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Announcement :: Human Rights
Silvia Cattori : Violence against Palestinian children: A weapon of war
07 Sep 2004
The Palestinians, although they do have courage and unlimited perseverance, are humans with limitations.
Oppressed by Israel and subjected to permanent violence and stress, betrayed by the international community, the Palestinians draw their main strength from our support.

Violence against Palestinian children:

A weapon of war

Silvia Cattori and Micheline Garreau

2 August 2004

The Palestinians, although they do have courage and unlimited perseverance, are humans with limitations.

Oppressed by Israel and subjected to permanent violence and stress, betrayed by the international community, the Palestinians draw their main strength from our support.

Israel has used all possible and imaginable expedients to undermine, to destroy methodically and systematically the spirit, the morale and the will to resist of the Palestinians, and to make them renounce their legitimate human rights.

The violence against the children has been one of the essential elements of this strategy of psychological demoralisation. The child is the most precious possession of the Palestinian, who is deprived of everything.

Violating their daily life, harming generations of children, killing many of them - children who are for their parents the blood and the hope of their lives - is for the occupier the most effective method to break the morale of the whole population and destroy the foundations of their existence.

To shoot at children is a crime that cannot be categorised. One does not have to be a specialist to understand that children who are attacked by gunfire for throwing stones, are devastated, lose all moral reference points.

They laugh when you want to cry, they look at you weary, like an old man, when you smile at them, they step in front of tanks as if they go before a firing squad, always dreaming in a confused way, obsessive, to be able to retaliate the beatings they receive.

When you enter the desolate refugees camps of Rafah or Balata, you stay there afraid and trembling, with a broken heart; the abandonment and insecurity wherein these people have been left, and the insignificance of our solidarity, causes intense doubt about our actions.

You wonder where the organisations are – whose noble goal is to protect the weak, the children, the prisoners – who receive, by that title, large amounts from private or public donors ? One never sees members of such organisations when the murderers commit their crimes, fire at local ambulances, try to prevent medical teams to get to the wounded. Making emotional reports and appeal for funds after the tragedy is not enough.

Deprived of work and the freedom to travel, Palestinians more than ever need our generosity. Since the Palestinian authorities – pressured by Israel and the USA – froze the accounts of the religious charity movements, the families without income, dependent on such movement’s modest aid, that kept them afloat, have fallen into black misery.

In this chaos, the obligation of solidarity and of compassion is to help all victims without distinction, without regard for their political affinities. The authorities allied with Fatah do not provide assistance on an equal footing to all Palestinians. They tend to neglect those who activily rebel against Israeli occupation

There are a thousand and one ways of helping the Palestinians in distress. Yet, the most dependable method to alleviate quickly the suffering of the neediest families is direct financial aid from you to the victim without any intermediary (1).

For the families that are incapable of ensuring to their offspring a future worthy of that name, to contribute better chances of development and success in school and to remove from the street – so deadly in Palestine – those girls and boys subject to devastating violence, is a unique help.

Israel tries hard to make young Palestinians leave.

To “adopt” a child, (2) to accompany from afar with love and care a student during the years of study in Balata, Askar, Rafah, Jabalia, Khan Younes, Naplus or Jenin, we can help them to stay, to construct a safer and more just world.


(1)A list of addresses of Palestinian students in particular need has been made by competent persons, on the outside, who wants to act effectively. If you want to help a student, male or female, you can write to

geneve (at) or nantes (at)

Since the creation of the site in September 2003, our policy is never to ask for money. This remains unchanged. Our sole objective is to offer information as wide as possible, in an atmosphere of openness and reconciliation, with help of testimonies and analyses from divergent sources, on the one hand; and to encourage volunteers to join ISM in Palestine, on the other hand.

To let the world know the injustice that hurts the Palestinian people in order to break through their isolation, to smash by unassailable testimony the silence of the media – mainly through Israeli propaganda – is our priority.

(2) Example. In a town like Naplus of 17.000 students who go to university 25% receives aid. 35% receive partial aide. But 45% of the students receive no scholarship at all. Every year thousands of students cannot continue in the university because the fees are above their means: US $ 600.

Translated by F. Diskstra

This work is in the public domain
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