News / Middle East

    UN Concerned About Children in Israel-Hamas Conflict

    FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 file photo, mourners gather around the graves of members of the Najam family, killed overnight in an Israeli strike in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip.
    FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 file photo, mourners gather around the graves of members of the Najam family, killed overnight in an Israeli strike in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip.
    Lisa Schlein

    The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says that children in Gaza are traumatized as a result of the hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians. Nearly 400,000 need immediate psychosocial support to help them deal with their distress.  

    Half of Gaza's 1.8 million people are children under the age of 18.  UNICEF says the month-long war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is having a catastrophic effect on them and their families.
     
    According to UNICEF, more than 400 Palestinian children have been killed - nearly one-third of the civilian casualties.  In addition, more than 2,700 children reportedly have been wounded.
     
    Pernille Ironside, who runs the organization's field office in Gaza says children over the age of seven already have lived through two wars-in 2008 and 2012.
     
    In a telephone briefing from Gaza, Ironside said the toll in lives and physical infrastructure in this conflict is far greater than in the two previous wars combined.
     
    "There is not a single family in Gaza Strip who has not been touched through direct loss of a loved one, injury, having their homes demolished or now being amongst the quarter of a million people out of the 1.8 million people who are displaced," Ironside said.

    Palestinian Salwa Shabat, right, accompanied by some of her children, from left to right, Amira, Huda, top, Ahmed and Anas, weep as they inspect the damage upon returning to the family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun.Palestinian Salwa Shabat, right, accompanied by some of her children, from left to right, Amira, Huda, top, Ahmed and Anas, weep as they inspect the damage upon returning to the family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun.
    x
    Palestinian Salwa Shabat, right, accompanied by some of her children, from left to right, Amira, Huda, top, Ahmed and Anas, weep as they inspect the damage upon returning to the family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun.
    Palestinian Salwa Shabat, right, accompanied by some of her children, from left to right, Amira, Huda, top, Ahmed and Anas, weep as they inspect the damage upon returning to the family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun.

    Ironside said the children of Gaza show symptoms of increased distress, including bed wetting, clinging to parents and nightmares.  She said they cannot count on their parents giving them that help when, they, themselves are barely able to function.
     
    Although Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, is critical of Israel's military actions in Gaza, she also finds fault with Hamas. Pillay said she understands Israel's concerns and its need to protect its people.

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge

    She condemns Hamas' rocket attacks against Israel because they are indiscriminate and traumatize the civilian population.  Pillay said she is  particularly concerned by the effect they have on children, adding that Israeli children have as much right to life as do Gaza children.
     
    Ironside said Israel's bombing of Gaza's power plant has knocked out the territory's electricity and ability to pump clean water - meaning there is little water for sanitation. Children living in shelters are now suffering from skin conditions, scabies, lice and other communicable diseases, Ironside told reporters.
     
    She said the situation is even worse for people outside the shelters.
     
    "They are in a terrible state in terms of being able to access any kind of clean drinking water that is not contaminated by sewage," she said.  "And, this is an urgent concern that could lead potentially to diarrhea and the further death of children, particularly those who are under the age of five."
     
    Ironside noted that Israeli airstrikes have taken a very heavy toll on schools in Gaza - where at least 142 schools, including 89 U.N. schools, have been damaged.  However she agreed that Hamas must share the blame because it stored rockets in three U.N. schools, which is forbidden.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
    August 06, 2014 4:53 PM
    Stop The War Palestine and Israel

    by: Dr. Masta Marina from: Finland
    August 05, 2014 4:34 PM
    not surprisingly the UN is not as concerned about 250,000 massacred in Syria... Iraq... Lebanon... Libya... Egypt... Nigeria... many of whose children have been gassed to death... hacked to death... sexually mutilated to death... UN hypocrisy has become a cruel joke
    In Response

    by: Faiyaz Ahmed S M from: india
    August 06, 2014 5:11 AM
    What's the point you wish to make? Do you mean that UN shouldn't talk about Gaza children since it didn't deal with those affected in other turmoils. What you need to say is UN should deal with fallouts in other areas too instead of belittling what it is doing in Gaza.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora