, 3412 Palestinians, including 706 children and 96 women and girls.

6326 Palestinians have been detained since the beginning of the popular uprising in October 2015.

According to the Prisoners Affairs Committee, 483 Palestinians were arrested in June 2016.

The use of administrative detention in particular has escalated sharply. 1028 administrative detention orders have been issued in the first half of 2016, including 412 new orders; the number of orders issued since October 2015 for detention without charge or trial is 1471. Among them are 7 administrative detention orders against women and girls, two against deputies in the Palestinian Legislative Council, and 11 are against children. There are currently nearly 750 Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention, the highest total since 2008.

The total number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is approximately 7000, including 330 children and 64 women. The Israeli occupation authorities continue to imprison six members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well as 30 Palestinians who were arrested before the signing of the Oslo accords. Read more »

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention slams Israeli human rights breaches in Hares Boys case, demands his immediate release

by Julie Webb-Pullman

The Hares Boys, one of whom is the XXXXX referred to in the UN Working Group's Opinion

The Hares Boys, one of whom is the XXXXX referred to in the UN Working Group’s Opinion

In an opinion released on June 29, 2016 The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention slammed Israel for its treatment of a Palestinian child arbitrarily detained, tortured, and forced to sign a document without first reading it. The Group also noted the discriminatory nature of the arrest based on the nationality of the victim, who was referred to as XXXXX, but acknowledged to be one of the children in the notorious Hares Boys case.

In the advance unedited version of the opinion, the Working Group “recommends the Government Israel to provide full reparations to XXXXX, starting with his immediate release,” and decided to refer the allegations of torture to the Special Rapporteur on torture for appropriate action. Read more »

Israeli Siege killing kids in Gaza

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Mother of the three children who died in the housefire in Shati Camp, Gaza City

Mother of the three children who died in the housefire in Shati Camp, Gaza City

Yousra, Rahaf, and Naser Al Hindi died in a house fire in Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza City on Friday night, after a candle fell on a mattress. The death of the three children, aged from one to five years, are being blamed by Gazans on the Israeli siege, and the lack of electricity in the coastal enclave.

In a press release on Saturday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described the dead brothers as “martyrs of the Israeli blockade,” and also accused PA head Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah of pursuing a policy of discrimination and marginalization against the people of Gaza through their failure to provide electricity. Read more »

Al Qassam: The blood of our children will not flow in vain

Al Qassam

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Al-Qassam Brigades mourned the two children from the Abu Khoussa family who were killed in Israeli air strikes on Saturday, affirming that their innocent blood will not be wasted.

In a brief statement issued on Saturday March 12, 2016 the Brigades mourned the two children, Israa and Yassin Abu Khoussa, who were killed while asleep in their beds at dawn, and sent wishes for a speedy recovery to a brother also wounded in the airstrikes.

The Brigades stressed that the children’s blood will not be in vain.

“The occupation must know that patience of al-Qassam Brigades and the resistance factions has its limits,” the Brigades said.

12 year old Palestinian girl sentenced to 4 months in occupation prisons

Hamas

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The Israeli court at Ofer prison on Thursday sentenced 12-year-old Palestinian girl Dima al-Wawi to four and a half months imprisonment and an 8,000 shekel fine.

Al-Wawi, a 7th grader from the West Bank town of Halhoul, near Hebron, was arrested on February 9 while on her way to school wearing her school uniform. She currently is the youngest Palestinian in Israeli prisons. Read more »

Palestinian resistance movements condemn Israeli assassination of Samir Kuntar

Samir Kuntar

Samir Kuntar

The Islamic Resistance Movement and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have both released statements condemning the assassination of Lebanese resistance fighter and Palestine supporter Samir Kuntar, who was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike on a residential building in Damascus, Syria on December 19,2015. The Israeli airstrike was both an extrajudicial killing, and a contravention of Syrian sovereignty.

Witnesses reported that the five-storey apartment building, which was completely destroyed, was hit by “four long-range missiles” and residents interviewed on Syrian state television said that they had seen the bodies of women and children in the rubble. Also killed was Farhan al-Sha’alan, a leader of the Hezbollah-affiliated Syrian Resistance in the Golan.

