IN ANY CONFLICT, the death of innocent noncombatants is deplorable, and lamented by all. It is the death of children, however, that troubles us the most, for children are seen to be innocent in a way adults are not.
From September 29, 2000, when the current Palestinian intifada erupted, through May 1, 2012, at least 1477 Palestinian and 129 Israeli youths under the age of 18 were killed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Thousands more have been injured, many permanently.
Remember These Children lists each of these 1606 deaths. Arranged chronologically by date of death, each entry includes the child’s name, hometown, how the child was killed and, where available, the nature of the fatal injury. The documentation, though painful, conveys the personal reality of these terrible statistics. The waste of human life—of hope and future promise—is almost too great to contemplate.
Too many of these children died in the course of what should have been normal childhood pleasures—playing soccer, eating pizza, shopping for candy, or going to or from school. Others were at home, looking out their window, eating dinner or playing in their front yard.
Even infants and the unborn have not been spared. In two days in February 2002, three pregnant women were shot: two Palestinian women trying to pass the same Israeli checkpoint to reach the hospital in Nablus, and an Israeli woman in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. According to a September 2005 report by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNRWA and the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 68 pregnant Palestinian women had to give birth at Israeli checkpoints since the beginning of the current intifada, leading to 34 miscarriages and the deaths of four women.
Few of the children on these pages presented a danger to their killers, whether the latter were Israeli soldiers or Palestinian militants. We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of every child who has been killed.
While it is not possible to reclaim these lives lost to their families and to the world, it is all the more imperative to ensure that no more Palestinian and Israeli children meet a similar fate. Nor is it sufficient simply to keep these imperiled children alive. Many are suffering psychological trauma, and, according to Shafik Masalha, a clinical psychologist at Tel Aviv University, some 15 percent of Palestinian children say they want to become ‘martyrs.’ “I believe that the motives are the terrible lives that the children live daily,” Masalha said. “This should be a warning not only to Israeli but also to Palestinian society [about] what they are doing to the next generation.”
We ask you to add your voice to the call for an end to the killing of children, for a just peace in the region, for a fair resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. You might wish to call for an end to Israel’s illegal occupation since 1967 of land acquired by force. Or you might invoke international law, U.N. resolutions or the Geneva Conventions. At the very least you might wish to support the deployment of international observers in the region. We are confident that, in your own way, you will want to help save these children whom the world appears to have forsaken.
Sources: Every effort has been made to obtain accurate, verifiable data for this publication by comparing reports from a number of major news agencies, national and local media, human rights organizations and official sources, including:
Definition of Terms:
Updated March 27, 2007
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© 2005 American Educational Trust