Sixty-one years, sixty-one children you've probably never heard of.
1. Unidentified Palestinian girl (below left), one of the victims of a bomb attack in Jerusalem on 29 December 1947. Members of the Irgun militant Zionist group threw a bomb from a passing taxi at a bus (below right) in the Palestinian residential quarter near Herod's Gate, killing 17 Palestinian civilians. (Walid Khalidi, Before Their Diaspora).
2 - 6. Five Palestinian children of the Abu Suwan family, killed when militant Zionists blew up the Semiramis Hotel in Jerusalem.
5 JANUARY 1948 Haganah terrorists made a most barbarous attack at one o'clock in the early morning of Monday, 5 January 1948, at the Semiramis hotel in the Katamon section of Jerusalem, killing innocent people and wounding many. The Jewish Agency terrorist forces blasted the entrance to the hotel by a small bomb and then placed bombs in the basement of the building. As a result of the explosions, the whole building collapsed with its residents. As the terrorists withdrew, they started shooting at the houses in the neighborhood.
- From United Nations Security Council Official Records, Supplements for 1948 - Palestine. (via the Encyclopaedia of Palestine)
Ruins of the Semiramis Hotel, located in the Palestinian residential quarter of Bak'a in West Jerusalem. On 5 January 1948 (the day after Zionist militants blew up the local government offices in Jaffa, killing 26 Palestinian civilians) members of the Haganah blew up the hotel, killing 20 civilian guests. (Walid Khalidi, Before Their Diaspora).
7 - 14. Eight Palestinian children under the age of fourteen, killed when a Zionist militant planted a bomb in the suq in Ramleh, Palestine.
18 FEBRUARY 1948 At 2:30 in the afternoon, an Irgun Z'vai Leumi terrorist disguised as an Arab and riding a donkey, arrived at the Ramleh vegetable market. The terrorist started to bargain for some vegetables from a woman vendor, paid her the price and asked her to look after his donkey and the basket on its back, while the terrorist left, saying he was going to buy some meat from an adjacent market.
In less then ten minutes the mines and high explosives in the basket exploded killing 12 and wounding 43 persons. Among the killed were four children less then ten years of age and four less than fourteen.
The explosion was so terrible that it was impossible to identify more than one of the victims. The Palestine Government official communique describing this incident said that pieces of the heads, hands, legs and internal parts of the dead were gathered from places two miles away from the scene of the explosion.
-- From United Nations Security Council Official Records, Supplements for 1948 - Palestine. (via the Encyclopaedia of Palestine)
15. Newborn Palestinian infant, name not known, taken prisoner with his or her mother when Israeli troops overran the village of al-Dawayima, near Hebron, on 28 October 1948. Murdered with his/her mother and at least 80 other residents of the same village, in an attempt by the Israeli 89th Battalion to expel the Palestinian population from the region.
Ben-Gurion, quoting General Avner, briefly referred in his war diary to the 'rumours' that the army had 'slaughtered 70-80 persons.' What happened was described a few days later by an Israeli soldier-witness to a Mapam member, who transmitted the information to Eliezer Pra'i, the editor of the party daily Al Hamishmar and a member of the party's Central Committee. The party member, S. (possibly Shabtai) Kaplan, described the witness as 'one of our people, an intellectual, 100 percent reliable.' The village, wrote Kaplan, had been held by Arab 'irregulars' and was captured by the 89th Battalion (8th Brigade) without a fight. 'The first [wave] of conquerors killed about 80 to 100 [male] Arabs, women, and children. The children they killed by breaking their heads with sticks. There was not a house without dead,' wrote Kaplan. Kaplan's informant, who arrived immediately afterwards in the second wave, reported that Arab men and women who remained were then closed off in their houses 'without food or water.' Sappers arrived to blow up the houses. 'One commander ordered a sapper to put two old women in a certain house ... and to blow up the house with them. The sapper refused ... The commander then ordered his men to put in the old women and the evil deed was done. One soldier boasted that he had raped a woman and then shot her. One woman, with a newborn baby in her arms, was employed to clean the courtyard where the soldiers ate. She worked a day or two. In the end they shot her and her baby.' The soldier-witness, according to Kaplan, said that 'cultured officers ... had turned into base murderers and this not in the heat of battle ... but out of a system of expulsion and destruction. The less Arabs remained--the better. This principle is the political motor for the expulsions and the atrocities.'
(See also Benny Morris, Israel's Border Wars, 1949-1956, pp 179-180 ).
17, 18, 19. Two Palestinian girls, names not known, raped and murdered by Israeli soldiers of the IDF's 22nd Battalion, on or about 16 March 1950. Also one Palestinian boy, name not known, murdered in the same incident.
