More than 250 Palestinian and 72 Israeli children have been killed in Israel and the territories in the past 23 months of fighting, according to Killing the Future: Children in the Line of Fire, a new report due out Monday by Amnesty International detailing how children on both sides have been targeted "in an unprecedented manner" since the beginning of the intifada.
The report says that "Children are increasingly bearing the brunt of the conflict. Both the IDF and Palestinian armed groups show an utter disregard for the lives of children and other civilians," says the report. "Respect for human life must be restored. Only a new mindset among Israelis and Palestinians can prevent the killing of more children."
The report charges that the "impunity enjoyed by members of the IDF and of Palestinian groups responsible for killing children has no doubt helped create a situation where the right to life of children and civilians on the other side has little or no value."
According to the report, the majority of children were killed in the territories "when the IDF responded to demonstrations and stone throwing incidents with unlawful and excessive use of lethal force." Eighty Palestinian children were killed in the first three months of the intifada, the report states. "The large number of children killed and injured and the circumstances in which they were killed indicates that little or no care was taken by the IDF to avoid causing harm to children."
Turning to Israeli children killed during the conflict the report says that "about 70 percent of the victims were killed by Palestinian suicide bombings and others were killed in shootings and other bomb attacks on cars or public buses."
In the last 18 months, says the report, "there has been a marked increase in attacks on Israeli civilians and an increasingly high number of victims have been children." In the first seven months of 2002, 36 Israeli children were killed by Palestinian armed groups, 19 in Israel and 17 in the territories, the report notes.