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Gaza Has Become a Graveyard for Children
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UNICEF spokesperson, James Elder, warned that Gaza “has become a graveyard for children” during a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday, October 31st.
“Our greatest fears about the reported numbers of children killed becoming dozens, then hundreds, and ultimately thousands were realized in just a fortnight,” he said.
Gaza has become “a living hell,” he continued, as the IDF carries on with a bombing campaign in Gaza more than three weeks after the Hamas uprising left more than 1,400 Israelis dead.
Elder warns that “the threats to children go beyond bombs and mortars” citing “water and trauma” as the biggest issues to confront. “The more than 1 million children of Gaza have a critical water crisis.” The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reported more than 8,500 deaths, since the outbreak of hostilities on October 7th.
Elder said children were dying, not only because of Israeli airstrikes, but also because of the brutal blockade denying necessary medical care, food, water and electricity. UNICEF are urging for an immediate ceasefire to deliver humanitarian aid.
At least 3,457 Palestinian children have reportedly been killed in Gaza since Hamas’ invasion into Israel on Oct 7th, the enclave’s health ministry said on Tuesday—nearly half of the 8,306 total recorded Palestinian deaths.
So far, 221 schools and more than 177,000 housing units have been damaged or destroyed by airstrikes.
In addition, Catherine Russell, the executive director of UNICEF, briefed the U.N. Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, warning Israel’s assault is killing or injuring more than 420 children in Gaza every day—a number she said should “shake each of us to our core.”
She further stated that at least 6,300 children have been injured due to the Israeli attacks.
Catherine Russell: “I implore the Security Council to immediately adopt a resolution that reminds parties of their obligations under international law, that calls for a ceasefire, that demands the parties allow safe and unimpeded humanitarian access, that demands the immediate and safe release of all abducted children, and that urges parties to afford children the special protection to which they are entitled.”
This is in the midst of continued airstrikes that are destroying entire city blocks in Gaza. In the north, a massive build up of tanks were witnessed today as the IDF prepares for Nakba 2.0.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to foreign media, doubled down, amid calls not only for a ceasefire, but also for his resignation:
“After the horrific attacks of October 7th, calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen,” he said.
Netanyahu told the crowd, “There is a time for peace and a time for war,” quoting a verse from Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament.
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
“This is a time for war,” he continued. “A war for a common future. Today we draw a line between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism. It is a time for everyone to decide where they stand.”
Tragically, this is a time for hate also.
Hilary Clinton, the grand matriarch of US foreign policy, echoed Netanyahu’s position, claiming, “People who are calling for a ceasefire now do not understand Hamas. That is not possible. It would be such a gift to Hamas, because they would spend whatever time there was a ceasefire in effect rebuilding their armaments, creating stronger positions to be able to fend off an eventual assault by the Israelis.”
Hamas openly recruits children into their ranks, holding summer camps every year for training of Palestinian youth. Most of the children are orphans whose parents were killed by Israeli airstrikes or IDF soldiers.
They likely grew up hungry, malnourished, physically under-developed, and constantly fearful. All Palestinians have witnessed dead bodies, amputated limbs, and blood. Virtually everyone has lost friends and family members. Children grow up playing war games in the tombs of bombed-out buildings.
They have never had any post traumatic stress disorder because the trauma has always been there, so there is no “post trauma”, only “present trauma.”
Youth grow up in poverty. Unemployment is around 45%. There is no industry or high tech jobs, and there are only a handful of post secondary institutions in Gaza. One of the largest universities in Gaza was bombed on Oct 11th from Israeli airstrikes.
The economy is severely limited by Israel’s brutal blockade, plus their destruction of factories, shops, and other businesses. Per capita income is one of the lowest in the world, at about $5600 per year, according to CIA World Factbook.
Hamas fighters, like all young people in Gaza, struggle to find hope during an uncertain future.
It is in this bleak and sullen context, that Israel is launching a massive ground and air operation to purge the Gaza Strip of Hamas. Already, the casualties are far beyond reasonable limits.
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All works are narrated by MB Bose. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.