[O]n 2 April 1950, Ben-Gurion recorded a similar atrocity in the Negev: 'Again our soldiers (Moroccans) caught two Arab girls, raped and murdered them. ... The rapists are from Battalion 22, which is prone to such acts. [The IDF Advocate-General] was ordered to speed up the trials and demand severe punishment.' Ben-Gurion was referring to two girls and a boy from the Gaza Strip village of `Abasan murdered by IDF troops around troops around 16 March, whose bodies were found in Israel on 28 March. (Morris, Israel's Border Wars..., p180)
20, 21. Ali Muhammad Ali Alayyan, aged 12, and his 10-year-old sister, Fakhriyeh, abducted by an IDF patrol as they gathered wood near Deir Ayyub in the Jordanian-controlled West Bank on 2 November 1950. Shot dead by a member of the Israeli patrol in the wadi bed south of Deir Ayyub.
22. Thirteen-year-old Palestinian boy, name not known, one of five Palestinians abducted, shot dead, and mutilated by an Israeli patrol while herding sheep near al Burj, 25 February 1953.
Two of the 49 Palestinian civilians, including 19 children, who were shot dead by Israeli Border Police in the Kfar Qassem Massacre.
On the afternoon of 29 October 1956, officers of the Israeli Border Police declared a 5:00pm curfew for the inhabitants of the village of Kfar Qassem. About 400 residents were working the fields outside the village, and were unaware of the sudden curfew. As the first of them began to return from the fields that evening, they were stopped at the police checkpoints established at three of the entrances to the village, and executed at the side of the road. Forty-nine Palestinian civilians were killed. The commander of the Israeli Border Police unit that carried out the killings was subsequently put on trial, found guilty of an "administrative error", and fined one penny.
25. Mohsin Maha (محسن طه), aged 16; of Kafr Kana, Israel.
One of six Palestinian citizens of Israel who were shot dead by Israeli soldiers on 30 March 1976, while protesting the Israeli government’s confiscation of 5,000 acres of Arab-owned land in the Galilee, for the development of housing for Jewish Israelis. The anniversary of their death is now celebrated annually as "Land Day" by Palestinians in both Israel and the Occupied Territories, and commemorates the historic and continuing confiscation of Palestinian-owned land by the state of Israel, for the exclusive benefit of its Jewish citizens.
26. Palestinian girl, name not known, filmed by a Danish TV cameraman in Shatila Refugee Camp as she was being loaded with other Palestinian refugees into trucks by Phalangist militiamen, on the second day of the Sabra-Shatila Massacre (16 - 18 Sept 1982).
Eyewitnesses in the Lebanese villages of Shweifat and Hadath, south of Beirut, report that at noon on the same day cameraman M. Petersen shot his footage, three large trucks and two smaller vehicles loaded with civilians passed through their area, but the people taken away on trucks remain unaccounted for.
27 - 40. Haitham Ali Erakat, aged 16, shot dead in Abu Dis (West Bank) on 21 May 1989, when an IDF patrol opened fire on Palestinian youths throwing stones.
Also: Ziya Haj Muhammad (aged five); killed 18 Oct 1988;
Khaled Tbeileh (14), 18 Oct 1988;
Manal Samour (14), 25 Oct 1998;
Osama Ahmed Abu-Rama (4), 9 Nov 1988;
Husni Abu Sido (15), 10 Dec 1988;
Asad Talal Hamuda (15), 19 Mar 1989;
Amjad Hisham Nasser (four), 27 Mar 1989;
Fuad Yussef Najajra, (15), 13 Apr 1989;
Muhammad Rab'i (10), 16 Apr 1989;
Shihadi Ziad Rabah Awad (eight), 10 Jun 1989;
Muhammad Majed Abu-Hamadiya (16), 12 Jul 1989;
Sultan Abu Musalam (12), 31 Jul 1989;
and Buthana Adib Hadji (three), 12 Aug 1989.
All killed during the First Palestinian Intifada by Israeli soldiers who opened fire on children throwing stones (via UNGA Report A/44/352 of 13 July 1989, UNGA Report A/44/599 of 12 Oct 1989, and CADFA).
41 - 47.
Walid Abu Hamdiyeh, aged 13;
Ala' Badr Abdul Jalil Taha Abu Sneineh, 17;
Kamal Jamal Kafisheh, 13;
Jabr A'aref AbuHadid Abu Sneineh, 11;
Kifah Abdul Mu'az Marakeh, 11;
Rami Arafat Ali Al Rajabi, 11;
Tareq Abu Sneineh, 14;
Shot dead on 25 February 1994 by an Israeli settler who entered the al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, and opened fire on worshipers as they performed dawn prayers, killing at least 29 people.
Hilmi Shusha was killed in October 1996 by a West Bank settler named Nahum Korman, who beat him to death with the butt of his gun. For beating to death an 11-year-old Palestinian child, Korman was sentenced by an Israeli district court to six months of community service.
The killing of Hilmi Shusha was also a death sentence for his younger sister, Suha. Suha Shusha was already seriously ill at the time of her brother's death, and in need of a bone marrow transplant. Her family members had been tested as possible bone marrow donors, and a match had been found, but it was her older brother, Hilmi. He was killed before the transplant operation that might have saved Suha's life could be carried out.
