The most recent deaths came overnight when eight Palestinian children north of Gaza were killed, according to a statement by Ted Chaiban, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.
2/2 #Children are still victims of this deadly escalation. I repeat that children must not be the target of violence or harm. Hostilities must stop now! – Gate Wennesland (@TWennesland) May 15, 2021
International media reported that the children were among 10 members of a Palestinian family who were killed in an Israeli air strike on their home in the Al Shati refugee camp.
Stand back, end the violence
“The extent of the violence is enormous. Children bear the brunt of this escalation, ”said Chaiban.
“All sides must step back and end the violence. All sides are obliged to protect the civilian population – especially children – and to facilitate humanitarian access. The underlying triggers for this violence are not resolved by further violence. ”
Mr. Chaiban reported that at least 40 children aged six months to 17 years have been killed in Gaza since May 10, of whom more than half were under ten years old. Two children in Israel, including a six-year-old, have been killed since the escalation began.
Numerous displaced, destroyed schools
He added that more than 1,000 people were reported seriously injured in Gaza, including “a large number” of children.
“Last week in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, a 16-year-old child was killed and at least 54 Palestinian children were reported injured. Another 26 children were arrested. Most have now been released, ”he said.
In the meantime, 35 schools in Gaza have been damaged and at least 29 schools serve as emergency shelters for families who have fled their homes due to severe violence.
According to UNICEF, up to 10,000 people have been displaced, most of them children. According to reports from the UN agency, three schools in Israel were damaged.
Mourning for young lives
The UN Security Council will meet on Sunday to discuss the ongoing crisis. Secretary General António Guterres will address ambassadors who will also be briefed by Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
In a post on Twitter on Saturday, Mr. Wennesland said he was appalled by the “terrible incident” in the Al-Shati camp and mourned all the young people who have so far been killed by the violence. He called for an end to hostilities and said: “Children must not be the target of violence or harm.”