A new Defence for Children International-Palestine report
DCI-Palestine has just released a new report: Voices from East Jerusalem: The Situation facing Palestinian Children.
The report addresses the impact of Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem, through administrative and legal measures aimed at limiting the population growth and development of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, while actively encouraging the influx of Israeli settlers. Through the voices of 15 children and three mothers, the report sheds some light on the day to day hardships they face living under prolonged military occupation, focusing on three main issues:
House demolitions – This affects approximately 32 percent of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem that do not comply with Israeli zoning requirements, exposing at least 86,500 Palestinian residents to the risk of having their homes demolished.
Settler violence – Between January 2010 and the end of May 2011, the UN recorded 24 cases in which Palestinian children have been injured by settlers in East Jerusalem, and one fatality. According to the UN, these figures are ‘comprehensive but not exhaustive.’ The figures also do not include cases of harassment or intimidation which did not result in physical injury.
Arrest and detention – Between November 2009 and October 2010, 1,267 criminal files were opened against Palestinian children living in East Jerusalem who were accused of throwing stones. In a sample of 20 cases, 80 percent of the children reported being subjected to physical violence during their arrest, transfer or subsequent questioning.
The report concludes:
The body of evidence presented in this report reveals the human cost associated with the Israel’s 44 year campaign to unilaterally annex East Jerusalem, in violation of international law. There are many aspects and complexities to this campaign, but in essence it is a process that seeks to limit the population growth and development of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, whilst at the same time encouraging an influx of Israeli settlers into the occupied territory. As stated in an Israeli government report published in the 1970s, the aim is to establish ‘a physical reality that guarantees Jewish superiority in the capital.’45 Or, in the words of one mother whose house is threatened with demolition: ‘I believe that the Israelis want to get rid of the Palestinians in the area, as if we are an outdated product, as if we are dispensable.’