Children Should Not Be ‘Victims’
June 3, 2021
There are over 1 million children in the Gaza Strip and 50% of the population is under the age of 18.
Sixty six children were killed in the horrifying 11 days of violence we just witnessed and over 500 children were killed in the 5-week long assault in 2014.
Any child over 12 years of age has now experienced four large scale bombardments and any child born after 2006 has lived their whole life under siege.
Today marks the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression. This day was created by the UN in response to the many Palestinian and Lebanese children being killed and harmed in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Children should not fear bombs or bullets in their homes and schools and they should not be nameless numbers of the dead in news articles or human rights reports.
Palestinian children are often dehumanised and denied their innocence. This is also true for Palestinian mothers and fathers who are blamed for their children being hurt. We work with families and we see their daily struggles under the siege as well as the impact of ongoing violence. Incidence of trauma and depression have risen sharply since 2014 in Gaza, but they were already very prevalent in both children and adults.
We have supported a number of projects aimed at children including trauma support, sponsorships, education aid, special medical aid and outreach days and services. Each child is precious and loved and they are deserving of safety and opportunity.
Young people in Gaza are coping with siege, violence and also growing up in a world they can see online but are cut off from. They are also old enough to understand how people view them and their cause. Growing up under siege and occupation with the fear of bombs falling on you should not be normalised for Palestinian children. We should ensure we are speaking up for them and the injustices they face. We should never become so desensitised that we accept the deaths of children are inevitable or ‘collateral’. All children are innocent and after years of working in Gaza, we continue to be inspired by the spirit and joy we see in them. With your support we will continue to work for the children of Gaza, and continue to empower and serve them in attaining a better quality of life.