The Israel-Hamas war which started on July 8, 2014 has resulted in displacement and death, and has killed many people in the process. The spiralling number of children killed in the latest conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza has raised international concern.
According to the latest United Nations (UN) report, one child is killed every hour due to the escalating war. According to the report, in Gaza, 443 people (74%) of the killed are civilians, and one third of the civilians killed so far are children. One child has been killed each hour in Gaza over the past two days.
On Saturday, July 19, a group of international and Palestinian rights groups and aid agencies urged immediate ceasefire in Gaza, noting the high number of children killed. "So far, more children have been killed by Israeli fire than Palestinian militants," said a statement from the groups, including War Child and Defence for Children International.
The daily reportage pegs over 600 Palestinians to be killed in the Gaza Strip and another 3,504 injured following the launch of the Israeli military operation ‘Protective Edge’ in which over 2,900 targets in Palestine were struck.
Twenty-eight Israelis – including 26 soldiers and two civilians – have been killed in fighting with Palestinian militants who have also reportedly fired more than 2,000 rockets and mortars towards Israel.
On Saturday, the UN children's agency, UNICEF, said children made up one third of civilian casualties in the conflict so far. "From July 8th, until 4:00am on July 19, at least 73 Palestinian children have been reported killed as a result of air-strikes and shelling Israel aerial, naval and ground forces," UNICEF's Catherine Weibel told AFP.
Below are some important statistics:
Weibel said the children included 53 boys and 20 girls under the age of 18. "The youngest was reportedly three months old," she said. More than half of the children killed are under the age of 12.
According to the UN report, half of the population of the Gaza neighbourhood of Shujaiya fled their homes amidst heavy Israeli military bombardment this past weekend. At least 120 people were reportedly killed andmany further missing – believed to be buried under the rubble in inaccessible areas. Hundreds more are wounded. Of the dead, 26 were children and 15 women.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had condemned the war and said, “My message to Israelis and Palestinians is the same: Stop fighting. Start talking. And take on the root causes of the conflict, so we are not back to the same situation in another six months or a year."
“We must address these underlying issues – including mutual recognition, occupation, despair and the denial of dignity – so people do not feel they have to resort to violence as a means of expressing their grievances,” he had further added.
The UN report throws light on negative and dangerous environment that the children are forced to live in as the violence escalates on a daily basis with casualties mounting higher. the situation will not change for these kids unless the war stops for good, the blockade is lifted and the international community and the parties to the conflict live up to their obligations and make amenments.