30 November 2023 - occupied Palestinian territory

At least 101 children killed in the West Bank this year

Press release graphic

RAMALLAH, 30 November 2023 – An eight-year-old boy shot dead in the street is one of the most recent casualties of violence in the occupied West Bank, with at least 101 Palestinian children reported killed in the West Bank this year, said Save the Children.

Since the attacks in Israel on 7 October, Israeli soldiers or settlers have killed at least 63 children in the West Bank, according to the UN, averaging more than one child a day—significantly more fatalities than in the first nine months of the already deadliest year. During this same period, the UN has reported that some 143 families, including 388 children, have been displaced from their homes in the West Bank due to settler violence and access restrictions.

The number of Palestinian children killed in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers or settlers this year is now three times the number killed in 2022 – itself previously the deadliest year on record since 2005 - when 36 children were killed. At least 39 Israeli children have been reportedly killed this year. 

Without a permanent end to the violence, Save the Children is gravely concerned that child and wider civilian casualties will continue to rise across the occupied Palestinian territory. The escalation of violence in Gaza has been mirrored by increased control measures and violence in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, with ongoing unrest keeping children out of school, and restricting their access to vital services, including healthcare.

Children trying to cross checkpoints across the West Bank have also reported having their phones seized and being detained in the military detention system based on their social-media activity, raising serious human rights concerns including around freedom of expression, privacy, and deprivation of liberty.

Jason Lee, oPt Country Director for Save the Children, said: 

“While all eyes have been on the conflict in Gaza, there has been no pause in the killing of children in the West Bank, where the situation continues to deteriorate.

The longer the killing of civilians in Gaza continues, the higher the likelihood that this will continue to spread into the West Bank where children are already seeing their rights eviscerated.

“Children must always be protected. Save the Children is calling for an immediate end to the excessive use of force against children by Israeli forces. At the same time, we are calling for an immediate, independent investigation into – and accountability for – the killing of all children. As long as a culture of impunity persists, cycles of violence are likely to continue.

It is long past time to stop violations against children’s rights, and to provide long-lasting safety to children in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. Anything else will fail to provide them with the future they deserve.”

Save the Children has been working with Palestinian children since the 1950s, with a permanent presence in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) since 1973. Our team works across the oPt, with over 30 partners, to ensure children survive, have a chance to learn, are protected from all types of abuse, and that all actors remain committed to fulfilling the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).


Notes to editors

[1] According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 36 Palestinian children were killed in the West Bank in 2022.  As of 29 November, OCHA’s public oPt casualties database reports 101 children killed in the West Bank in 2023, including 63 killed between 7 October and 29 November.

[2] Since 7 October, at least 143 Palestinian households comprising 1,014 people, including 388 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions.

[3] In the first nine months of 2023, the UN reported 6 Israeli children killed. Since 7 October, 33 Israeli children have been killed according to Israeli media.

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