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Al Mezan and DCI-Palestine Report on Operation Cast Lead Child Rights Violations
Children killed during Operation Cast Lead more than half the total number of children killed in Gaza from the beginning of the Second Intifada to Operation Cast Lead.
Today, one day ahead of the presentation of the Goldstone Mission findings to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and on the anniversary of the start of the Second Intifada, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights (Al Mezan) and Defence for Children International Â– Palestine Section (DCI-Palestine) release a comprehensive report on serious child rights violations perpetrated by the Israeli military during Operation Cast Lead.
This report, entitled Bearing the Brunt Again: Child Rights Violations during Operation Cast Lead, illustrates the scale and range of serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law perpetrated by the Israeli army during Operation Cast Lead. It stresses that these violations follow decades of impunity for previous violations and demonstrates how eight months on, in the context of the Gaza blockade and continued military occupation, Palestinian children remain unable to rebuild their lives.
The report is based on sworn victim and witness testimonies and extensive field investigations. Through the presentation of 43 case studies, the report illustrates the scale and range of serious violations of international law, in particular rules and norms related to international humanitarian law, child rights and children in armed conflict, perpetrated during Israel’s 23-day military offensive Operation Cast Lead. These violations include unlawful killing and maiming, the obstruction of medical access, the destruction of schools, homes and life-sustaining infrastructure such as water and sanitation networks, the use of children as human shields and the arbitrary detention of children.
Key facts and figures:
• At least 353 children were killed during and in the immediate aftermath of the operation; 116 were killed with precision missiles launched by unmanned aircraft and 66 died after Israeli forces obstructed medical access.
• The number of Palestinian children confirmed killed during Operation Cast Lead represents more than a third of the total number of children killed in Gaza since the beginning of the Second Intifada on 28 September 2000.
• At least seven children were used by Israeli troops as human shields; all seven were ill-treated while detained; one of them was detained for 10 days.
• 18 schools were completely destroyed, 260 schools were damaged and 26 children were killed while in, near, or on their way to/from schools.
• At least 3,600 homes were completely destroyed resulting in the displacement of approximately 10,500 children.
The report stresses that the violations perpetrated during Operation Cast Lead represent an escalation of ongoing abuses committed against children in the last years. In the eight years prior to the launch of Operation Cast Lead, Israeli military actions resulted in the deaths of at least 623 children in the Gaza Strip; the number of Palestinian children confirmed killed during Operation Cast Lead represents more than 50 percent of this figure.
“I don’t want to live here anymore. It’s too dangerous. I don’t feel safe anywhere. Even my school was attacked. No-where is safe anymore.”
Lamis (12), 15 June 2009
The report includes the testimonies of child survivors and recent interviews demonstrating that some children are unable to recover from their trauma and rebuild their lives; thousands remain displaced as the illegal siege on the Gaza Strip obstructs reconstruction, and thousands more live in constant fear of renewed assaults as the perpetrators of serious international law violations remain at liberty to order, or commit, further attacks.
The children of Gaza are once more bearing the brunt of a brutal Israeli military offensive. In light of the gravity of the violations outlined in this report, and the likelihood of their imminent recurrence in the absence of accountability, Al Mezan and DCI-Palestine urge for serious and effective action to bring the perpetrators to justice.
In this regard, Al Mezan and DCI-Palestine fully endorse the recommendations put forward by the Goldstone Mission and put particular emphasis on accountability.
Report available at: