Lawmakers blast Knesset conference titled ‘Children Under Occupation’

A Knesset event titled “Children Under Occupation” is stirring controversy. 

By: World Israel News Staff

A Knesset conference that will focus on the suffering of Palestinian children under Israeli “occupation” has sparked controversy.

“Zionist Union’s lost it,” Member of Knesset (MK) Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, charged, referring to the political alliance that helped organize the event, Arutz 7 reported.

“They have joined BDS supporters and are giving a “gift to Israel’s enemies,” Lapid added

In response to the event, Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein will introduce a new requirement that organizers of conferences notify the Knesset in advance so that controversial issues liable to cause a disruption are blocked.

Edelstein also prevented the screening of a film that deals with the plight of children living under “occupation” since it was not approved in advance by the Knesset.

The controversial event, organized by MKs Michal Rozin of the leftwing Meretz party, Ayman Odeh and Dov Khenin of the Joint Arab List, and Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union), will feature organizations such as B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence.

According to a report by the Yediot Aharonot daily, the conference will discuss “various aspects of the lives of children under Israeli occupation: poverty, restrictions on movement, lack of electricity, water and education, as well as child arrests, discriminatory laws that hinder family unification and the effects of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.”

“Fifty-one years of occupation have left an entire generation of children without a future,” the invitation to the event reads, according to Arutz 7.

“The governments are producing a smokescreen for the direct impact of the occupation on the civilian population in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Children on both sides of the conflict did not choose to be born into a bloody reality, and we can’t create a different future for them without dialogue. The only way out of the cycle of violence is to end the occupation,” the invitation says.

B’tselem, a left-wing Israeli organization, publishes propaganda against the IDF and the Jewish state. NGO Monitor, which demands transparency from NGOs and government funders, notes that B’tselem’s claims are marked by major omissions and distortions.

Breaking the Silence (BtS) was founded in 2004 by a group of veteran Israeli combat soldiers. The group publishes statements by former soldiers of alleged abuses carried out by the army in Judea and Samaria. Political and military critics have described BtS reports, many of which are anonymous, as dishonest, inaccurate and part of an advocacy campaign intended to harm Israel’s image overseas.