Know More About Palestine
Tuesday Feb. 16, 2010 12:23 PM (EST+7)

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.

MINORITY COMMUNITIES

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.

RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

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’S RIGHTS

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.

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