Protecting Palestinian children from political violence: The role of the international community
Between December 2008 and January 2009 around 350 Palestinian children were killed and approximately 10,500 displaced during Israel's bombardment of Gaza (DCI/PS, 2009). For children living in the occupied territories of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem the extreme effects of political violence, such as witnessed at that time, are a tragically familiar feature of everyday life. Indeed, this violence has shaped the settings in which successive generations of children have grown up. Within this volatile setting numerous UN and international agencies have worked for many years with the aim of protecting children and realising their basic rights. Yet, the limits of their capacity to fulfil this aim have been made obvious time and again.
The failure of the donors, UN agencies and International NGOs (INGOs) to ensure proper protection of Palestinian children from the political violence of the Israeli government and settlers may be attributed to an array of factors that are conceptual, institutional and political in nature.