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The New Arab published a news article titled "2023 is 'deadliest year' for Palestinian children say human rights groups" on the 6th of October. Is this claim true?

In August, Human Rights Watch said in a report that 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinian children in the West Bank in 15 years.

"This year is even worse, as 45 children were killed by the occupation forces in 2022, but already 47 have been killed in 2023, and the year is not over", said Ayed Abu Qteish from DCI-P.

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    to clarify: the quote is talking about a specific cause of death, i.e. "killed by the occupation forces"? If so, you should probably change the Q title to that effect. Mar 1 at 2:56
  • what title do you suggest? It's clear from context but I don't mind changing
    – Ona
    Mar 1 at 13:41
  • Given Gaza's extremely large birth rates you also want to do a per-capita adjustment. Mar 1 at 20:18
  • @JonathanReez Why? To make the number look smaller? The USA has a much larger population than Gaza, so we can agree there was too much fuss about nothing in the Sandy Hook massacre. What's 20 children slaughtered like pigs in a country of 400 million people? Nothing.
    – Rekesoft
    Mar 4 at 9:50

1 Answer 1

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Yes, as long as we look on the West Bank only. Although the numbers in the quote are inaccurate. Using their own source, the data provided by Defense for Children International Palestine at two sets of data:

Child fatalities by month

and

Child fatalities by Region*

Shows us that in 2023 (excluding the months of Oct, Nov & Dec) there were 40 child fatalities in the west bank, which is the highest number since 2003 when there were 56 child fatalities in the west bank (in 2022 there were 36).

If we search for the numbers provided, 45 in 2022 and 47 in 2023 this includes children in Gaza and the West Bank, in which case, 2021 had 78 fatalities, more than 2023 pre October.

A very important distinction that needs to be made about this data, is that it would be more appropriate to call it fatalities of minors rather than children. They don't provide data about fatalities per age group per region, but they do provide data about the total

Child fatalities by age group

where we can see that their definition of a child includes anyone under 18 years old. And that a third of all child fatalities over the years were 16-17 years old.

The data by region per year, excluding Gaza is:

Year Hebron Bethlehem Jericho Jerusalem Ramallah Tubas Salfit Nablus Tulkarem Qalqilya Jenin Total
2000 9 4 0 3 7 0 3 8 6 5 5 50
2001 9 5 0 4 6 0 0 1 0 3 6 34
2002 13 6 0 3 11 0 0 33 10 1 31 108
2003 3 1 0 3 5 0 2 16 9 3 14 56
2004 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 19 3 0 5 32
2005 4 0 1 0 5 0 1 3 4 1 5 24
2006 0 2 1 1 1 0 0 9 1 0 4 19
2007 2 0 0 2 7 0 0 0 2 0 4 17
2008 4 2 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 1 11
2009 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5
2010 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 3
2011 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2012 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
2013 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 4
2014 3 1 0 3 4 0 0 2 0 0 0 13
2015 6 2 0 8 3 0 0 4 0 0 5 28
2016 14 1 0 5 4 0 2 2 1 0 3 32
2017 1 2 0 1 3 0 0 1 1 0 3 12
2018 0 1 0 2 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 8
2019 1 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
2020 2 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 7
2021 3 1 0 2 2 1 1 6 0 0 1 17
2022 2 4 0 2 9 0 0 5 0 1 13 36
2023 8 6 4 13 12 7 0 16 12 3 40 121
2024 4 0 1 3 5 0 0 2 3 1 3 22

In this table 2023 includes the fatalities from the entire year, as in Oct-Dec there were 81 fatalities, this puts the number at 40.

Just to give a perspective, violence is not isolated and goes both way, 2023, excluding the Oct 7 attack and the subsequent war had the most Israeli terror casualties since 2008. According to the ISA end of year reports for 2023 and 2014 (both downloadable pdf files) in 2023, excluding the months of Oct, Nov & Dec there were 35 Israeli fatalities due to terror activity:

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
207 452 208 117 56 30 13 36 15 11 22 10 6 19 29 17 18 16 12 3 21 33 35

Plotting this data, including the total Palestinians killed (from UN OCHA data) in the West Bank before Oct. 7 shows the clear correlation between the numbers.

enter image description here

* - the area in the DCIP data indicates the area where the child lived, not died, but assuming that travel between the West Bank and Gaza is almost non existent, I assumed that a child from the West Bank might be killed in another area of the West Bank, not in Gaza, and vice versa.

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  • As previously posted to this question before it was wiped along with the rest of the comments - you currently breakdown the Palestinian casualties but not the Israeli ones. How many of the Israeli casualties were civilian vs military? It would both stand to reason and explain the correlation in the graph that a military of an occupying force loses (and causes) more casualties when it ramps up its operations.
    – Prometheus
    Mar 2 at 2:26
  • @Prometheus the blue graph is total Palestinian casualties civilians and militants. You can see that the correlation exists just as well. If you really want, the ISA yearly reports have details of each case.
    – SIMEL
    Mar 2 at 8:15

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