World Children's Day 2023
World Children’s Day has come at a time when the lives, rights, homes, schools, and dreams of Palestinian children are being deliberately and systematically decimated by the illegal Israeli occupation regime. Palestinian children face ongoing arbitrary, indiscriminate, and excessive use of force, resulting in a tragic situation of widespread suffering and long-lasting trauma.
Over the past six weeks, Israel's murderous assault on Gaza has killed more than 5500 children. Thousands of others remain under the rubble and are presumed dead. Thousands more are injured. Palestinian children who survive this slaughter are made to endure inhumane conditions of displacement, starvation, dehydration, and lack of basic elements of life, imposed on them by Israel, the occupying Power.
This atrocious reality also extends to Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, where the occupying army and settler militias have displaced dozens of families and murdered 96 children since the start of 2023,of which 53 were killed in the past 44 days. Meanwhile, 200 Palestinian children languish in Israeli detention centers, deprived of their most basic rights.
The structural and systemic violence against children is emblematic of the illegal occupation regime's entrenched agenda of perpetual colonization, dispossession, and apartheid. This campaign of cruelty against Palestinian children, as well as their prospects for living in dignity, safety, and freedom, is a deliberate assault on Palestine's future.
The State of Palestine will continue to take determined steps to protect and defend the dignity, rights, and lives of Palestinian children, including seeking accountability for war crimes committed against children. We call on the United Nations Secretary-General to finally include the Israeli occupying forces and settler militias in the United Nations list of parties that commit grave violations affecting children in situations of armed conflict.
Furthermore, the State of Palestine calls on all states, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, to take effective action to put an end to the ongoing military aggression on Palestinian children, including by holding Israeli government officials, military commanders, and occupying forces, as well as settlers, accountable for their grave breaches and heinous crimes against Palestinian children.