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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z   This menu features recently updated backgrounders on people, places and subjects. To view all backgrounders, click More...
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last updated Feb. 16, 2010 12:23 PM (EST+7)
Minorities (Palestinian)
Read more: 
Palestinian minorities, women, children, women and children, minority communities, Bedouin, Christians, discrimination, human rights

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics there are 10.9 million Palestinians in the world, including 4 million in the occupied Palestinian territories at the end of 2009. Under international humanitarian law, Palestinians are divided into two broad categories: protected persons (civilians) and combatants. As Palestinians constitute the indigenous people of Mandatory Palestine (present day Israel and occupied territories), they receive protection under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Other groups included as vulnerable members or persons of concern under international law are women, children and minority communities of Palestinian descent.

EnlargePalestinian women who are relatives of grooms dancing while spray bubbles during a mass wedding ceremony in Gaza City, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
al-Jazeera Int: Israelis defend 'rape by deception' conviction
July 22, 2010 10:04 AM (EST+7)
An 11-year-old boy arrested, Nabi Saleh
Feb. 22, 2011 11:21 AM (EST+7)
Inside the Israeli Repression of Nabi Saleh: Arrest of Children by Joseph Dana
Feb. 16, 2011 9:44 PM (EST+7)
Aljazeera: Facing death on Gaza's border
Oct. 24, 2010 8:40 PM (EST+7)
Health (Palestinian)
Health (Palestinian)
Health (Palestinian)
Hanan Ashrawi interview in Haaretz
Life on the Edge: The struggle to survive and the impact of forced displacement in high risk areas of the occupied Palestinian territory
A Question of Security: Violence against Palestinian Women and Girls
Poll No. 66 Part 2, November 2008 - Palestinian's opinions towards woman's rights
Poll No. 36 Part I, March 2000 - On Palestinian Attitudes Towards Final Status Issues and Women and Legislation in Palestine
Poll No. 13, February 1996 - On Palestinian Elections, its fairness, Women and the Palestinian National Charter
FemBio website
UNICEF Occupied Palestinian territory website
"Peace Studies: Children of Israel," The Independent, Oct 18 2007


News on Minorities (Palestinian)
IN GAZA: 'How can it be an accident that our children are killed?'Nov. 21, 2012 1:54 PM (EST+7)
Palestinians ease laws preventing women from divorceSept. 1, 2012 2:22 PM (EST+7)
Palestinian women battle to break into businessJuly 12, 2012 5:01 AM (EST+7)

Palestinian Bedouins, totaling approximately 30,000 persons, have a semi-nomadic way of life, which has impeded by restricted movement imposed by Israeli military in the OPT. Drought and famine have also endangered their livelihoods (see 2008 OCHA report). Many communities, such as the Jahalin Bedouin and those in the Jordan Valley, have been arbitrarily displaced as a result of land confiscation, settlement and the Wall.


The rights of children are enshrined in human rights law, particularly in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and international humanitarian law.

Defence for Children International reports that between 28 September 2000 and 12 July 2008, 971 Palestinian children were killed and 337 were detained by Israeli authorities in mid-2008. Since the beginning of the Intifada in September 2000, over 6,000 Palestinian children have been detained by the Israeli military. UNICEF in occupied Palestinian territory estimates that ten percent of Palestinian children under five years old are chronically malnourished and nearly one-third of them experience anxiety, phobia or depression.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child states:

".. the deliberate and indiscriminate targeting and killing of Israeli civilians by Palestinian suicide bombers and the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, the bombing of civilian areas, extrajudicial killings, the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defence Forces, the demolition of homes, the destruction of infrastructure, mobility restrictions and the daily humiliation of Palestinians impede on the application of the Convention on the Rights of the Child."

The Committee also found discrimination by Israeli legislation in the definition of a child between Israeli children (18 years old) and Palestinian children in the occupied Palestinian territory (16 years old).


Women are protected under humanitarian and human rights law, including the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Committee has expressed concern over the number of incidents at Israeli checkpoints that have infringed on the rights of Palestinian women, particularly the right of access to immediate health-care services for pregnant women.

A detailed report by Amnesty International concluded that Palestinian women have been victimized by two leading factors: Israeli occupation and the subsequent escalation of the conflict, as well as discriminatory and unequal treatment of Palestinian women in Palestinian society. A report by Human Rights Watch also found prevalent violence against women and girls in Palestinian families and society.

Palestine in Figures 2007 - Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (pdf)
Protected persons and property and international humanitarian law - ICRC
Convention on the rights of the child - Office of the UN High Commissioner for human rights
Defence for children international website
At a glance: Occupied Palestinian Territory - UNICEF
Committee of the Rights of the Child - UN high commissioner for human rights
Committee of the rights of the child: Israel
Convention on prevention of discrimination against women
Press Release on the Palestinians in the World at the end of 2009, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) (pdf)

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