UNICEF denounces killing of thirteen Palestinian children since January
The UN agency for children's rights, UNICEF, has called on "all parties to the conflict" to "protect all children, at all times, everywhere" following the killing of thirteen Palestinian children by Israeli troops over the past six months.
"Since the beginning of the year, 13 Palestinian children have been killed in the West Bank - almost double the number compared to last year," Adele Khodr, UNICEF's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, wrote in the statement. "That is 13 lives lost, 13 lives cut short, 13 dreams shattered."
On Friday, a 14 year-old Palestinian boy was killed by Israeli gunfire in Bethlehem. Zaid Saeed Ghuneim was the third Palestinian child killed over the course of a single week. His death follows the killing of Ghaith Yamen (16 years-old) on Friday and Amjad Fayed (17 years-old) on May 21. Both boys were shot dead by Israeli soldiers during separate raids on the city of Jenin.
"UNICEF is not in a position to provide or get more details on the exact circumstances of the killings," UNICEF spokesperson Juliette Touma told The New Arab.
But the Israeli army's large share of responsibility in the murders is clear.
Israeli troops have been repeatedly accused of shooting unarmed Palestinian children during protests and military operations, in addition to being responsible for the death of hundreds of children killed by Israeli bombing campaigns against the Gaza strip.
Palestinian children are also frequently exposed to Israeli settler violence - harassed, sometimes stoned on their way to school, intimidated and brutalised at checkpoints.
Last week, a Palestinian baby was hospitalised after Israeli settlers pepper-sprayed his parents' car as they commuted between the Palestinian cities of Jenin and Nablus - leaving the baby in a critical condition.
The rights of Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza are routinely denied by the occupation authorities.
In January, a 16-year old Palestinian child from Gaza died of cancer after Israel prevented him from crossing into the West Bank to seek treatment.
Israeli forces and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories through harming and killing civilians, demolishing homes, poisoning livestock, vandalising property and other forms of violence.
Multiple Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights organisations have denounced these abuses. A damning report released by Amnesty International in February slammed Israel for enforcing a system of 'apartheid' on Palestinians.