What Do They Want From Us?

In the occupied Palestinian territory, the death of three children across the West Bank in the past week adds to the growing number of children killed and the deafening silence from the international community again. An 11-year-old boy was killed in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, after being shot by the occupation forces in the chest while sitting in a car with his sister and father. Children are given special protection under international law, a right that is routinely flouted when it comes to Israel. In 2021, more than 75 children were killed by the occupation forces averaging 1 every 3 days.

In Gaza, the loss of over 260 human lives coupled with extensive property loss and damage after 11 days of assault on a civilian population in May adds to the worsening, downward spiral of the humanitarian crisis. Two months later, communities are still in shock from the loss of life that included entire families. Property destroyed will remain a pile of rubble due to the ongoing blockade preventing construction materials, spare parts, and equipment.

While the occupation forces operate with impunity, so do settlers in the Jordan Valley who violently attacked and injured 13 children while another group assaulted 3 Palestinians in Hebron while damaging trees and property. These events do not occur in isolation but are part of the strong-arm tactics inherent to an apartheid state.

An entire generation has grown up knowing only closed borders, demolitions, and repeated assaults.

“Our home was destroyed. We lost relatives. We live in the dark. What more do they want from us?”, said Um Arafat of Beit Hanoun.

While statements of concern and condemnation are appreciated, they do not hold anyone accountable for the indiscriminate attacks on children and other civilians.

“We have to do more than express our outrage,” said Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, Chairperson of KinderUSA. “It is incumbent upon the international community to do whatever it takes to exert meaningful pressure on the occupiers to refrain from the use of excessive force in all circumstances, not only during major assaults on Gaza.  Freedom from the fear of being killed is a fundamental right that must be protected, especially for these children of Palestine.”

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