Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Palestinian Child Day

In the face of an every-deteriorating situation, including food shortages in Gaza, bantustanization of the West Bank, and scores of children's detention and deaths in both areas in recent weeks, Palestinians commemorated Palestine Child's Day today with actvities and events. Here is a statement by the Palestinian Network for Children's Rights (headed by Defence for Children International/Palestine Section) on Palestinian Child Day:

For the past few years, this day – Palestinian Child Day – has become synonymous with grief and pain. On the 5 April each year, Palestinian children have searched for their childhood and sought to renew their broken dreams. The event revives memories of their suffering and the suffering of their colleagues at the hands of the Israeli occupation. Since April 2002, when Israeli troops launched the largest military campaign against Palestinian civilians across the West Bank, the level of suffering increased. The campaign resulted in the killing, arrest, injury and bereavement of scores of children; and in the months and years that have followed, these atrocities have been repeated time and again across the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

This year, the circumstances surrounding Palestinian Child Day are no different – our children continue to feel the pain of occupation. Israeli forces continue to deprive children of their right to life – since the start of this year alone, 12 children have been killed, bringing to 740 the total number of children fatalities since the start of the intifada. In the same period, around 4,000 minors have been arrested, of whom some 400 are still in prison.

This Palestinian Child Day, we remember with particular concern the Israeli practices and pressure against our children in the Gaza Strip. Despite the physical Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza last August – much hailed by the international media and politicians – the area remains a big prison with Israeli forces controlling all exit and entry points. The Israeli authorities have kept sealed for most of this year the only cargo crossing point into Gaza, and at the risk of triggering a humanitarian catastrophe have prevented food and medicine supplies from entering the strip. It is unacceptable that the Israeli authorities use the lives and rights of Palestinian children as a political bargaining card and we call on the UN and international community to exert pressure on the Israeli government to stop these cynical practices.

In the West Bank, Israeli actions impinge on all those fields of Palestinian children's rights which are supposed to be protected by international human rights standards. The repeated incursions to areas in the West Bank and the continued construction of the separation wall undermine Palestinian children's rights – including their rights to education, adequate standard of living, healthcare and in some cases their most basic right – the right to life.

As such the Palestinian Network for Children's Rights urges the international community and the States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to abide by their obligations to protect children's rights without discrimination. We also ask the international community to practice pressure on the Israeli government to abide by the international law through ceasing at once all violations against Palestinian children and implementing immediately the concluding observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding the applicability of the CRC on the OPT.

On the internal level, as members of the Palestinian community, we too must act to protect, respect and implement Palestinian children's rights. One year ago, the Palestinian Child Law entered into force. We must now join together to push for the law to be activated, and for bylaws to be issued specifying the scope and responsibility of each ministry in fulfilling its part in relation to this law.

Moreover, we call on the Palestinian Legislative Council to accelerate the enactment of the Juvenile Justice law. This must be a priority, for without this children in conflict with the law will continue to suffer due to an of absence legislation guaranteeing their protection and taking into consideration their best interests.

Childhood should not be regarded as a preparatory stage for adulthood. It is an independent developmental stage which all children should experience. Today, we, as members of the Palestinian community, should work to transform this Palestinian Child Day into an occasion of fun and hope through enforcing respect for our children and their rights.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on Laila!

10:01 PM  
Blogger Abu Shaar said...

I didn't know Palestinian children had their own holiday! Mabruuk!

Many of my best memories of Rafah were with the children, particularly those on Abu Jamil St. (which of course, no longer exists thanks to the Israeli army.

