Amnesty International reiterates its calls to Palestinian armed groups to put an immediate end to the use of children in armed activities.
“Palestinian armed groups must not use children under any circumstances to carry out armed attacks or to transport weapons or other material,” Amnesty International said.
This is the third such incident this year in which Palestinian children have been arrested at Israeli military checkpoints while carrying explosives or munitions. On February 3, a 17-year-old was arrested at the same checkpoint while carrying explosives and bullets, and on April 27, two 15-year-olds also carrying explosives and bullets were arrested at a military checkpoint at the entrance of the West Bank town of Jenin.
Several Palestinian armed groups, including the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, an offshoot of the ruling Fatah party, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), have used children to transport explosives and munitions, thereby endangering their lives. In some cases these groups have sent children to carry out suicide attacks.
On November 1, 2004, a 16-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank town of Nablus carried out a suicide bombing which killed three Israeli civilians in a Tel Aviv market. He was the youngest Palestinian to carry out such an attack. The PFLP claimed responsibility for the attack. The boy's family condemned those who used their child for the attack.
Palestinian armed groups have repeatedly shown total disregard for the most fundamental human rights, notably the right to life, by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians and by using Palestinian children in armed attacks. Children are susceptible to recruitment by manipulation or may be driven to join armed groups for a variety of reasons, including a desire to avenge relatives or friends killed by the Israeli army....
“The exploitation of children, who are often particularly vulnerable or traumatized, by armed groups and armed forces must cease at once, as must the killing of children, and those responsible for such crimes must be brought to justice,” said Amnesty International.Amnesty International