By: Khaled Tayeh
RAMALLAH, Wednesday, February 8, 2023 (WAFA) – It has only been 39 days since the start of the new year 2023. Yet, the Israeli regime has committed more crimes against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories than at any other time in the recent years of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
The new year has so far been hurtful to the Palestinians as per the official reports and statistics documented by ministries and organizations of the Israeli violations against the Palestinian peoples, specifically children.
In its annual report on the Israeli aggression against Palestinians in 2022, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said the Israeli army and settlers shot and killed 224 Palestinians, including 53 children under 18 years of age and 17 females, where the number killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was 171, and in the Gaza Strip, 53 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s three-day aggression against the besieged sea enclave between August 5 to 7.
The Ministry said in its report that eight of the dead were less than 10 years of age, 45 between 11 and 17 years, 108 between 18 and 29 years, 27 between 30 and 39, 19 between 40 and 49, 11 between 50 and 59, and five over 60, resulting in making 2022 the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem in recent years.
Israel's atrocities against Palestinian children and minors are nothing the Palestinians are unfamiliar with as the occupying state has been perpetuating horrific violations against them since the start of the occupation in 1967.
According to a report by the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission, Israel detained more than 50,000 children since 1967.
The Commission in its report, which was released on International Children’s Day, pointed out that about 160 children are still imprisoned by the Israeli occupation authorities to date, of whom three girls are detained in the Israeli prison of Damon, namely Jannat Zaidat, 16, Nufoud Hammad, 16, and Zamzam Al-Qawasmeh, 17.
Moreover, the Commission said that more than 600 Palestinian children were kept by Israeli courts under house arrest in 2022, noting that the Israeli occupation authorities resort to house arrest, mainly imposed against children and youth in occupied East Jerusalem, as a form of punishment for children under the age of 14 because Israeli law does not permit their imprisonment.
But more tragically, according to reports by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the number of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2023 has risen to 42, including nine children and an elderly woman.
On January 2nd, Israeli forces shot dead Fouad Mahmoud Abed, 18, after he was shot in the belly and thigh during a military raid in Kufr Dan town, west of Jenin.
One day later, Adam Ayyad, 15, was shot with a live bullet in the chest and taken to the Beit Jala hospital, where he was pronounced dead during a military raid in the refugee camp of al-Dheisheh, south of Bethlehem.
On January 5th, a large unit of Israeli forces broke into the eastern area of Nablus, sparking confrontations with Palestinians, during which the soldiers fired live bullets, and sound and tear gas canisters at people, killing Amer Abu Zaytoun, 16, after shooting him in the head.
A few days later, on January 10th, 14-year-old Omar Khaled Khmour was shot by a live bullet in the head during an Israeli army assault on Dheisheh refugee camp. He was in critical condition at the hospital until he was pronounced dead.
On January 26th, an Israeli army force killed nine Palestinians, including a 61-year-old woman, and two children, Waseem Abu Jaas, and Abdullah al-Goul, during a raid of the city of Jenin and its refugee camp.
On the same day, Nayef al-Oweidat, 13, succumbed to the serious wounds he sustained during the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip last year.
On the following day, another Palestinian teen from Jerusalem named Wadee' Abu Rumouz, 16, succumbed to wounds he sustained from Israeli gunfire in Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem a couple of days before.
Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that the 16-year-old teen was even shackled to his hospital bed despite his critical injury and his family was prevented from seeing him.
On February 7th, Israeli forces gunned down Hamza Amjad al-Ashqar, 17. He was shot in the face during a military assault on Nablus.
In total, Israel has ended the lives of nine Palestinian children since the beginning of 2023, eight of them during the month of January alone.
With the killing of al-Ashqar, the number of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2023 has risen to 42, including the elderly woman.