child laborHamas_Children
A report filed by the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) documented nearly 500 “allegations of torture and ill treatment” in 2013, a steep jump when compared to the 294 cases in 2012.

The report also reveals that 10 Palestinians died in January in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The deaths were allegedly caused by “anarchy, lawlessness and misuse of weapons.”

A majority of the cases reported have occurred in the Gaza Strip, which is governed by Hamas, a political party and terrorist group that controls the legislative and executive branch of government in the territories. In addition, attacks on journalists and arbitrary detentions rose sharply in the West Bank and Gaza.

On April 2, the Palestinian Authority submitted its paperwork to become a signatory of 15 international treaties necessary for statehood. The signing of the treaties complicated negotiations with Israel—a part of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ alleged strategy to internalize the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

Hamas’ territories, which make up the ‘State of Palestine,’ violate 11 of the 15 treaties. “Acts or threats of violence, the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population” is prohibited by the Geneva Convention.

A U.S. Department of Labor report filed in 2012 noted that the Palestinian Authority made “minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor,” a failure that violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty. The treaty establishes civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights for any citizen under the age of 18, including freedom from economic exploitation (listed in Article 32) and the right to education (as noted in Article 28).

The Optional Protocol to the Convention, another treaty the Palestinian Authority violated, mandates that states will not recruit children under 18 for positions in the armed forces.

Last year, reports indicated that Hamas trained about 37,000 children ages 15 to 17 in the acts of urban warfare.

Other treaties that the Palestinian Authority is in violation of include: The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The Palestinians’ major complaint is the lack of attention by Western media on these violations. According to Khaled Abu Toameh, a writer for the Gatestone Institute, most Western journalists, governments and human rights groups have “chosen to endorse the Palestinian Authority’s stance that the only evil-doers are the Israelis” and due to this stance, the ICHR report will be ignored.

-Monica Newell

Sources: Gatestone Institute, The Tower 1, The Tower 2, The Tower 3

Photo: Skeptikai