• Elmyrah
    forgets all the tensions in Hebron when she is on stage
  • Hamza and Assil
    They were forced to flee the Gaza Strip
Show thumbnails Hide thumbnails

Occupied Palestinian Territory

Children in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) grow up in an uncertain atmosphere where the threat of violence is never far away

CHILDREN

The political and security situation inside the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), though always tense, has remained stable following the violent upheavals of 2014 and 2015. Yet large numbers remain in need of humanitarian assistance - particularly children and young people.

Today, children in Gaza live in constant fear of another surge of violence - most have witnessed several armed conflicts already and over 6,000 Palestinian refugee families remain displaced since the conflict in 2014. Conditions in Gaza continue to deteriorate under the detrimental effects of a ten-year blockade; some 60 per cent of Gazan youth are now without work or meaningful occupation, and access to food, clean water, electricity and basic necessities is regularly disrupted.

Amidst multiple political conflicts - including intra-Palestinian and international disputes - the basic human rights of civilians in Gaza are not being upheld, and the resulting psychological distress is evident among its population.

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, violence against children remains a grave concern; in homes, in schools and through violent exchanges with Israeli forces in which young people are injured and killed. The military arrest and detention of children as young as 12 is another consequence of this violence.

Tensions within and between communities continue, often fuelled by ongoing settlement construction and expansion. A vicious cycle of political violence and retaliation persists, and many Palestinian children experience constant fear of demolition of their homes and schools, or violent conflict with neighbouring settlements. Palestinians in East Jerusalem live in a tense and congested environment under close and often mutually antagonistic contact with Israeli forces. Safe play areas are scarce and children playing in the street are exposed to risks of injury or violence.

WHAT WE DO

War Child works with local professional organisations, community groups and families inside the occupied Palestinian territory to protect children from harm and support their psychosocial well-being. We support children and their caregivers to develop the tools and self-confidence they need to cope with a difficult present and build a better future - both for themselves and their communities.

We create safe play and recreation spaces, where children exposed to conflict and occupation can get back to being children, and we train community members, particularly young people, to work with children in these spaces. At the same time we support families and caregivers dealing with the stress of life amidst conflict and occupation, to strengthen their resilience and ability to provide nurturing family environments which help buffer the impact of conflict on children.

We also teach children and the people who care for them about their rights and responsibilities under international laws and conventions to which Israel and the Palestinian Authority are both signatories. And when we see that children’s rights are violated, no matter by whom, we speak.