Thanks for reminding me to call Fida of Rachel Way Group

Another group of amazing Palestinian children are in Deir Ibzi'a , including Mohammed, my first Arabic teacher.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad just sad, maybe no one over there should be allowed to have children because they might just grow up to be IDF or terrorists... Maybe if everyone had to exchange children (fostering like they did in the middle ages) for a time each side would get a more balanced picture of who they are fighting... Another human being. All these Country and ethnic divisions just make me sick and it makes me wonder if religion and race matters at all except to make people THINK they are better than someone else. How about all the Jews and Muslims WAKING UP and looking your "ethnic/religious" neighbour in the face to see if you really are any different in the end

5:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon,You do not deserve any comment,but only to help you no to still so ignorant.
Talmud says anything about killing anyone. I am Jew and I know it very well,in contrary,we have to respect the whole humanity and love them like ourselves.
Please do not put religion and human stupidity together.If some say so,if people from both side kills,they are WRONG.
It does not come from Islamism or from Judaism.
I lived in Israel just a bit before the second Intifada began and I never saw NOBODY saying that they are going to join IDF for pleasure. At the other side Mothers are also tired to send their kids to army,but they have to.
Just do not use stupidity from some people to justify any violence,and more than that do not be ignorant and put religion together.
The only thing that I do not understand WHY for G-d sake those people can not live together? There´s so many anger and hate,even at Laila´s words.
The kids are not violent only because of the israelis,you allow to spank children at your schools,it´s that children rights?
That´s the way kids have been raised.
But of course we should not take any example from fundamentalists from any side.
In South America for example Palestinians,Arabs and Jews coexist in a very nice way.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is getting of topic, but you can't know much about South America if you haven't heard of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina bombing in 1994. A lorry bomb demolished a seven-storey structure killing 85 people and wounding over 300.

Hezbollah were identified as the perpetrators, and they're considered to have a major network in the region, raising funds (legally and illegally) as well as laundering money. The attack cell used a Lebanese suicide bomber, and had assistance from the Iranian embassy. Parguay and the triple-border area are also thought to contain terrorist cells.

Anyway, happy children's day, and I hope it is a peaceful and joyous occasion.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anom 11:53 You are right,sorry to "forget" that incident,but I meant in a general way.
There is no hostility between Arabs and Jews.
Unfortnelly we still have isolated cases all over the world.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:43 PM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

Associated press, May 15, 2002

Gaza's Children Worship Martyrdom

The walls of a Gaza City community center are lined with row after row of drawings by Palestinian children asked to express what's on their minds. The answer is tanks, ambulances, corpses — of 1,500 sketches, only 10 do not depict violent scenes.

Nearly 20 months of "Israeli"-Palestinian fighting and a culture that increasingly glorifies violence have taken a heavy toll on Gaza's children.

"We don't have a single child in Gaza who knows what it's like to be a normal child," said Abdul-Rahman Bakr, director of Gaza City's psychiatric hospital.

The drawings in the community center's conference room show battle scenes complete with guns, jets, helicopters and many dead bodies.

"We wanted the children to express themselves through the drawings and this is what we got," said Fadl Abu Hein, a child psychologist. "Everyone can now see what's really worrying our children."

Life in the Gaza Strip leaves children with little chance not to think of violence.

Funerals and rallies with gunmen firing in the air are almost daily events. Walls are covered with graffiti glorifying 'martyrs' killed in attacks on "Israelis". Their faces stare from tens of thousands of posters, and mosque preachers exhort worshippers to emulate them.

"The climate in Gaza gives the impression that being a martyr wins respect," said Abu Hein, who, together with other experts, says parents, Palestinian media and mosque preachers are not doing enough to shelter children.

"Parents are too preoccupied with watching the news on television to listen to their own children," said Abu Hein.

A narrow coastal strip wedged between Egypt and "Israel", Gaza is one of the world's most densely populated areas. Its economy has been hit hard by the violence, with many thousands losing their sole income because travel restrictions prevent them from getting to jobs in "Israel".

Of its 1.1 million inhabitants, about 70 percent are refugees or the descendants of refugees who fled or were forced out of their homes at the time of "Israel's" creation, in 1948, and now live in some half a dozen refugee camps.

The economic decline, the fighting and the uncertainty have filtered down to children in Gaza with what experts believe to be devastating psychological effect.

Close to 20 percent of the more than 1,600 Palestinians killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since September 2000 were 18 and younger, according to Palestinian health officials. Several thousand minors have been injured.

