Palestinian children’s right to life crushed by ongoing war – Unicef

Unicef’s regional director for the Middle East and north Africa, Adele Khodr, has expressed deep concern over the current situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where the conflict has peaked in terms of its impact on children.

Khodr revealed that in the past 12 weeks, 83 children have tragically lost their lives, a number that is more than double the total child fatalities recorded in 2022.

This surge in violence, occurring alongside heightened military and law-enforcement operations, has also led to over 576 children sustaining injuries and numerous detentions.

Khodr underscored that the West Bank, already plagued by longstanding conflicts, has experienced a significant escalation in violence since the distressing attacks that occurred on October 7.

Since the beginning of 2023, the conflict has resulted in the loss of 124 Palestinian children’s lives and six Israeli children, according to Unicef’s reports.

Khodr further emphasised the pervasive atmosphere of fear and sorrow that has become a daily reality for the children residing in these areas.

She stated that many children are living in constant fear, making even simple activities like going to school or playing outside terrifying due to the ongoing threat of shootings and other forms of violence associated with the conflict.

Feeling of fear and grief

“As the world watches on in horror at the situation in the Gaza Strip, children in the West Bank are experiencing a nightmare of their own,” said Khodr.

“Living with a near-constant feeling of fear and grief is, sadly, all too common for children affected.

“Many children report that fear has become a part of their daily life, with many scared even walking to school or playing outside due to the threat of shootings and other conflict-related violence.

“Unicef is extremely concerned about the right of children in the West Bank including East Jerusalem to safety and protection, and their inherent right to life.”

The recent spike in violence has brought renewed attention to the ongoing crisis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

While the global community remains focused on the distressing events in the Gaza Strip, the plight of children in these regions, as Khodr emphasised, forms an integral part of the conflict and should not be overlooked.

Unicef has expressed extreme concern for the safety, protection, and inherent right to life of these children.

The agency strongly urges all involved parties to adhere to international human rights laws and to shield children from the horrors of conflict-related violence.

“Children should never be the target of violence, no matter who or where they are.”

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