Once again children and civilians are bearing the brunt of assault on their homes and religious institutions during the holy month of Ramadan. Facing expulsion from their homes to cowering in the arms of equally traumatized parents as bombs rain through the night at a time when families were to share iftar, the breaking of fast, and suhoor the early morning meal before a day of fasting.
Uprooting Palestinians from their homes through forced removal and displacement is in violation of international law. Flouting the laws behind a wall of silence from the international community encourages illegal settlers and radical nationalists who have been trying for decades to displace these and other Palestinian refugees from their homes affecting over 970 people, 424 of whom are children in Sheik Jarrah alone.
According to a 2020 UN survey at least 218 Palestinian households in East Jerusalem have eviction cases filed against them, most by radical settler groups.
In Gaza, many families still live in the rubble left from 2014 and struggle through Covid and a strangulating blockade of land, air, and sea now in its 14th year affecting every aspect of life and livelihood. Yet, the bombs fall, and children are killed.
Our country coordinator in Gaza said that, “I sit with my children afraid with bombing all around. It is scary for me. What are my children feeling and I am so helpless to protect them?”
Children should not be subject to nightly air raids, sirens or awakened to the sounds of jets and bombing – yet for children in Gaza, this is an all too familiar part of their childhood.
No Palestinian is safe in their homes or place of worship where freedom of faith is a noble idea for most believers. Witnessing soldiers attacking prostrate worshipers has chilled the entire Muslim world.
At a time when families should be planning get-togethers and celebrations, they are instead facing the fear of more devastation and loss. The violence must end. Lasting peace and security for both sides means ending the occupation and the collective punishment of the people in Palestine.
“The current assault reminds us that Palestinians live on the brink of devastation every day. They cannot take life for granted like so many of us. We need to uplift and support them now and always,” Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, Chairperson KinderUSA.