Most of the deaths and injuries among children occur when they join protests to throw stones, bottles and sometimes firebombs at "Israeli" Army troops, checkpoints or Jewish settlements.

A March survey of 2,300 children between the ages of six and 13 showed that up to 73 percent in some parts of Gaza have taken part in violence and that 98 percent have witnessed events that frightened them.

In some areas, as many as half of those questioned said they knew another child who died in the violence, according to the survey by the Center for Social Training and Crisis Management, a Palestinian non-governmental organization.

With "martyrdom" now nearly an obsession among youngsters frustrated by the uncertainty and low quality of life, Gazans have been alarmed in recent weeks by a spate of incidents in which teen-agers, some as young as 11, tried to infiltrate heavily guarded Jewish settlements or attack "Israeli" Army posts.

One such child was Yousef Zaqout, a ninth grader shot dead April 23 with two friends, ages 14 and 13, by "Israeli" troops as they tried to slip into the settlement of Netzarim in central Gaza.

Zaqout left a heart-wrenching will for his family, saying it was his wish to be a martyr, begging his parents' forgiveness and exhorting his six siblings to pray regularly and fast from dawn to sunset twice a week.

"He was older than his 15 years. Our children are no longer children," Yousef's father, Bassem Zaqout, said of his son, who took karate lessons and was the goalkeeper of his school's soccer team.

Ahmed, Youssef's 16-year-old brother, said he too wanted to be a martyr. But he added: "I will do something that's well planned and effective. I might as well, since in these days we can all be sitting here at home and suddenly die from "Israeli" shelling."

Gazans have traditionally viewed themselves as leaders of the fight against "Israeli" occupation. Gazan children — some barely out of diapers — have been used by grown-ups to feed this notion.

In Gaza's funerals for "shaheeds," or martyrs, and in rallies by Palestinian factions such as Arafat's Fatah or the militant Islamic group Hamas, children as young as three or four are outfitted with combat fatigues, masks and toy guns. Such occasions routinely attract hundreds of children, all accustomed by now to the deafening noise made by gunmen firing in the air.

Children are sometimes symbolically wrapped in white sheets to suggest their desire for martyrdom — Muslims wrap their dead in white sheets before burying them — with participants around them shouting slogans glorifying martyrdom.

Songs extolling the virtues of martyrdom and praising those already "martyred" are played on loudspeakers in large tents erected for the families of children killed by "Israeli" troops to receive condolences.

Izzedine Hilo, a 14-year-old boy killed Friday by "Israeli" troops in northern Gaza, was declared a "martyr of Islam" in a Hamas banner hoisted outside his house over the weekend. Two other children who were with him were injured, one seriously.

The violence has also found its way into play time and games mirroring aspects of life in recent months have evolved. One is "Arabs and Jews," which is a local version of Cowboys and Indians. There is also "checkpoints," a game in which children try to flag down passing cars — as happens to Palestinians crossing checkpoints manned by "Israeli" troops checking the identity of passengers.

There is also "shaheed," a game in which children take turns being carried by friends shouting "with our blood, our souls we sacrifice you" — as in the funeral processions.

"There isn't a single street or family here that doesn't have someone who died in the fighting," said Bakr, the hospital director. "The children are both frightened and rebellious."


San Francisco Chronicle ,July 31,2005 Hamas Summer Camps: Kill Zionists.

Seventeen-year-old Osama Abu Asi knows what Hamas stands for: swimming lessons, horseback riding, potato sack races and other summertime fun -- including religious education and paramilitary training.
This is summer camp in the Gaza Strip, as organized by Harakat al-Moqawama al-Islamiyah, the Islamic Resistance Movement, better known as Hamas -- which is officially regarded by the United States and many other countries as a terrorist organization that has killed hundreds of Israelis


At one beach camp, attended by approximately 100 kids, an instructor wore a heavy flannel shirt under which a webbed belt could be seen strapped to his stomach. Asked by a reporter what it was, he answered, with a broad smile, "Boom!"

