During the past six month, Israeli forces have injured more than 2,177 Palestinian children in direct conflict, according to documentation by the United Nations.
On March 13, 11-year-old Khalid Ishtawy joined the thousands of other children injured by Israeli forces, when he was shot in the thigh in the northern occupied West Bank village of Kufr Qaddum.
The bullet exploded and embedded itself inside Khalid’s leg, causing a full fracture, according to the boy’s doctor.
Kufr Qaddum’s popular movement, known for its rather intense weekly Friday protests against Israel’s blockade of the village’s main road, which leads to the economic hub of Nablus, is a leader in the West Bank’s popular resistance.
Khalid’s father, Murad, is a community leader in Kufr Qaddum and spokesperson for the Fatah movement in Qalqiliya. Murad showed Mondoweiss around the protest, and introduced us to other children his son’s age who participate.
Murad said that while children are encouraged to come to the weekly demonstrations, they are not allowed at the front of the protest.
Murad also added that he knows the international community criticize’s and question’s the role of children at such demonstrations, but stressed that Palestinians in the occupied territory are trying hard to balance keeping their children safe, without teaching them to live in fear of the occupying power that surrounds their lives.
“We don’t push our children to face this ‘very strong army’ as the Israelis consider themselves,” he said. “When we feel danger, we push our children behind us to keep them safe.”
“We want them to have all rights as any of the children around the world. They are the same children. The child in Palestine, or the child in Israel, all the children in the world are the same children,” he said.