Children on the Front Lines: Responsibility to Protect in the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

Timea Spitka
  • Global Responsibility to Protect, March 2018, Brill
  • DOI: 10.1163/1875984x-01001010

Protection of Children and Teens in the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

What is it about?

In the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, children, particularly those living in Gaza, East Jerusalem, parts of the West Bank are not only vulnerable during escalations but are subject to exploitation, detentions and severe security measures. Divisions over culpability have made the local representatives and the international community incapable or unwilling to take collective action to provide protection. This article examines whether international Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norms and tools that can be used to enhance protection for children and teenagers in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Why is it important?

The focus on the protection of children and teens demonstrates the need to analyse current protection tools and eradicate unintended effects of protection. Children and teens are commonly on the front lines in a violent conflict. They commonly take part in demonstrations, may lack tools to deal with strict security measures, can be manipulated and recruited by nationalist or extremist groups. In the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, children and teens, particularly those living in Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem are subject to severe security measures including detentions and shootings. This article examines national and international protection norms and realities and how they relate to the protection of children and teens in divisive and violent conflict.


Timea Spitka (Author)
Masarykova Univerzita

Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a focus of much division and contention. The lack of protection of children and teens is one of the most difficult realities of the conflict. On a daily basis, children, in particularly Palestinian teens living under the occupation are arrested, shot while demonstrating and subject to brutal security treatment. The polarized nature of the conflict means that national governments, radical groups and states throw blame at the other side without contributing towards protection. This article suggest the potential contribution of R2P norms and a focus on children towards reaching a consensus on a protection regime.

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