Middle east

Gaza Tragedy: Hunger Claims Children’s Lives Amid Siege

In a tragic development reflecting the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources announced the death of another child due to famine and dehydration, bringing the number of malnutrition-related child deaths in the area to forty. These figures are not just statistics, but stories of lives ended before they began, and childhood dreams shattered under the weight of the siege and conflict.

Children Paying the Price

On Friday, another tragic event added to the series of calamities striking the Gaza Strip, as medical sources announced the death of a child due to famine and dehydration at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah. This incident highlights the severe humanitarian crisis facing Palestinian territories, where children suffer from acute shortages of medical and food supplies.

As tensions escalate, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced that Israeli authorities imposed additional restrictions on humanitarian aid access to Gaza, further worsening the fragile humanitarian situation.

According to UNRWA, “children are paying the heavy price,” with more than 3000 permits for Palestinian children to leave Gaza and the West Bank for medical treatment being denied or delayed in 2023.

UN Warnings

The Gaza Strip, under continuous Israeli aggression since October 7, faces extremely difficult humanitarian conditions. Severe shortages of food, water, medicine, and fuel are pushing the area to the brink of famine.

Medical sources previously reported that 50 children were suffering from malnutrition and famine in northern Gaza, with more than 200 children showing signs of malnutrition.

The residents of northern Gaza, numbering about 700,000, face severe shortages of food and vegetables due to Israel’s continued closure of border crossings and the absence of trucks entering the north.

On May 7, Israeli forces took control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing, stopping the flow of aid and preventing the injured and sick from traveling abroad for treatment, exacerbating the humanitarian disaster in the area, especially in the north.

Relief officials and health experts warned of “famine in Gaza last May if Israel does not lift restrictions on aid, the aggression does not stop, and vital services are not restored.”

The World Health Organization also warned that many Gaza residents face “catastrophic levels of hunger and near-famine conditions.”

The report also reveals severe violations committed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, where 126 Palestinian children were killed and 906 others were arrested. The UN verified five cases in which soldiers used children as human shields “to protect forces during law enforcement operations.”

The report indicates that “most incidents resulted from the use of explosive weapons by the Israeli army and security forces in populated areas.”

It acknowledges that the report reflects only a partial picture of the situation in Gaza. “Children are at risk of famine, severe malnutrition, and preventable deaths.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated in the report: “I am horrified by the massive increase and unprecedented severity of grave violations against children in Gaza, Israel, and the occupied West Bank.”

Cries of Innocence

An unprecedented wave of violations against children in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel has been revealed by American journalist Julian Borger in an article for The Guardian, based on soon-to-be-released UN documents.

The report, which addresses children and armed conflicts, shockingly shows that children in these areas have been subjected to war crimes and severe violations surpassing those witnessed in other conflict zones like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Somalia, Nigeria, and Sudan.

For the first time, the annual UN assessment—set to be presented to the General Assembly—includes Israel among the countries accused of violating children’s rights.

This inclusion has provoked a wave of anger in Israeli circles, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing the UN of bias against Israel and supporting Hamas.

The report highlights “8009 grave violations against 4360 children,” the verified cases only; meaning the actual numbers could be much higher.

The Israeli army and security forces bear the brunt of these violations, along with violations committed by Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Israeli settlers, and Al-Quds Brigades.

The report also reveals the tragedy of 126 Palestinian children killed and 906 others arrested in the West Bank, mentions the use of children as human shields in some cases, and warns that children in Gaza face the risk of famine and severe malnutrition.

In the conclusion of the report, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expresses his shock at “the massive increase and unprecedented severity of grave violations against children,” calling for urgent international action to protect future generations from the ravages of wars and conflicts.

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