The Gaza Strip is an area of about 365 sq km and is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, about half of whom are children. The number of people killed in Gaza since October 7th is already 84% higher than the total number of Palestinians killed in the 50-day conflict in 2014 and according to UNICEF children and women make up 60% of the casualties. Gaza authorities say that the approximate number killed is at least 5,087 and that includes 2,055 children and more than 15,000 people have been wounded.
A senior advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister, Mark Regev, however, said that “the IDF does not target civilian structures”. Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner General of the UN, and head of the UN Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) has reported that at least six people were killed when a UNRWA school being used as a shelter, was hit in the al-Maghazi camp in the middle region of the embattled Gaza Strip.
“Dozens were injured (including UNRWA staff) and severe structural damage was caused to the school”, he said. “The numbers are likely to be higher. This is outrageous, and it again shows a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians.”
No place is safe in Gaza anymore, he warned, stressing that it was hit as Israeli airstrikes and bombardment continue, “At least 4,000 people have taken refuge in this UNRWA school turned shelter. They had and still have nowhere else to go.”
Of course, there will always be opposing views on all topics, but the barbaric actions that lead to the deaths and injuries of innocent children, is arguably one topic we should all be in agreement about. Clearly, and shockingly not.
“A child in war has all sense of security ravaged – and having to flee the familiarity of a home in the middle of the night as neighbours cry and scream in fear and missiles rain down piles trauma on trauma,“ said Al Jazeera.
The estimated 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Gaza, around half of them children, who have had to flee from their homes in terror are taking refuge in other designated emergency shelters (DES) in increasingly dire conditions. Many of these shelters are overcrowded with extremely limited access to water, sanitation, and hygiene – conditions that are especially dangerous for young children.
The mother of one family who had taken refuge in a United Nations school, Naima Fares spoke of her experiences “We used to tell our kids there’s no safer place than home, but this war has broken all the rules. On the second day, we ran out of our house with nothing, not even a change of clothes.”
Fares said her children have been in a state of shock since that night, and she has had difficulties trying to keep them calm and distract them from the sounds of explosions, but with constant sounds of missiles and an overcrowded, this is difficult as it means there are children screaming all day and night,
Fares’s daughter Haneen says living in one is not making her feel secure.
Fares said “We can’t get a minute of peace or rest.” and her son, cannot get the images of children killed or under the rubble out of his head, much less the images of injured children screaming in pain.
The young boy said “I can’t imagine how children with such small bodies can bear these huge missiles,” he said. “I can’t understand how nobody does anything to help them.” “The children of Gaza have a right to live. They took everything from us.”
They did take everything from them, due to orders from Netanyahu to cut vital essentials of food, water, fuel, and even electricity, which UNICEF says has also exacerbated food scarcity, making refrigeration impossible, and now with “the cutting of water to Gaza it means many children are now resorting to contaminated water sources.”
Although UNICEF supplied 44,000 bottles of drinking water on Saturday the 21st of October which managed to be driven through Rafah Crossing as part of the first 20-truck convoy since October 7th, this is only just enough for 22,000 people for 1 day, and now, according to Executive Director Catherine Russell One million children in Gaza are facing a critical protection and humanitarian crisis, the delivery of water is a matter of life or death. “Every minute counts,” she said (Source).
Although “This first, limited water will save lives, but the needs are immediate and immense – not just for water, but for food, fuel, medicine, and essential goods and services. Unless we can provide humanitarian supplies consistently, we face the real threat of life-threatening disease outbreaks.”
DEPRESSION, GRIEF AND FEAR
Moreover, the psychological impact on civilians and our children will also be catastrophic,” said Mohammad Abu Rukbeh, a senior Gaza field researcher at DCI’s Palestine branch. According to the NGO, the psychological toll on children who have survived the air strikes in Gaza is compounded by pre-existing traumas sustained from a 16-year siege on the strip.
In the Gaza Strip, children’s ages are measured by how many Israeli assaults they have been through. About half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million is under 18, and the current offensive is Israel’s fifth major one in 15 years (source). The constant trauma according to a report by Save the Children, titled “Trapped” has resulted in:
- Four out of five children in Gaza are living with depression, grief, and fear,
- A huge increase in children who reported feeling fearful (84%),
- 80% of children feeling nervous,
- 77% feel sad or depressed
- 78% of children were grieving.
- Three out of five children were self-harming
- More than half struggled with suicidal thoughts and the trauma of witnessing the deaths of other children
- More than half of Gaza’s children have contemplated suicide.
It is no wonder that the children of Gaza are suffering psychological issues when they fear losing their parents, families, and friends. Tragically, their fear is all too often becomes reality.
Children Should Be Able to Play
Children should be able to play but the children in Gaza risk their lives, See X below.
No doubt children’s psychological issues will have escalated due to this current terror-filled fortnight,
Particularly when they are now preparing for being potentially trapped beneath a building and rubble and now hundreds of children are lining up in hospitals to register their names on their hands or are marking their body parts with names, so they can be identified if they were to lose their lives (Source).
Be Silent When Kids Sleep, Not When They Are Being Killed.
Children are being murdered in Gaza the number who have died for political, totalitarian reasons and the greed of old men is, at the time of writing 2055, in words, Two Thousand and fifty-five, and no doubt that number is going to be higher later today even. However, they should not be thought of as mere numbers, ever.
“It was terrifying. They killed my childhood and dreams. I don’t have anything that makes me happy anymore.” Child in Gaza
WARNING – Graphic and Upsetting Scenes
large parts of Gaza’s infrastructure, including critical water and sanitation systems, have been reduced to rubble in nearly two weeks of escalating violence which is Collective Punishment, and in itself against International Law, but breaking laws does not seem to be a concern of the perpetrators. Neither is it a concern of the abhorrent, cowardly complicit yellow-belly Western MPs. who are condoning the continuation of the barbaric war crimes and the killing of children for their own gain.
While it may be argued again and again and again, Israel has a right to defend itself,” but the terrorising, traumatising, and killing children and all other innocent civilians, cannot and should not be equated to “defence.”
UNICEF is calling for “an immediate cessation of hostilities and safe and timely access to humanitarian aid to children “The killing & maiming of children, attacks on their hospitals & schools, & the denial of humanitarian access constitute grave child rights violations Humanity must prevail,” they said
As Executive Director of UNICEF, Catherine Russell says, “all parties must unconditionally protect every child from harm and afford them the special protection to which they are entitled, in accordance with obligations under international humanitarian law.” However, there surely is an unspoken law among people that children deserve to be and feel protected unconditionally.
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Categories: Opinion Pages