Israel’s military offensives and siege force Gaza children to work

Palestinian children wait to receive travel permits to travel through the Rafah crossing
Palestinian children wait to receive travel permits to travel through the Rafah crossing

Dozens of Palestinian children across the Gaza Strip have been obliged to leave school in order to go to work and help their family finances because their fathers have been killed during Israeli offensives or are unemployed as a result of the Israeli-led siege. A report by AFP refers to 11 year-old Walid Maaruf and 12 year-old Ibrahim Ghaben. Both were once good students but left school after their fathers lost their jobs.

Around half of Gaza’s 1.9 million inhabitants live beneath the poverty line, with 80 per cent surviving on humanitarian aid, according to the latest statistics quoted by AFP. Unemployment has risen dramatically to 45 per cent – one of the highest rates in the world – forcing many children to become family bread-winners.

Palestinian statistics show an increase in child labour over the past five years, with an estimated 9,700 children aged between 10 and 17 now working across the coastal enclave. “My father is unemployed,” said Ibrahim Ghaben. “He used to gather stones and scrap metal… but now I work.” Ibrahim works for between six to 12 hours a day for 20 shekels ($5) in order to help the nine members of his family.

Mahmoud Rabee is 13; his father and two of his family members were killed during one of Israel’s military offensives on the Gaza Strip. He told AFP that he earns 15 shekels, less than $3, by selling hairdressing accessories. “I buy the goods from the wholesalers, put them on my small cart and go to the parks and the beach to sell them,” he explained. “Sometimes, people do not buy things, but give me something to help because they know that I am an orphan.”

Although Palestinian law bans children under 15 from working, according to Iyad Abu-Hujayr of the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution, “It is rarely applied.”

Thousands of children in Gaza have been orphaned by the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip over the years. After the Israeli offensive in 2014, the UN estimated that all of Gaza’s 900,000 children had been traumatised by the violence and are in need of psycho-social support.

(Source / 11.06.2016)

Tags: #ICC4Israel

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives.

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