Palestinian lawyer exposes Israel's disturbing child casualty rate in Gaza
Ahmed Abofoul reveals shocking statistics, condemning Israel's actions and criticizing UN's failure to include Israel in annual list of countries violating children's rights
Ahmed Abofoul, a Palestinian lawyer specializing in international law, stated that Israel's killings of children in Gaza within three weeks surpassed the annual global child death toll in conflict zones since 2019.
Ahmed Abofoul, a legal advisor for Al-Haq, a human rights organization based in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, evaluated the stance of international organizations on the deaths of children in Israeli attacks on Gaza in an interview with Anadolu on the occasion of the World Children's Rights Day on November 20.
Stating that the health system in Gaza has collapsed, Abofoul said, "Hospitals are filled with injured people lying in the corridors. Doctors have to prioritize the injured. Morgues are full, and doctors are performing surgeries without anesthesia.
He added: "Hundreds of thousands of people seeking refuge from the ruthless bombardment are crammed into overcrowded schools, and there is a risk of epidemic diseases due to overflowing toilets."
Abofoul pointed out that determining the number of people who have lost their lives in Gaza and how many of them are children has become increasingly difficult.
He said: "Before the health system collapsed, what we knew was that Israel was killing a Palestinian in Gaza every 4 minutes.
"According to Save the Children, the number of children killed by Israel in Gaza in just three weeks has exceeded the annual number of children killed in conflict zones worldwide since 2019," he said.
"Israel is currently killing an average of 6 children and 4 women per hour," Ahmet added.
Abofoul stated that Israel has carried out more than 1,050 massacres in Gaza, erasing families from population records.
He continued, "Israel targeted more than 125 health facilities, leaving about 20 hospitals out of service."
He said that in the first week of the war, Israel bombed Gaza more than the US bombed Afghanistan in a year.
In the first 25 days, Israel killed more civilians than Russia did in 1.5 years in Ukraine, Abofoul said. In one month, Israel dropped bombs on Gaza, equivalent to two Hiroshima nuclear bombs.
"The occupying army admitted to carrying out bombardments equivalent to 10 kilograms of explosives per person in Gaza. Israel has killed more in Gaza than in the genocide of Bosnian Muslims by Serbs. This is genocide. It must be stopped now."
'Israel deliberately targets children and women'
Abofoul drew attention to the fact that the UN Security Council mentions six grave violations against children during wartime, saying, "Israel has intentionally and systematically committed three of these violations in its attacks on Gaza, such as 'killing and maiming children, attacks on schools or hospitals, and obstructing children's access to humanitarian aid.'"
He said, "Civil infrastructure, especially hospitals, has a special protected status in international humanitarian law.
"The occupying Israeli army has not yet presented serious or convincing evidence that these protected places have lost this special protection," he added.
Abofoul highlighted that all available data indicates that Israel deliberately targets children and women, stating, "Israel systematically targets protected civilians, hospitals, ambulances, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) schools, bakeries, UNRWA food warehouses, and water reservoirs, indicating an intentional policy of starving people to force them to leave Gaza. These are a series of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including starvation, forced displacement, ethnic cleansing, and torture. This is another Nakba happening before our eyes, showing frequent and serious signs of genocide."
'History will not forgive those who normalize Israel's crimes against children'
Pointing out that more than 50% of the population in Gaza is children, Abofoul said, "Most of the children in Gaza have already experienced one or more attacks by Israel. Some have been injured before and have lost their parents or loved ones. No child in the world should suffer such pain. The suffering that Palestinian children have to endure will remain a shameful stain on humanity."
Abofoul emphasized the severe trauma experienced by Palestinian children, with reports revealing over 91% of Gaza Strip children face various forms of trauma. This alarming statistic should have deeply troubled the moral conscience of humanity.
"... Unfortunately, the suffering of the Palestinians has been normalized and tolerated. History will not forgive those who normalize and rationalize Israel's crimes against children because these individuals have the blood of Palestinian children on their hands," he said.
'UN shamefully failed to protect Palestinian children'
Abofoul, emphasizing that various organs of the UN, including the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), have failed to fulfill their responsibility to protect children during armed conflicts, shared the view that "The UN has shamefully failed to protect Palestinian children."
Abofoul concluded that the UN's omission of Israel from the annual list of countries violating children's rights in conflicts, including Russia, is a "scandal."
"The failure and reluctance of the UN to protect Palestinian children like children elsewhere in the world question its reliability and effectiveness," he said.
*Writing by Alperen AktasAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.