Dead, Disabled, Displaced, Detained, Orphaned: The Toll of Israel’s War on Palestinian Children


Webinar featuring Miranda Cleland, Defense for Children International-Palestine & Hamdi Shaqqura, Palestinian Center for Human Rights in conversation with 2023 FMEP Fellow Dr. Yara Asi


Occupied Thoughts by FMEP · Dead, Disabled, Displaced, Detained, Orphaned: The Toll of Israel’s War on Palestinian Children

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Recorded on April 25, 2024

Israel’s war in Gaza and the increased violence in the West Bank – now known as the “Quiet War” – have affected Palestinian children in particularly horrific ways. Human rights researchers have documented these specific harms: Israel’s war on Gaza has killed at least 13,800 children, turned 19,000 into orphans, and made more than 1000 into amputees. More than 1 million children have lost their homes. Dozens of children have already starved to death, and up to 60% of the children in northern Gaza are experiencing acute malnourishment in a famine that is spreading at the fastest rate of starvation on record anywhere in the world, and which may constitute the war crime of deliberate starvation. As UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini put it, “This war is a war on children. It is a war on their childhood and their future.” And in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinian children continue to face arrest and detention, home demolitions and expulsions. Over the past six months, increased violence at the hands of the IDF and the IDF-backed settlers over the past six months has killed 117 Palestinian children.

In this webinar, public health expert Dr. Yara Asi spoke with experts from two premiere Palestinian human rights organizations: Hamdi Shaqqura from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a Gaza-based organization which continues to operate and collect data in Gaza even under the most difficult circumstances; and Miranda Cleland from Defense for Children International-Palestine, which focuses on the rights of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation.


Dr. Yara Asi is an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida in the School of Global Health Management and Informatics, and a visiting scholar at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, where she is co-director of the Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights. She is also a non-resident fellow at the Arab Center Washington DC, a 2020-2021 Fulbright U.S. scholar to the West Bank, and a 2023 Palestine fellow for the Foundation for Middle East Peace. She previously served as the U.S. fellow at Al Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. Her research focuses on global health, human rights, and development in fragile populations. Asi has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Nation, among other publications, and has been featured on Al Jazeera, The World, and other outlets. Her new book with Johns Hopkins University Press, How War Kills: The Overlooked Threats to Our Health, examines war as a public health crisis.

Miranda Cleland is an advocacy officer at Defense for Children International – Palestine and lives in Washington, D.C., where she leads the No Way to Treat a Child campaign and advocates for the human rights of Palestinian children. Miranda is a writer, speaker, facilitator, and campaigner with expertise in children’s rights, the Israeli military detention system, and Israeli military killings of Palestinian children. She holds a bachelor’s with honors from American University in International Studies and Arabic language and has taken additional coursework in international law and the protection of children in armed conflict.

Hamdi Shaqqura is a human rights defender who lives and works in Gaza. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Illinois State University in 1990. He has been working at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) since 1995, and is Deputy PCHR Director for Program Affairs as well as the Director of the Advocacy Program.

Resources shared in the webinar: 

Follow our panelists and their work: 

International Law:

On starvation:

Fatalities & Injuries in Gaza:

From PCHR:

From DCI-P:

For more on detention of children, see also the work of Military Court Watch:

In December 2021, PCHR & B’Tselem co-published this report, “Unwilling and Unable: Israel’s Whitewashed Investigations of the Great March of Return Protests” →