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There is a light here

Israel’s genocidal war on the Palestinian enclave has been particularly horrific for children, putting their lives in grave danger. 

Despite Israel’s unbridled violence against the innocent people in Gaza, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is manifested by Gaza children, who are now a beacon of hope in the otherwise miserable Gaza. In a sense, Gaza children are an example of the Persian proverb, “There is a light here,” which refers to the existence of hope even in the darkest of times.  With their endurance, they will live on to see Palestine free from Israeli occupation and oppression. At that time, the bitter memories currently taking shape in Gaza will be considered a milestone in their struggle for peace, dignity, and security.

Child killing industry

Infanticide is considered genocide. Infanticide has become an industry for the Zionist regime, and the Israeli regime is carrying out ethnic cleansing on a large scale throughout the occupied territories.

It has been difficult to report on the recent developments in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. The ongoing massacre of Palestinians has led to a constant change in the number of those killed and injured in Gaza. 

While I was preparing the final draft of the Palestinian death toll, it was reported that the Zionist regime had targeted the Al-Fakhoora school, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Palestinians, including children. 

“Shoah” (holocaust) of Palestinian children is a new term that seems to have been coined in Gaza. 

Children’s Day is celebrated annually in honor of children. In 1925, International Children’s Day was first proclaimed in Geneva during the World Conference on Child Welfare. While people worldwide mostly celebrate the day, some children don’t celebrate it. The day seems a bitter joke to them.

This year’s International Child Day coincided with a massive infanticide in a land that has been occupied for nearly 80 years. The world is preparing to honor the day, but surely the children of Gaza will wake up terrified by the sound of cannons and bombardment and they will ask themselves why the call for them to celebrate Children’s Day is so loud and harsh?! 

Intensification of infanticide 
 In response to the desecration of Islamic sanctities, namely Al-Aqsa Mosque, by the Zionist regime and the oppression of the Palestinians in recent years, the Palestinian resistance forces, Hamas, launched a surprise operation on October 7, codenamed the Al-Aqsa Storm, outside Gaza. The operation caught the Zionist regime off guard, and the Israeli regime, to compensate for its failure, has launched a complete blockade of the enclave and carried out unabated air and land strikes. 

According to Palestinian officials, at least 12,000 Palestinians, including more than 7,800 women and children, have been killed and more than 40,000 injured since October 7. 

So far, Israel has killed at least 4,750 children in the Gaza Strip and some 48 in the West Bank. Half of Gaza’s population are children, and the number of children killed in this area in the first 3 weeks of Israeli attacks was higher than the average number of children killed in the entire world during the last 3 years. 

According to Palestinian sources, 5 Palestinian children are killed every hour in Gaza. 

More than 3,000 children were killed in Palestine in the first 3 weeks, according to data from the UK-based NGO which is named, Save the Children. 

Save the Children is a leading humanitarian organization for children.

 The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that a significant portion of the nearly 40,000 people injured in Palestine since October 7 are “children.” 

In the April 25 United Nations report titled “Children in armed conflict,” in 2022, 2,985 children died in 24 countries; in 2021, 2,515 children; and in 2020, 2,674 children lost their lives. 

According to the 2019 UN report, 4,019 children were killed in conflicts around the world.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health released a 212-page report containing the names, identities, and ages of those who were killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza between October 7 and 26. Accordingly, 2,913 of the 7,028 people killed in Palestine were children.

This is why children in Gaza are given different names and nicknames these days, such as nameless children, children of war, wandering souls, and so on. 

Is infanticide a systematic action?

The systematic killing of Palestinian children by the Zionist occupiers has been one of the important issues raised in recent decades. Infanticide has been an ongoing process for nearly eight decades, and its peak can be seen in the current war in Gaza.

In the eyes of the Tel Aviv leaders, a Palestinian child is a potential resistance force, and killing him is actually eliminating a member of the resistance forces before he takes up arms. 

In an interview, a Palestinian child was asked what he would do when he grew up. His answer showed the depth of the tragedy that is going on in the occupied territories. With exemplary calmness, the child answered, “A Palestinian child will never grow up; he dies before he chooses a job!”

Blood libel, from fantasy to reality

Blood libel is an accusation that was made against Jews through an anti-Semitism campaign in Europe and Russia. Anti-Semitists accused the Jews of killing Christian children to drink their blood. 
Although such accusations by racists have no place in the thoughts of modern societies, what is happening in Gaza today looks like the blood libel myth.

The thirst for Palestinian children’s blood today is deeply imprinted in the minds of the Zionists and settlers. 

Although talking about blood libel is considered anti-Semitic and racist, talking about infanticide carried out by Zionists, which is rooted in their beliefs, is no longer considered racism.

The Gaza massacre has been so terrible that the Secretary General of the United Nations and other human rights organizations have criticized Zionists for their acts and repeatedly called the killing of children “genocide” or “Israel’s move towards genocide.”

During the 44-day conflict between Israel and Hamas, children were killed at a faster rate than any other armed conflict in decades. 

Since October 7, Israeli fighter jets have been relentlessly bombarding the 25-mile Gaza Strip.

Rund Abdel Fattah, the host of American National Radio NPR, titled her November 16 article in The Atlantic, “There are no children in Gaza.” 

“There are no children in Gaza. That’s what my mother says. There are no children, only old souls in miniature bodies. Because how can you be a child when you face the prospect of death from the moment you are born?” Rund said.

International organizations are tired of the rampage in Palestine

Lack of support from international organizations for Palestinian children has become a major challenge. 

UNICEF, which works in some of the most dangerous places in the world to reach and support disadvantaged children and adolescents, aims to protect the rights of every child everywhere. 

Operating in over 190 countries and territories, UNICEF does whatever it takes to help children survive, thrive, and reach their full potential from early childhood through adolescence. 

Its work encompasses child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality education and skill-building, HIV prevention and treatment for mothers and babies, as well as the protection of children and adolescents from violence and exploitation.

However, UNICEF has faced criticism from numerous groups, governments, and individuals for its performance concerning the conditions of children in Gaza. One of the most surprising criticisms is directed at UNICEF’s inaction against the killing of Palestinian children in Gaza.

Another organization working to support children globally is the Education Above All Foundation (EAA). 

This organization aims to ensure equal access to education and harness the power of quality education for positive, sustainable, and inclusive change.

Regrettably, EAA’s inaction has led Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, mother of Sheikh Tamim, the Emir of Qatar, to apologize and step down from her role as a UNESCO Goodwill ambassador due to the organization’s failure to protect the children in Gaza and provide them with relief.

First Published in Tehran Times

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