LONDON: The number of children killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza has reached 58, Save the Children said on Sunday night, adding that on average three have been wounded every hour since fighting broke out.
The charity called for an immediate ceasefire, and warned that for survivors, the “physical and mental wounds will last a lifetime.”
More than 1,000 people, including 366 children, have been injured. This amounts to roughly three children hurt every hour in Gaza since airstrikes began, Save the Children said. Two children in Israel have also died.
“My family and I have had to evict our home in the last few days because of the endless bombardments,” Mazen Naim, a Gaza-based communications officer at Save the Children, told Arab News.
“Everyone around me is breaking down. The children have been crying for days on end and are in a state of constant terror,” he added.
“There’s nowhere safe, and thousands of families have been displaced. How can we even begin to recover from this kind of loss?”
Ben Jamal, director of the UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told Arab News: “There’s no excuse for dropping bombs on areas where you know you’ll cause high levels of civilian casualties. This is a war crime.”
He said: “Israel also knows the fact that 50 percent of Gaza’s population are children means bombing will cause high levels of child deaths. That knowing this, it continues its bombing is abhorrent.”
He added: “It violates international law and is unethical and inhumane in every way, shape and form. We call on all governments to stop arming Israel’s massacres by immediately ceasing all arms sales.”
Save the Children warned that Gaza’s roughly 2 million residents are experiencing a “triple shock” of catastrophe: “Bombardments are continuing, and health facilities and civilian infrastructure could soon be left without the power needed to deliver crucial supplies and emergency treatment. In addition, critically ill and injured children are unable to leave Gaza for treatment.”
The latest damage to infrastructure, Save the Children said, has left 480,000 people — roughly a quarter of Gaza’s inhabitants — with limited or no access to clean and safe drinking water.
To alleviate the humanitarian crisis, it called for an end to Israel’s 14-year blockade that prevents goods and people from moving freely in and out of the small, densely populated territory.
“The government of Israel and all parties must allow aid workers to reach children with life-saving support, as well as the unimpeded entry of essential supplies and fuel,” Save the Children said.
“It is critical to seek a just solution that addresses the underlying causes of this violence, that upholds equal rights for both Palestinian and Israeli children, and that will end the decades-long occupation as the only sustainable resolution to the conflict. This will ensure that all children in the region can live in peace.”