Children are caught in the new wave of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
By Priyanka Pruthi
New York, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 19 November 2012 – They were too young to understand the violence that would kill them. Bearing the brunt of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict on their shrouds, four children from the Dalu family were buried amidst continued bombardment in Gaza City, occupied Palestinian territory. Their family home was turned into rubble by missile attack on Sunday.
For the past five days, Gaza has been pounded relentlessly by Israeli rocket attacks, air strikes and shelling. The Israeli Air Force has hit more than 1,000 targets in Gaza. Indiscriminate rocket fire by Palestinian armed groups towards Israeli communities in southern Israel has also intensified.
Eighty-eight Palestinians have been forced to their graves – 57 of whom were civilians, including 18 children and 12 women. More than 700 have been reported injured. Of those, 252 have been children. Three Israeli civilians have been killed, and more than 50 have been reported injured.
“This must stop,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “I strongly urge the parties to cooperate with all efforts led by Egypt to reach an immediate cease fire. Any further escalation will inevitably increase the suffering of the affected civilian populations and must be avoided.”
Children hit hard
Five UNICEF emergency psycho-social teams are visiting hospitals and homes to speak with children and families who have been victim of, or have witnessed, extreme violence. But because of the tense security situation, most activity remains suspended in Gaza, and relief organizations are left struggling to reach families with limited resources.
Medical stocks are very low; medical supplies to treat severely injured patients are urgently needed. Plastic sheeting to seal broken windows, fuel to run generators for hospitals and water and sanitation facilities, and chlorine for water treatment plants are scarce.
Working against needless suffering
“UNICEF is mandated to work against the needless death and suffering of children and women – irrespective of the political context they are living in. We have an urgent job to do, and we are completely committed to doing it.”