The Struggle of Parenthood in Gaza: Over 3,600 Young Lives Lost in Less than a Month of Conflict

by Lucas Garcia
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Gaza children casualties

In a span of just 25 days during the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, over 3,600 Palestinian children have lost their lives, as reported by the Health Ministry in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas. These young lives were taken by airstrikes, errant rocket fire, incendiary blasts, and collapsing buildings. Among the deceased were newborns, toddlers, enthusiastic young readers, aspiring young journalists, and boys who had sought sanctuary in churches.

The Gaza Strip, with a population of 2.3 million, has nearly half of its residents under the age of 18. A recent analysis by Big Big News, examining data released last week from the Gaza Health Ministry, reveals that children constitute 40% of the total casualties. Specifically, as of October 26, 2,001 children aged 12 and under were killed, 615 of whom were three years old or younger.

Adam al-Madhoun, a writer, spoke about the devastating impact on children while at the Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah. He was there comforting his four-year-old daughter Kenzi, who survived an airstrike that amputated her right arm, shattered her left leg, and fractured her skull. “When buildings fall, they collapse on children,” he lamented.

Israel contends that its airstrikes are aimed at Hamas military facilities and infrastructure, accusing Hamas of utilizing civilians as human shields. Israel also notes that over 500 rockets fired by militants have malfunctioned, landing within Gaza and causing an undetermined number of Palestinian casualties.

According to global charity Save the Children, the death toll of children in Gaza in just over three weeks surpasses the number of children killed in all global conflicts combined for each of the last three years. For context, the organization states that last year saw 2,985 children killed across two dozen war zones.

James Elder, a spokesperson for UNICEF, remarked, “Gaza has essentially become a massive burial ground for children.”

Graphic images and videos depicting the horrifying reality for children in Gaza have triggered global protests. Such scenes include a first responder holding a lifeless toddler in a blood-soaked ballet dress, a father holding his deceased child in a state of despair, and a young boy, bloodied and bewildered, wandering alone amid destruction.

Ahmed Modawikh, a 40-year-old carpenter from Gaza City, lost his 8-year-old daughter during five days of combat in May. “Being a parent in Gaza is a cruel fate,” he said.

Israeli children have also suffered. In an attack by Hamas on October 7 that initiated the current conflict, more than 1,400 individuals were killed, including an unspecified number of children. Additionally, roughly 30 children were among about 240 hostages taken by Hamas.

While Israel has advised residents to move from northern to southern Gaza, airstrikes have shown that no location in the territory is truly safe. Yasmine Jouda, who lost 68 family members in an October 22 airstrike in Deir al-Balah, poignantly said, “People are fleeing from death only to encounter death.”

Israel attributes the high death toll in Gaza—now exceeding 8,800 as per the Health Ministry—to Hamas’ tactics of operating within densely populated areas. Palestinians argue that the high casualty figures indicate indiscriminate and disproportionate strikes by Israel.

The conflict has also resulted in injuries to over 7,000 Palestinian children, many of whom will face life-altering conditions.

Even the youth not physically harmed bear psychological scars from the relentless conflict. Fifteen-year-olds in Gaza have lived through five Israel-Hamas wars since 2007, enduring an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has led to a 70% youth unemployment rate. “These children have no future prospects for career development, improved living standards, or access to quality healthcare and education,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director for Defense for Children International in the Palestinian territories.

In this war, as Eqtaish added, “The issue is one of life and death.”

And in Gaza, death is omnipresent.

Remembering the Young Lives Lost

Here are some of the young Palestinians who have been killed in the ongoing conflict:

Aseel Hassan, 13

Aseel was an outstanding student with a love for classical Arabic poetry. During the bombardment, she found solace in reciting verses from renowned 10th-century Iraqi poet Abu Al Tayyib al-Mutanabbi. She was killed when an airstrike leveled her family’s three-story home.

Majd Souri, 7

Majd was terrified by the explosions and longed to play soccer with his friends. The war disrupted his family’s planned trip to Nazareth. He found temporary peace in St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church but was killed when shrapnel struck the church.

Kenan and Neman Al-Sharif, 18 months

Karam al-Sharif lost his twin sons, Kenan and Neman, along with his daughters, 5-year-old Joud and 10-year-old Tasnim. They had sought refuge in a six-story building in the Nuseirat refugee camp.

Mahmoud Dahdouh, 16

Mahmoud aspired to be a journalist and was a senior at the American International High School in Gaza City. His father, Wael Dahdouh, discovered the death of his 16-year-old son, wife, 6-year-old daughter, and infant grandson through a live report.

The article includes contributions from DeBre, reporting from Jerusalem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Palestinian Children in Gaza War

What is the main focus of the article?

The main focus of the article is the devastating impact of the recent war between Israel and Hamas on Palestinian children in Gaza. It details the human cost, citing that more than 3,600 children have been killed in just 25 days of conflict.

How many Palestinian children have been killed in the first 25 days of the war according to the article?

According to the article, more than 3,600 Palestinian children were killed in the first 25 days of the war.

What does the article say about the type of injuries children are suffering?

The article describes various types of injuries suffered by children, including loss of limbs, fractures, and life-changing problems. The article also recounts the story of a girl named Kenzi who survived an airstrike but lost her right arm, had her left leg crushed, and her skull fractured.

What does Israel say about its airstrikes?

Israel maintains that its airstrikes target Hamas militant sites and infrastructure. Israel accuses Hamas of using civilians, including children, as human shields.

What is the stance of international organizations like UNICEF and Save the Children on the issue?

Organizations like UNICEF and Save the Children express grave concern over the high number of child casualties. Save the Children highlights that more children have been killed in just over three weeks in Gaza than in all of the world’s conflicts combined in each of the past three years.

What is the situation for children who survive physically unscathed?

Even those children who survive physically unscathed may face emotional and psychological scarring due to the horrors of war. For many 15-year-olds in Gaza, this is their fifth Israel-Hamas war, living their entire lives under a punishing blockade.

How many Israeli children have been killed in the conflict, according to the article?

The article states that Israeli children have also been killed in the conflict, particularly during Hamas’ rampage across southern Israel that sparked the war. However, the article does not provide exact figures for Israeli child casualties.

Are there specific cases of children highlighted in the article?

Yes, the article provides in-depth stories of several Palestinian children who have been killed or severely injured, including their backgrounds, aspirations, and the circumstances of their injuries or deaths.

What is the overall tone of the article?

The overall tone of the article is somber and focuses on presenting the grim realities faced by children in the Gaza conflict, backed by firsthand accounts and statistical data.

What do Palestinians say about the casualty count?

Palestinians point to the soaring casualty count as evidence that Israeli airstrikes are indiscriminate and disproportionate, resulting in a high number of civilian, particularly child, casualties.

More about Palestinian Children in Gaza War

  • Gaza Health Ministry Statistics
  • UNICEF Report on Child Casualties in Gaza
  • Save the Children’s Global Conflict Report
  • World Bank Data on Youth Unemployment in Gaza
  • Defense for Children International in Palestinian Territories
  • Israel Defense Forces Official Statements
  • Al Jazeera’s Coverage of the Conflict
  • Global Charity Save the Children’s Statement on Gaza
  • Big Big News Analysis of Gaza Health Ministry Data

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