An independent non-governmental organization (NGO) says nearly 2,000 Palestinian children have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli military forces and illegal settlers over the past 15 years.
Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP), in a report released on Thursday, criticized the Israeli regime’s policy of land expropriation and consistent development of illegal settlements in the occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and West Bank, warning that such practices are placing Palestinian children and their families against "expanding and often violent Israeli settler communities.”
The Geneva-based NGO further noted that Israel’s ongoing settlement expansion activities are increasingly creating a "hyper-militarized environment" for Palestinian children, where they are highly exposed to disproportionate violence from both Israeli forces and settlers.
The DCIP said Israeli soldiers killed 12 Palestinian children in East al-Quds and West Bank in 2014, and the majority of the fatalities were caused by ammunition.
It highlighted that there is "no evidence that any of the children killed in the West Bank posed a direct threat to Israeli troops or settlers."
The rights group also revealed that 553 of the Palestinian children killed since 2000 died as a direct result of the Israeli military’s onslaught against the impoverished Gaza Strip in summer 2014, noting that around 68 percent of the victims were under the age of 12.
Israel started its military campaign against the impoverished Gaza Strip in early July 2014. The offensive ended on August 26, 2014. Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, lost their lives in the Israeli war. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – also sustained injuries.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967.
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the besieged Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.