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Palestine: Israeli excessive force in Gaza exacerbates suffering of children: UNICEF

5th May 2018
Palestine: Israeli excessive force in Gaza exacerbates suffering of children: UNICEF

By Fatih Erel

 

GENEVA (AA): Israeli security forces have killed five Palestinian children and injured hundreds others during protests in Gaza over the past five weeks, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday.

“Over the past five weeks, five children were killed and hundreds were injured in largely peaceful protests in Gaza,” UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Geert Cappelaere said in a statement on Friday.

Noting that children have been showing signs of severe distress and trauma, Cappelaere said: “The escalating violence in Gaza has exacerbated the suffering of children whose lives have already been unbearably difficult for several years. Half of all children depend on humanitarian assistance, and one in four needs psychosocial care.

“Yesterday, our UNICEF special representative visited a 14-year-old boy who suffered a gunshot wound, causing a severe injury close to his heart. He is now home recovering after being in hospital for two weeks. It is hard for him to be optimistic through the pain, but when he gets better, he wants to be a doctor, like the ones who helped him survive,” Cappelaere said.

Warning about the minimal power supply in Gaza which disrupted water and sanitation services, severely reducing the availability of drinking water,0 Cappelaere said: “Nine out of 10 families do not have regular access to safe water.

“UNICEF renews its calls for all those with influence to protect children and keep them out of harm’s way. Children belong in schools, homes and playgrounds – they should never be targeted or encouraged to participate in violence.”

A series of demonstrations in Gaza began on March 30 and are set to continue until May 15. The participants are protesting their forced evictions and displacement since 1948 and calling for an end to the 11-year blockade on Gaza.

The UN high commissioner for human rights on last Friday urged Israel not to use excessive force and called for those responsible for the many Palestinian deaths in Gaza over the past month to be held accountable.

[Photo: : Israeli forces attack Palestinian demonstrators using tear gas bombs during a protest within the “Great March of Return” near Israeli border in eastern part of Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, Gaza on May 04, 2018. Photographer: Ali Jadallah/AA]

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