With Continuing Israeli Military Offensive on the Gaza Strip: The Independent Commission for Human Rights Calls on the International Community to Ensure Immediate Protection for Palestinian Children

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights calls on Palestinian, regional and international communities to take immediate action to protect civilians in the Gaza Strip including over 750,000 children who are being subjected to Israeli military bombings within their homes and community for the fifth consecutive day. The Israeli Occupation Forces are causing high casualties among civilians in their random shelling in one of the most heavily populated areas around the world. As of today, 57 were killed and around 550 were injured, the majority of which are civilians. Of those 13 children were killed and almost 174 injured (i.e. 25% of the overall casualties) causing to some of them permanent disabilities.

The long term consequences of these repetitive and incessant attacks against children and the civilian population are harmful to the survival, development, physical, psychological and mental well being of our children, and irreparable damage has ensued. The children of the Gaza Strip are being terrorized and traumatized by the unrelenting numbers of bombs being dropped on an hourly basis and there are no places of safety or shelter available for families and children.

Israeli Military actions in the Gaza Strip contravene with international law, and are measures of collective punishment against the entire civilian population including children who are afforded special protection under international law at times of armed conflicts and under military occupation, namely the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War. Such practices also contravene with Article (38) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which specifically stipulated the provision of special protection and care for children during armed conflicts. ICHR calls on all parties to cease the violence, provide children and families with safe and protected areas that should not be violated, and allow the immediate and continual entry of medical, food, and essential goods and services for the Gaza population and the evacuation of children and civilians in need of emergency care services.

The international community should take all possible measures to ensure the safety and well-being of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip and to pressure the occupying authority to immediately halt its military offensive on the Gaza Strip and ensure Israel's respect and adherence to its legal obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.