40 percent of Palestinians killed in Gaza are children

Ramallah, October 30, 2023—More than 40 percent of the Palestinians killed in Gaza are children as the child death toll climbs to 3,457, according to the Ministry of Health.

Israeli forces have killed 3,457 Palestinian children in Gaza, representing more than 40 percent of the total death toll, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, in three weeks since the Israeli military unleashed a massive military offensive on the Gaza Strip on October 7.

The fatality and injury numbers provided by the Ministry of Health in Gaza only account for people admitted to hospitals, and an estimated 1,050 Palestinian children are reported missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings, indicating the actual death toll is much higher. 

The number of Palestinian children killed in Gaza in the last three weeks has exceeded the annual number of children killed across the world’s conflict zones since 2019, according to Save the Children.

At least 8,306 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli military bombardment began on October 7, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. The total death toll in Gaza is surpassing that of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995, when the Bosnian Serb military killed around 8,000 Muslim men and teenagers. 

While some connectivity has been restored in southern Gaza, many Palestinians in Gaza are experiencing a total blackout of internet and telecommunications since Israeli forces intensified airstrikes and began a ground invasion of northern Gaza on October 27.

Children are at heightened risk of loss of life, physical harm, severe emotional distress, and protracted displacement following the announced “expanded ground operations” by Israeli forces in Gaza, said Save the Children in a statement. Children will bear the brunt of the “intensification of attacks” in Gaza, with more deaths, injuries, and distress likely, said the aid agency, calling for an immediate ceasefire.

The United Nations General Assembly approved a nonbinding resolution on October 27 calling for a “humanitarian truce” in Gaza leading to a cessation of hostilities, the first United Nations response to the active hostilities.

36 Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to documentation collected by DCIP, when the Israeli military began a full-scale bombardment on the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Iron Swords.

So far this year, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 76 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 67 Palestinian children with live ammunition, five Palestinian children were killed in a drone strike, and four Palestinian children were killed by missiles fired from a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter.

At least 115 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The State of Israel has no choice but to turn Gaza into a place that is temporarily or permanently impossible to live in,” reservist Major General Giora Eiland told Israeli media. “Creating a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a necessary means to achieve the goal. Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist.”

“Human animals must be treated as such. There will be no electricity and no water [in Gaza], there will only be destruction. You wanted hell, you will get hell,” said Major General Ghassan Alian, head of Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Under international law, genocide is prohibited and constitutes the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group, in whole or in part. Genocide can result from killing or by creating conditions of life that are so unbearable it brings about the group’s destruction.

International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects. Deploying explosive weapons in densely-populated civilian areas constitutes indiscriminate attacks and carrying out direct attacks against civilians or civilian objects amounts to war crimes.

Israeli authorities have imposed a closure policy against the Gaza Strip since 2007 by strictly controlling and limiting the entry and exit of individuals; maintaining harsh restrictions on imports including food, construction materials, fuel, and other essential items; as well as prohibiting exports. Israel continues to maintain complete control over the Gaza Strip’s borders, airspace, and territorial waters.

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