Number of children killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, reaches unprecedented levels

Statement by UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Adele Khodr

28 December 2023

AMMAN, 28 December 2023 – “This year has been the deadliest year on record for children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with conflict-related violence reaching unprecedented levels.

“83 children have been killed in the past twelve weeks – more than double the number of children killed in all of 2022, amid increased military and law enforcement operations. More than 576 have been injured and others have reportedly been detained. Furthermore, the West Bank has been heavily affected by movement and access restrictions.

“As the world watches on in horror at the situation in the Gaza Strip, children in the West Bank are experiencing a nightmare of their own. Living with a near-constant feeling of fear and grief is, sadly, all too common for children affected. Many children report that fear has become a part of their daily life, with many scared even walking to school or playing outside due to the threat of shootings and other conflict-related violence. UNICEF is extremely concerned about the right of children in the West Bank including East Jerusalem to safety and protection, and their inherent right to life. 

“Children living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been experiencing grinding violence for many years, yet the intensity of that violence has dramatically increased since the horrific attacks of 7 October. Conflict-related violence has killed 124 Palestinian children and 6 Israeli children since the start of 2023.

“Grave violations against children, in particular killing and maiming, are unacceptable. UNICEF urges all parties to abide by their obligations under international human rights law and to protect children from conflict-related violence and protect their most basic right simply to be alive. Children should never be the target of violence, no matter who or where they are. An end to recurring violence is the best way to ensure children can grow up in peace and safety.

“The suffering of children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, must not fade into the background of the current conflict – it is part of it.”


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