Monday 20 November 2023 - 21:30

“Israel’s” Slaughter of Palestinian Children Must End

By Brad Parker
Story Code : 1097100
“Israel’s” Slaughter of Palestinian Children Must End
In Gaza, “Israeli” forces are killing Palestinian children at a previously unfathomable rate. Over the past 40 days, “Israeli” forces have murdered more than 5,000 children in Gaza – with an additional 1,800 children missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings, most of them presumed dead. That is more than 6,800 Palestinian children killed over a period of 40 days. That amounts to over 170 children killed each day.

In the West Bank, “Israeli” forces have killed 54 Palestinian children since October 7, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International–Palestine [DCIP]. This includes 38 Palestinian children killed in October alone, the highest number of Palestinian children killed in a single month since “Israel’s” military occupation of the West Bank began in 1967.

As in previous “Israeli” military offensives on Gaza, “Israeli” attacks the DCIP has investigated have been overwhelmingly indiscriminate and disproportionate. The “Israeli” army has targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure in densely populated civilian areas with wide-area-effect explosive weapons. In other words, every bomb the “Israeli” army drops on Gaza potentially constitutes a war crime.

Make no mistake, Guterres was sounding the alarm because he knows that Palestinian children are living and dying in an unrivaled moment. “Israeli” forces killed more children in the first month of the war than state and non-state actors did in other armed conflicts over the past two years combined, according to the UN chief’s own annual reports.

Nearly 50 percent of the 2.3 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are children. This incredibly youthful population has experienced 16 years of “Israeli” siege, which amounts to collective punishment. Palestinian children have faced repeated “Israeli” military offensives where direct, indiscriminate, and disproportionate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure and systemic impunity have been the norm.

Guterres knows the death toll is expected to rise dramatically as “Israeli” authorities have cut off Palestinians in Gaza from food, water, electricity, medical supplies, and fuel, catapulting a captive civilian population into what he described as a “nightmare” that “is a crisis of humanity”.

Among Gaza’s population are an estimated 50,000 pregnant people. This means there are 160 deliveries on average taking place daily.

Pregnant women struggle to access essential health services as the healthcare system has collapsed. People in the postnatal period and babies in neonatal units are at grave risk due to dangerous fuel shortages as the “Israeli” authorities have prohibited the entry of fuel desperately needed to operate generators to run life-saving equipment.

Survivors of “Israeli” bombardment face escalating food insecurity and lack of clean water, which puts pregnant women and children particularly at risk of disease, malnutrition and health complications.

British humanitarian organization Oxfam has declared that, due to “Israeli” authorities’ near complete denial of humanitarian access, starvation is being used as a weapon of war against civilians in Gaza. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees [UNRWA] has noted conditions are inhumane and continue to deteriorate as days go by for more than 717,000 internally displaced people sheltering in 149 UNRWA facilities.

“Israeli” officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have repeatedly rejected increasing calls and pressure for a ceasefire in Gaza. Instead, “Israeli” forces have intensified indiscriminate and direct attacks against residential buildings and civilian infrastructure including hospitals, schools, bakeries, and solar panels.

As “Israeli” officials are seemingly undeterred in their attempt to depopulate Gaza and create conditions that eliminate Palestinian life, world leaders show, day after day, that they lack the courage to force an end to the bombardment and instead are actively supporting the “Israeli” onslaught.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has recently approved a $320m deal with “Israel” for the purchase of United States precision bombs and has allowed the sale of thousands of assault rifles to Israeli authorities despite concerns that they could land in the hands of “Israeli” settlers in the occupied West Bank. This is apart from the $14bn emergency funding for “Israel” requested from the US Congress.

These arms sales and funding make Washington even more complicit in the apparent mass atrocities the “Israeli” army is committing in Gaza.

For decades, the international community has supported and justified “Israeli” war crimes and the denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, prioritizing the security of the “Israeli” people at the expense of Palestinian life. Palestinian children are bearing the brunt of that complicity and the failure of international law, protection, and accountability mechanisms.

It is paralyzing to think that around 9 to 10 classrooms of students are being obliterated from the Earth each and every day by the “Israeli” army’s intensive bombardment of residential buildings and civilian infrastructure in Gaza.

The Biden administration’s endorsement of “Israel’s” actions and the genocidal green light it has given must be opposed. World leaders need to heed the UN chief’s call for an immediate ceasefire and help put an end to the slaughter of Palestinian children.
Source : Al-Jazeera