A recent UNICEF report has stated that twenty-five Palestinian children were killed in the last three months of 2015 during a wave of anti-Israeli attacks and the number detained was the highest in seven years. The global body for children’s welfare also expressed serious concerns on excessive use of force used by Israeli security forces. The report also says more than 1,300 Palestinian children were injured during the recent spike in attacks, almost all in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. UNICEF also voiced alarm over the number of Palestinian children aged between 12 and 17 held by the Israeli army, noting the “tally stood at 422 at the end of December, according to the Israeli prison service, the highest recorded since March 2009”. The slaughter of Palestinian children is one of the worst aspects of the Israeli occupation, and it isn’t just accidental, it almost seems like policy. A 2015 report by a rights agency had also stated that 2,089 Palestinian children were been killed since September 29. The number stood at 2000 by end of 2015. That shocking number suggests more than just kids being caught up in firing; it suggests they are deliberately targeted.
Israeli violence against Palestinians is no new thing. Israeli settlers also often jump into the bloodbath. The trouble is that with the sort of impunity Israel enjoys at the international level, it is no wonder that Israeli soldiers and settlers are nothing less than monsters of death for ordinary Palestinians. And, as Palestinians are burnt alive in their homes, when not bombed or shot or evicted from their homes, the West continues to pat Israel for its ‘fight against terror’. This outrage, this disgrace, must, and will, end one day.
Like in all conflicts, children and women in Palestine often suffer the worst effects of violence. But the targeting of children does and should evoke a particularly passionate response. Even in Kashmir, the hideousness of shooting (to kill) at kids ‘armed’ with stones, when not persecuting them with PSAs and all sorts of pressures if they protest, is one of the most galling facets of state policy. This always has an opposite effect: when the state discards its own laws, said to differentiate it from ‘outlaws’, it not only bins those laws but reveals an illegality that strikes at the core of its claims. But, yes, from Kashmir to Palestine to Syria to Yemen, we now inhabit a world so apparently immune to suffering that not even rank brutality against children seems to hurt for long.