Thu. Apr 25th, 2024
Palestinian children react, as another round of violence intensifies mental health crisis for Gaza children, in Gaza City August 7, 2022. According to Geneva-based human rights nonprofit Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, 91% of children in Gaza suffer from some form of conflict-related trauma. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

With the dawn of each new day, the world witnesses the crimes committed by the occupation against the Palestinians, and discovers the extent of the early maturity that has infiltrated into the psyche of children who face daily shocks, striving to adapt to the reality they have to absorb.

The children of Gaza mature early, as their childhoods were stolen just like their homeland was stolen by the occupation. Boys and girls have become adults, feeling responsible towards their families just as their families feel responsible towards them.

Many scenes from Gaza show children consoling their families in their loss, while others comfort their siblings in hospitals, injured by bomb fragments or their homes collapsed due to an occupation airstrike.

Scenes from the region also depict children competing with adults with their small hands trying to obtain scarce aid, carrying water bottles to quench their family’s thirst, or sharing a loaf of bread more precious than red sulfur in Gaza.

As an emblem of this premature maturity, a Palestinian photographer shared a video of a girl in northern Gaza questioning why the Israeli occupation army kills citizens when they try to obtain food aid.

The girl in the footage said, “When aid comes, why do they shoot at them (throw bullets at them), oh God.. leave them alone, people can’t find food or water.. what do the Jews want from them.. people just want to eat.. people are suffering”.

She added, “My mother is fasting and we are hungry all night and patient.. the Jews are doing this to us, may God be our avenger and the best of protectors”.

Death in exchange for a sack of flour

This Palestinian girl is pointing to a phenomenon witnessed in the Gaza Strip for a while now, as the occupation deliberately targets the besieged people of Gaza, who are bitten by hunger, by monitoring them at gathering points where aid is received by air or through some trucks, turning the journey to find a sack of flour into an adventure from which the seeker may not return alive.

Yesterday evening, the governmental media office in Gaza announced that the Israeli army had opened fire on Palestinians who were waiting for the arrival of aid near the Kuwait roundabout south of Gaza City.

The office held the US administration, Israel, and the international community fully responsible for exacerbating the humanitarian situation and worsening the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza amid the increasing numbers of deaths due to hunger, malnutrition, and drought.

Since Thursday, the Israeli army has killed more than 127 Palestinians and injured over 760 others as they were waiting to receive humanitarian aid in two areas in the northern Gaza City and one area in Deir al-Balah (central), according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Due to the war and Israeli restrictions, the residents of Gaza – especially in the Gaza and northern governorates – are on the brink of famine, amidst severe shortages in food, water, medicine, and fuel, with nearly two million Palestinians displaced from the besieged enclave that has been under Israeli blockade for 17 years.

Since October 7, 2023, Israel has been waging a devastating war on the Gaza Strip, resulting in tens of thousands of civilian casualties, mostly children and women, in addition to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe and massive destruction of infrastructure. This has led Tel Aviv to stand trial before the International Court of Justice on charges of “genocide”.