Khalil al-Mughrabi, aged 11, who was killed when an Israeli soldier opened fire with a heavy-caliber tank-mounted machine gun on three Palestinian children playing soccer in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on 7 July 2001.
Responding to a complaint from the Israeli civil rights group, B'Tselem, IDF Chief Military Prosecutor (Colonel Einat Ron) ruled there was no reason to open a criminal investigation into Khalil's death, as her inquiries had found the soldier had acted properly, opening fire when confronted by rioters.
Unfortunately for Col. Ron, the supporting documents that her office sent to B'Tselem (.pdf link) inadvertently included internal army documents, never intended for release to the public, showing that Col. Ron had actually found there was no riot going on at the time Khalil was shot, that his killing was unjustified, and that she had experimented with various phony explanations for B'Tselem before settling on the "killed in a riot" scenario.
51 - 55.
Akram Naim Astal, aged 6; also his brother Muhammad (13), and their cousins Omar (12), Anis (10) and Muhammad (12), who were all killed by an IDF booby trap bomb planted outside an elementary school in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, on 22 November 2001.
Last Thursday, an undercover unit of the Israeli army buried a mine in the sand that flows around Abdullah Siyam Primary School in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. A few hours later, as Palestinian children headed to school, the mine exploded...
Initially, the Israeli army denied any guilt, alleging instead that the children had played with an old unexploded (Israeli) tank shell. But after left-wing Israelis like Meretz leader Yossi Sarid accused the government of a cover-up, the occupation army at last admitted "indirect responsibility."
A statement issued by the army on 26 November accepted that the bomb that killed the five children had been planted by an undercover unit and that it "might have been activated" by an officer. (Al Ahram, Israel's Morning Class)
56, 57. Jamil Abu Aziz, aged 13, and his six-year-old brother, Ahmad, who were killed by shrapnel from an Israeli tank shell in Jenin, on 21 June 2002.
The IDF maintained that Jamil and Ahmad were killed because they were part of a group of Palestinians that threateningly approached a tank. Footage aired by the BBC showed that they were killed instead as they ran away from a tank that had surprised them as they walked in the street outside their home, and fired on them at pointblank range as they tried to flee.
58, 59. Sixteen-year-old Asma Mughayer, and her brother Ahmed, aged 13; shot dead by an IDF sniper as they brought in laundry from the roof of their home in Tel Sultan, Rafah, on 18 May 2004.
The IDF said of their deaths: "A preliminary investigation indicates they were killed by a bomb intended to be used against soldiers. It was set outside a building by Palestinians to hit an Israeli vehicle". But the Mughayer family said that the children had not been killed by a bomb, but shot by an Israeli sniper, operating out of a neighboring building. An Australian journalist visited the Mughayer house, and found no signs of an explosion there, though he did find bullet holes on the roof, made by bullets which seemed to have been fired from the neighboring building. He visited the neighboring building, and found that its occupants had been held prisoner by an Israeli sniper team that had operated out of their house on the morning that Asma and Ahmed were killed, and left behind MRE wrappers and ammunition boxes (labelled in Hebrew) . British journalists who examined the children's bodies at the morgue found no signs of injuries except for a single bullet hole through the head.
After the British and Australian journalists published their findings, the IDF announced it would hold an internal investigation into the death of the Mughayer siblings. But six months later, while world attention was distracted by a new, large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip refugee camps, the IDF quietly dropped its investigation.
The following year, some of the Israeli soldiers who took part in the May 2004 attack on Rafah gave their testimonies to the Breaking the Silence exhibition. They testified that they had killed innocent Palestinian civilians, under orders from their superiors to kill any Palestinian they encountered, armed or not. They were concerned, in retrospect, that they were guilty of carrying out illegal orders, and one of them testified about the specific case of Asma and Ahmed Mughayer:
Asma Moghayyer, 16, and her brother Ahmed, 13, were shot as they went to collect clothes from a rooftop washing line. The Israeli army insisted the children had been blown up by a roadside bomb. However, journalists visiting the morgue saw only single bullet wounds to the head. The truth, said Rafi, was that they were shot by an Israeli soldier following clear orders to shoot anyone on a roof regardless of their role in the conflict. Rafi says that his overriding impression of the operation was "chaos" and the "indiscriminate use of force". "Gaza was considered a playground for sharpshooters."
61. Kaukab Al Dayah, aged 4, killed when a missile fired by an Israeli F-16 fighter destroyed her home, during an Israeli Air Force attack on a Gaza City mosque, 6 January 2009. (Photo: Getty Images).
Of the 1,417 Palestinians killed in Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip, 27 Dec 2008 - 18 Jan 2009, 926 were civilians, including 313 chidren.
This item is posted in support of Blog About Palestine Day 2009