More than 1,500 Palestinian children have died at the hands of Israeli forces since 2000, the Palestinian Authority's minister of social affairs, Kamal Sharafi, said Saturday, on Palestinian Children's Day.
In addition to the 1,520 children that have been killed, another 6,000 have been injured and more than 10,000 arrested, Palestinian news agency Ma’an quoted Sharafi as saying. Two-hundred children are still in detention in Israeli prisons.
"Protecting and supporting children should be a national responsibility," Sharafi said, urging the Palestinian Authority to approve a law for the protection of minors.
The international community has criticized Israel for the mistreatment of Palestinian minors. In March 2013, a United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) report concluded that Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank are “systematically” ill-treated, which is a violation of international law.
Each year, some 700 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17 – mainly boys – are arrested, interrogated, and detained by Israel's army, police, and security agents, UNICEF said in the 22-page document.
According to the report, the ill-treatment often begins at the point of arrest, when children are woken by heavily-armed soldiers and forcibly brought to an interrogation center “tied and blindfolded, sleep-deprived and in a state of extreme fear.”
In June 2013, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) issued a report stating that thousands of Palestinian children were systematically injured, tortured, and used as human shields by Israel.
During the 10-year period examined by UN human rights experts, up to 7,000 children aged 9 to 17 were arrested, interrogated and kept captive, CRC said in the report.
Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes attacked several sites in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip Sunday, sources on both sides said, hours after a rocket from the Palestinian enclave hit the occupied territories.
According to AFP, Palestinian medical and security sources said five sites in northern and southern Gaza were hit, including training camps for the militant Islamic Jihad and Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing.
The Palestinians said there were no injuries in the attacks.
In another development, Zionist regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday Israel was willing to continue U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians but not "at any price".
Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Israel would respond with steps of its own if the Palestinians pressed ahead with unilateral actions toward statehood. He did not elaborate, Reuters reported.
Attempts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to put peace talks back on track unraveled in the past week after the Palestinians signed 15 international conventions, mainly through the United Nations.
President Mahmoud Abbas decided to sign the international conventions after Israel reneged on a pledge to free the last group of 104 Palestinian prisoners it agreed to release in the deal that led to the negotiations restarting nine months ago.
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