01 August 2014The Israeli offensive “protective Border” in the Gaza Strip started on 17th of July. This is the bloodiest since 2009 and the fourth since the Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. More than 1,444 Palestinians died so far. Three-quarters were civilians according to the UN, about 250 children. On Israeli side, three civilians and 58 soldiers were killed – the heaviest military record since the war against Hezbollah in 2006.

Children must be protected

“I do not know how we are going to explain what is happening to our children (…) how can it be that our people is in danger of being exterminated because Israelis feel threatened by the existence of a political organization?” declared Rima Ibrahim, a humanitarian worker leaving in Gaza and mother of two children. 

“We are not terrorists. We do not want civilians, regardless of their religious and national affiliation or political positions to be injured or affected.” , she added.

The latest escalation of violence in Gaza is severely affecting children, who represent almost half of the Palestinian population. More than 250 children have died in the past four weeks in the Gaza Strip. This number increases more and more quickly. Unfortunately, there is at present no hope in the short term to see the situation getting better in a real and sustainable way.

“Children are locked down in their homes, they are terrified, crying or apathetic” explains Dr. Khitam Abu Hamad, Terre des hommes’ office manager in Gaza.

Medical supplies, food, water and fuel are running out due to the blockage of the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, the recent bombings damaged health facilities, homes and schools, affecting even more the already fragile populations. Knowing that Gaza is the place in the world with the highest number of inhabitants per square kilometer and is now being attacked for the third time in less than six years by the Israeli military forces.

Terre des Hommes on the spot

We have been present in the State of Palestine since 1973. Terres des Hommes do its best to provide concrete and efficient assistance to children in this complex environment. Through our projects, we pursue four main objectives: combatting child labour, providing justice for minors, implementing child protection systems and develop an inclusive education system.

Concerning the current situation in Gaza, Terre des Hommes calls on all parties to do everything to exercise the utmost restraint and to protect the rights and well-being of all children. Aid intervention must be facilitated, in accordance with international humanitarian laws and standards.

Terre des Hommes calls for…

Terre des Hommes Fondation Lausanne together with 33 organisations, urgently called for a ceasefire and sustained solutions to the conflict in Gaza and is one of the 41 signatory organizations who are calling for an immediate ceasefire, noting that all parties must respect international humanitarian law and abide by their obligations to protect civilians from harm. Continued military operations are compounding a health care crisis in Gaza, with hospitals ill-prepared to meet the critical needs arising from a wide-scale emergency right now.  Find more info here.

Terre des Hommes Italy urgently calls on the Italian government to redouble its efforts to ensure that humanitarian law is respected in the operation “Protective Edge” and continues to collect funds for the enormous needs of the population that does not have a chance to escape from the Strip.         Find more info here.

Read Rima Ibrahim’s letter,  humanitarian worker leaving in Gaza (in Italian).

Read our joint statement submitted to the Human Rights Council for a ceasefire in Gaza

Photo credits: Emergenza Gaza – Terre des Hommes Italia