The instructor led a group of young teenagers through marching drills on the sand -- facing movements, close quarter drill. With a smile at the reporter, he put a megaphone to his lips.

"What are you?" he called.

"Monsters!" the kids replied.

"What are you?!"


As the instructor, Sa'eb Dormush, stepped aside for an interview, a youth in the group shouted out "moqawama!" -- resistance.

"That is the first word they learn when they are born," Dormush said with a laugh. "This is the next generation."

Across camp, a group of younger children -- most between 10 and 12 -- sat in a circle in the sand singing one of the "intifada songs" they learn at camp. One boy sang verses in a rolling soprano as the others joined in on the one-word chorus.

"We don't want to sleep.


We want revenge.


Raise it up.


Rifle fire.


If it will take a thousand martyrs.


Kill Zionists.


Wherever they are.


In the name of God.


3:06 PM  
Blogger Shaggydabbydo said...

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great pics.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laila, great job. Congratulation!

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, laila, Good luck to palestinian children!

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy holyday to you.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regurds from Israeli children to you, Laila!

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way congretulation and pease to you, Laila

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great pictures from palestinian kids camp!

4:11 PM  
Blogger refr. said...

Wish all those children in Palestian Well!

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There´s a slightly diference between young adults and children don´t you think so? They must be at least 18 years old and above,do you know the difference between a 18 years old boy and a 4 years old one?
Shaggy, I am a Jew and I lived in Israel and I can tell you that I do not raise my kids that way;and I never saw any healthy people doing it,and there is not the main education in Israel,to teach the kids,to kill people.
It´s written here at that you should kill as many palestinians as you can? It´s written here somewhere that you are going to be a martyr if you kill someone? You know the difference between a military and a Summer Camp? It´s written here that Judaism or G-d it´s going to love you more if you kill someone? That you are going to paradise?
Sorry but there is no brain wash in this site and it´s very clearly.
By the way I didn´t see any guns at all at this site.
And if you accept Laila,I want to wish you and the kids from Gaza a great kids day and hope for better ones.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You rant on & on but no one is listening to your propoganda!! I would like to see a peaceful palestine someday, but it will not happen if BOTH sides do not want it!! I do believe Israel does not want it because if it did then they wouldn't keep instigating by humiliating and destroying infrastructure every chance they get!!!


5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bytw, here in the USA we have a big gang problem, if our army decided to bomb a neighborhood everytime their was a drive by shooting in the area, we would have a major war on our hands.

In essence that is what is going on everytime some exteremist commits a crime of shooting/bombing, Israel immediately retaliates by going into the neighborhood of these extremists & destroys everything in the area, including innocents & homes of innocents. Can you imagine the anarchy that would create in the USA if that happened here?


6:17 PM  
Blogger Peter Shea said...

"Childhood should not be regarded as a preparatory stage for adulthood. It is an independent developmental stage which all children should experience."

Laila, you may be interested in the book The Disappearance of Childhood by Neil Postman, who was known for his studies into the way in which information technology affects societies.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:17 PM,
you really have no Idea what you are talking about do you??
"Israel immediately retaliates by going into the neighborhood of these extremists & destroys everything in the area, including innocents & homes of innocents"

Do you really believe this or are you just ranting on, based on some vague concept you got from reading some 5th rate source?

9:37 PM  
Blogger Gert said...

I've linked to your blog.

Remember, always remember, that many here in the West (but not enough), support the Palestinian cause. We see an entire people being strangled and the world just looks on. I'm not anti-Semitic or not even anti-Zionist but it baffles me that this kind of situation can be prolonged and prolonged, perpetrated by a people that have suffered persecution on their own flesh and blood.

You must get many hateful comments, so do I: do not be deterred. Keep going.

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't think you have a clue at the destruction Israel has done to Palestinian people & I am not speaking about the militants but the core of Palestine "the people". Yes I do really believe that because it is true!!

Just look at the facts of just how many children have been killed in Palestine alone, and don't tell me they were ALL militants.

5:39 PM  

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