Rubble of residential building destroyed by Israeli missiles in Jaramana, Damascus which killed Kuntar and several others. Pic by Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Rubble of residential building destroyed by Israeli missiles in Jaramana, Damascus which killed Kuntar and several others. Pic by Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Read more »

Pregnant woman, child killed in Israeli air raids on Gaza

Hamas

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An Israeli aerial attack on the Gaza Strip at dawn Sunday destroyed a Palestinian home, killing a pregnant woman and her little girl, and injuring three other family members.

A spokesman for the health ministry said that Nour Hassan, who was five months pregnant, and her two-year-old daughter Rahaf Yehya were both killed when their home collapsed as a result of an Israeli air raid on a nearby location in Azzeitoun neighborhood east of Gaza City.

Three other people from the same family also suffered injuries in the attack.

Eyewitnesses said the house was reduced to rubble as a result of the strong blast that was caused by an Israeli airstrike on a nearby resistance training site.

With Sunday’s raid casualties the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza since Friday rises to 11, including 9 civilians killed earlier in cross-border shootings at protesters.

Smearing New Zealand Decency with Palestinian Blood and Tears

Dr Vacy Vlazna

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“One child has been killed every hour in Gaza over the past two days.”
Kyung-Wha Kang UN Asst. Sec.Gen for Humanitarian Affairs 23-7-14

“All these dead and maimed civilians should weigh heavily on all our consciences. I know that they weigh heavily on mine. All our efforts to protect them have been abject failures”. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

On its New Zealand Now website, the New Zealand (NZ) government truthfully describes the welcoming characteristics of New Zealand as “Open spaces, open hearts, open minds. That’s New Zealand and its people in a nutshell”: a people with “in-built expectations of ‘fair play’, integrity, honesty and trust.” who live in one of “the world’s most peaceful, least corrupt countries”.

And yet..and yet..the NZ government via its New Zealand Super Fund (NZSF) has deviously exploited the trust of its citizens and besmeared their good reputation with the blood and suffering of innocent Palestinians.

The NZSF is a progressive universal ‘pension’ scheme to which all taxpaying citizens contribute and from which all retirees over 65 benefit. On members’ behalf, the managerial and administrative Guardians, headed by the arrogant CEO, Adrian Orr, are responsible for the investment decisions which under the ethical standards of the Responsible Investment Framework (RIF) must avoid “prejudice to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible member of the world community”.

“Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.” Shakespeare Read more »

UNRWA: Gaza Infant Mortality Rate Rises for First Time in 50 Years

PRESS RELEASE
UNRWA

Such an increase here is unprecedented in Dr. Seita’s experience working in the Middle East. “Progress in combatting infant mortality doesn’t usually reverse. This seems to be the first time we have seen an increase like this.”

More than a message in a bottle - a dire warning

More than a message in a bottle – a dire warning

Jerusalem, 8 August 2015: The infant mortality rate in Gaza has risen for the first time in five decades, according to an UNRWA study, and UNRWA’s Health Director says the blockade may be contributing to the trend.

Every five years UNRWA conducts a survey of infant mortality across the region, and the 2013 results were released this week.

The number of babies dying before the age of one has consistently gone down over the last decades in Gaza, from 127 per 1,000 live births in 1960 to 20.2 in 2008. At the last count, in 2013, it had risen to 22.4 per 1,000 live births.

The rate of neonatal mortality, which is the number of babies that die before four weeks old, has also gone up significantly in Gaza, from 12 per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 20.3 in 2013.

“Infant mortality is one of the best indicators for the health of the community,” said Dr. Akihiro Seita, Director of UNRWA’s health program. “It reflects on the mother and child’s health and in the U.N. Millennium Development Goals it is one of the key indicators.”

“The rate”, Dr. Seita said, “had declined quite smoothly over the last decades across the region, including Gaza. So when the 2013 results from Gaza were first uncovered, UNRWA was alarmed by the apparent increase. So we worked with external independent research groups to examine the data, to ensure the increase could be confirmed. That is why it took us so long to release these latest figures“. Read more »

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