3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; ....( 1 Thessalonians 5:3)
And To Which “god” Were Pope Francis, Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres Praying to at the Vatican in Rome?http://watchmanafrica.blogspot.com/2014/06/and-to-which-god-were-pope-francis.html
Israel’s Operation in Gaza Kills Over 1,000 Palestinians, One-Quarter Children
© REUTERS/ Ahmed Zakot
© REUTERS/ Ahmed Zakot
MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) - At least 1,032 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's Operation Protective Edge and ground invasion into the Gaza Strip, including 219 children and 117 women, a nongovernmental organization based in the Gaza Strip, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, said in its most recent report.
“Al Mezan can confirm that as of 12 p.m. [09:00 GMT] today, Sunday 27 July 2014, at least 1,032 Palestinians have been killed by the IOF [Israeli occupation forces]; including 219 children and 117 women,” said the report published Sunday on the organization’s website.
Al Mezan's initial investigation suggests 800 of the victims were civilians, and that at least 481 were killed inside their homes – 156 children and 98 women; two women with disability died as a result of an attack on a rehabilitation center for people with severe and complex impairments; 126 people were killed in the vicinity of their houses, many of whom were trying to flee from their homes that were being attacked by IOF.
Moreover, Israel’s operation left 4,382 people wounded, including 1,220 children and 879 women. Israel’s ground assault also destroyed or damaged 3,998 houses.
“The numbers of casualties and houses are not final, but only those verified by Al Mezan thus far. They are expected to rise as the verification of cases is on-going. IOF attacks also damaged or destroyed 61 schools, 88 mosques, one ambulance center, 21 NGO offices, 46 fishing boats and 8 hospitals,” the organization said in its report.
Al Mezan also noted that the 12-hour truce on Saturday allowed “medical and rescue teams to recover dozens of bodies from areas across the Gaza Strip of people who had been killed or had been injured and without evacuation had succumbed to their injuries.”
The situation in the Gaza Strip spun out of control over the past weekend, as fighting resumed between Palestine’s rebels from the Hamas movement and Israel after what seemed to be a promising 12-hour ceasefire on Saturday.
Israel decided late Saturday to extend the ceasefire until the end of Sunday at the UN's request. The truce was called off, however, after the Palestinian militants refused to maintain the truce demanding withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and fired rockets at Israel.
Hamas was reported to have agreed to a new 24-hour ceasefire with the Israeli Army until 2:00 p.m. local time (11:00 GMT) on Monday, but Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN hours later that Hamas violated its own ceasefire.
Late Sunday the UN Security Council gathered for an emergency session to discuss the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip. After the session, Eugene-Richard Gasana, Rwanda's UN ambassador and the Council’s president for July, issued a statement calling for “an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed assistance, and they urged all parties to accept and fully implement the humanitarian ceasefire into the Eid period and beyond.”
Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge to put an end to rocket fire from Gaza and undermining the Hamas movement, which controls the region, on July 8. On July 17, the Israeli Army switched to a ground assault, largely aimed at locating and destroying underground tunnels dug by militants to sneak into Israel and transport weapons.
Gaza conflict hits children especially hard
The children are full of questions that no one can answer — mainly, what's next?
"Our house was attacked — where am I going to sleep now? We have no home," said Yasmin, 6, in Gaza City, whose last name was withheld to protect her privacy. "I miss my bed and decorated room, I wish it was still there and our home was not targeted."
Some 40,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed during the month-long conflict with Israel that has displaced nearly half a million Palestinians and killed nearly 1,900 — more than 400 of them children, according to Gaza's Public Works Ministry and Health Ministry.
The United Nations has condemned Israel for its attacks, especially those near U.N. schools being used as shelters, where dozens have been killed in recent weeks. On Sunday, the State Department called on Israel to do "more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, charged Wednesday that Hamas is engaging in "child sacrifice" by using civilians as human shields.
In Gaza, those younger than 18 make up slightly more than half of the territory's nearly 2 million inhabitants and as a result, children have borne the brunt of fighting, leaving many deeply traumatized after their third war in six years, aid workers say.
"We estimate that there are at least 373,000 children who need psycho-social support at the moment ... either because they have experienced the death or injury of their parents or of family members, or because they have lost their homes — and of course the trauma of moving away from your home," said Joseph Aguettant, country representative for Palestine with the Swiss foundation Terre des hommes, which runs projects to fight child labor and provides support services to kids.
Children are showing symptoms of distress — clinging to their parents, suffering from sleeping and eating disorders, nightmares and nervousness, as well as feelings of guilt and anger — all compounded by the "realization that there is no guaranteed safe space in Gaza," according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Parents say the sound of explosions and shelling have left their children shaking in fear.
"My children would shiver and run towards me and their mom and cry most of the time when they heard a loud of explosion," said Motasem Ghattas, 33, from the heavily bombed Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza. "Our children were subjected to horrendous fear, the sound of bombs negatively affecting their nerves. It breaks my heart when they jump and scream."
The latest war in Gaza has had a bigger impact on kids than the 2012 and 2008-09 conflicts because of its duration and the number killed and displaced, said Majeda Al Saqqa from the Gaza-based Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA), which provides therapy and other pyscho-social support services to children.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights estimates 1,434 Palestinians — 288 of those children — were killed in the three-week 2008-2009 war. In the week-long 2012 offensive, 34 children were killed with an overall death toll of 160. Israeli death toll estimates are lower.
"Each war is ugly (but) this one is intense, this one is big for children – the number of children who have been killed, the number of children who are disabled now, the number of children who lost their family – it's huge," Al Saqqa said.
Many children have gone days without eating because of food shortages, and U.N. agencies are overwhelmed with those seeking shelter, Al Saqqa added.
Of the estimated 2,882 children Gaza health officials say have been injured, many have not been able to reach hospitals and those who have often do not get sufficient treatment due to lack of medical supplies and outdated equipment.
Dr. Mads Gilbert from Norway came to Gaza at the start of the Israeli offensive to volunteer to treat wounded children at Shifa Hospital. Many of the multi-trauma patients require advanced equipment and expertise not available in Gaza and need to be transferred abroad, he said.
Local and international organizations such as CFTA, Terre des Hommes and the Gaza-based Palestine Trauma Center are continuing to provide medical, psychological support and trauma counseling to Gaza's children — as they have done for a number of years there.
"We do on the ground psycho-social counseling for those most affected," Aguettant said. "But also activities with children such as creative and movement activities, games, sports. Simply, the possibility for children to express their feelings, to draw, to talk in circles."
But as parents dig through the rubble of their former lives and with no guarantee of a lasting peace in Gaza, many wonder what the future will hold for their kids.
"My 7-year-old daughter is experiencing her third war at her age," said Younis Sukker, a 28-year-old father of four from Gaza City's Toffah quarter. "What kind of future can she and the other children of Gaza have?"
Contributing: Luigi Serenelli and Collins in Berlin.