In the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), we aim to protect children at risk of involvement in conflict by supporting them to express their views through safe and positive artistic projects.

Case study

Ali* is a 15 year old boy living in Dheisheh refugee camp. When the conflict between Israel and Palestine escalated again last year, he started joining protests against the Israeli army each Friday. One day Ali became caught up in clashes at the camp – he was fired upon and the bullet tore through the nerves in his hand. He is unlikely to fully recover the use of his fingers. Ali now attends our workshops on Fridays, when the demonstrations occur. He has made recordings and photo stories about his life in the camp, and is working on ways to express his feelings and opinions in this way, rather than in protests.

The issue

The recent escalation of violence in Israel and OPT demonstrated once again children’s readiness to participate in resistance activities. Children have been organising themselves to express their frustration with the Israeli military occupation by attending protests and throwing stones at the Israeli army. This has put them at a higher risk of death, injury, detention and abuse by the occupying authorities. Refugee children are particularly vulnerable. Once detained, children are at risk of being recruited and used by Israeli forces as informants. 

At the same time, children living in conflict environments should not just be seen as victims; they have their own projects and resources that must be protected and fostered. We aim to support children to become agents of positive change in their communities, and contribute to resilient, flourishing and peaceful societies.

Our impact

We are working in Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem (West Bank) in collaboration with our partner organisation, Shoruq, to support children with their own cultural, artistic and solidarity projects. Our workshops keep children away from the streets of the camp on days where violent clashes and demonstrations take place, and provide a safer conduit for them to express their rights and opinions.

What we’ll do next

Our goal is to expand this project using child-centred participation methods to the rest of the OPT and then other Middle East countries where refugee and vulnerable children are also at high risk of being recruited, used and exploited by armed groups.


Children in Palestine continue to suffer daily human rights abuses. The UN reports regular incidents of killing and injuring, arbitrary arrest and detention, and house demolitions by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). Palestinian armed groups often recruit children for direct or indirect participation in combat. The IDF recruits Palestinian children as informers, and has used them as human shields during military operations.

Our approach is to develop ways to reach children at risk of involvement in conflict and engage them in alternative activities, through projects that allow them to express themselves and benefit their communities.


*The name has been changed to protect the child

Photo © Panos Pictures