Israeli Military Has Killed 1 Child in Gaza Every 15 Minutes: Rights Group
"Additional children are unaccounted for and missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings, indicating the true death toll is much higher," said Defense for Children International–Palestine.
By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams
Israel's relentless bombing campaign in the occupied Gaza Strip has killed more than 1,000 Palestinian children—roughly one every 15 minutes—since it began on October 7, according to the latest tally from Defense for Children International–Palestine.
Children have faced some of the most horrific impacts of Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza, where roughly half of the population is under the age of 18. Israel has dropped more than 6,000 bombs on Gaza—home to 2.3 million people—in the wake of Hamas' deadly attack.
Mohammad Abu Rukbeh, senior Gaza field researcher at DCIP, said in a statement Monday that "the repercussions of this war will not only affect the victims we have lost, some of which are still trapped under the rubble of their homes, and not only the residential areas that have been completely destroyed, including our own homes, but the psychological impact on us civilians and our children will be catastrophic."
Research released before Israel's latest bombardment of Gaza found that four out of five children in the Gaza Strip reported living with depression, grief, and fear amid a yearslong Israeli blockade and frequent outbreaks of deadly violence.
Israel's current military campaign in Gaza is its deadliest to date, and the unlawful total blockade it has imposed on the strip has further deprived children and the rest of the civilian population of food, fuel, electricity, and clean water. Some Gazans have resorted to drinking seawater and water contaminated by sewage, and hospital staff have reportedly had to drink from IV solution bags.
"Israeli authorities cut water supply to Gaza on October 9, and since then, all three water desalination plants in Gaza have been forced to cease operations," DCIP noted Monday, citing the United Nations. "Even though Israeli authorities claimed to resume water supply to southern Gaza yesterday, there is no electricity to operate water pumps, Israeli airstrikes have damaged many water lines, and very little water in Gaza is drinkable in the first place."
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said late Monday that Israel has agreed to develop a plan to let desperately needed humanitarian aid reach Gazans, but Israel has continued its destructive bombing campaign and refused to allow a ceasefire as civilians struggle to find safety in the besieged enclave.
Al Jazeera reported that more than 70 people were killed in their homes on Tuesday "after Israel conducted air raids on Gaza's Khan Younis, Rafah, and Deir el-Balah."
Last week, the Israeli military ordered the entire population of northern Gaza to evacuate to the south ahead of an expected ground invasion and was subsequently accused of bombing supposed "safe routes" that civilians were using to flee.
Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement Tuesday that "appalling reports that civilians attempting to relocate to southern Gaza were struck and killed by an explosive weapon must be independently and thoroughly investigated, as must all allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law."
"Those who managed to comply with the Israeli authorities' order to evacuate are now trapped in the south of the Gaza Strip, with scant shelter, fast-depleting food supplies, little or no access to clean water, sanitation, medicine, and other basic needs," said Shamdasani. "We echo the U.N. call for a humanitarian pause to enable aid delivery and to prevent further suffering and deaths of the already much beleaguered civilian population of Gaza. Urgent immediate, unimpeded humanitarian access needs to be ensured."
Jake Johnson is a senior editor and staff writer for Common Dreams.
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