December 4th, 2010

URGENT APPEAL - Children of the Gravel

03 December 2010


UPDATED URGENT APPEAL from DCI Palestine - Children of the Gravel

Appeal to stop the targeting of unarmed children working near the border in Gaza - 16 cases documented.

Nature of incidents

Between 26 March and 28 November 2010, DCI-Palestine documented 16 cases of children shot whilst collecting building gravel near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Due to a severe lack of job opportunities and a shortage of construction material entering Gaza from Israel, hundreds of men and boys scavenge for building gravel amongst the destroyed buildings close to the border fence. The gravel is collected into sacks, loaded onto donkey drawn carts and sold to builders for use in concrete.

Children can earn up to 50 shekels (US $13) per day which is used to help support their families. Reports indicate that Israeli soldiers on duty in the observation towers which line the border between Gaza and Israel frequently fire warning shots to scare workers away from the border region. Reports also indicate that these soldiers sometimes shoot and kill the donkeys used by the workers, and also target the workers, usually, but not always, shooting at their legs. In the cases documented by DCI-Palestine, the children report being shot whilst working between 50 to 800 metres from the border fence. These cases have also been reported in Haaretz, The Guardian, The Independent and AFP media outlets.

Background information

According to a recent UN study, over the past 10 years, the Israeli military has gradually expanded restrictions on access to land on the Gaza side of the border, with the stated intention of preventing attacks from Palestinian armed factions. In May 2009, the Israeli air force dropped thousands of pamphlets over different parts of Gaza stating that anybody approaching within 300 metres of the border endangers his or her life. The findings of the study indicate that these restrictions have had a devastating impact on the physical security and livelihoods of around 180,000 people, exasperating an already bleak humanitarian situation caused by the blockade imposed by Israel in June 2007. In November 2010, 25 non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, released a report into the situation in Gaza, five months after the Israeli government announced it was easing the blockade following intense international pressure. The report concludes that in the five months since the easing was announced on 20 June 2010, there are few signs of real improvement on the ground.

Fast facts

For the missing links - please visit:

http://www.dci-pal.org/english/home.cfm

ï‚· According to a recent report by 25 non-governmental organisations, including Amnesty International, and based on UN data, Gaza requires 670,000 truckloads of construction material to rebuild after the war that ended in January 2009. However, the Israeli authorities have only permitted an average of 715 truckloads per month since the easing of restrictions in June 2010. At this rate it will take 78 years to rebuild Gaza, with a completion date in 2088.

ï‚· According to a UN study, between January 2009 and August 2010, at least 22 Palestinian civilians in Gaza have been killed and 146 injured in the arbitrary live fire zone adjacent to the border with Israel and imposed at sea.

At least 27 of these civilians were children.

ï‚· In 11 out of the 16 cases (69 percent) documented by DCI-Palestine, the children estimate that they were on, or outside the 300 metre exclusion zone unilaterally imposed by the Israeli army when they were shot.

ï‚· The targeting of civilians is absolutely prohibited under international law, regardless of
circumstances.

Recommended action

Please send Urgent Appeals urging that:

1. The Israeli army immediately ceases the practice of targeting unarmed children in the buffer zone on the Gaza side of the border with Israel; and

2. An immediate review of the orders and procedures relating to firing on persons in the buffer zone
on the Gaza side of the border for compliance with international law, and to make all findings of the review public.

Appeals to:

ï‚· Your elected representatives my MP, my Congressperson; and
http://www.europarl.org.uk/section/your-meps/your-meps UK
Anywhere in EU

ï‚· The Israeli embassy in your country [list of Israeli diplomatic missions worldwide].

Please inform DCI-Palestine if you receive any response to your appeals and quote the UA number at the top of the document ria@dci-pal.org

--- On Fri, 3/12/10, DCIPS@dci-pal.org

Latest:

88th worker shot in northern Gaza 'no go zone'

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Gaza man was shot in the foot Friday morning, medics in the coastal enclave confirmed saying the wound was inflicted by Israeli sniper fire targeting a man collecting gravel particles in the northern border area. The injured man was evacuated to the Kamal Udwan Hospital in Jabaliya and identified only as 20-year-old "AB." Medics said his injuries were moderate.

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=338495