The Killing of Children in Gaza

Sir John Holmes, the UN humanitarian chief, said he was said he was shocked by “the systematic nature of the destruction” in Gaza.

Equally troubling are the reports about shooting and killing of children by Israel during the conflict. The BBC reports:

One of the most alarming features of the conflict in Gaza is the number of child casualties. More than 400 were killed. Many had shrapnel or blast injuries sustained as the Israeli army battled Hamas militants in Gaza’s densely populated civilian areas. But the head of neurosurgery at the El-Arish hospital, Dr Ahmed Yahia, told me that brain scans made it clear that a number of the child victims had been shot at close range. Samar’s uncle said the soldier who had shot his niece was just 15m (49ft) away. ”How could they not see they were shooting at children?”

There are othere reports that suggest that some parents were lined up and shot in front of their children. The Telegraph writes

One nine-year-old boy said his father had been shot dead in front of him despite surrendering to Israeli soldiers with his hands in the air.

Another youngster described witnessing the deaths of his mother, three brothers and uncle after the house they were in was shelled.

He said his mother and one of his siblings had been killed instantly, while the others bled to death over a period of days.

A psychiatrist treating children in the village of Zeitoun on the outskirts of Gaza City, where the alleged incidents took place, described the deaths as a “massacre”.

In a powerful video, the Guardian documents some of the horror experienced by children in Gaza. Clip here to watch the video.

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25 thoughts on “The Killing of Children in Gaza

  1. I have always found Amnesty International (and I still think it is, mainly) an independent organization devoted to publish proven facts and thoroughly researched situations. Above all I knew its officials spoke out for all the victims regardless of political or ideological justifications. And that's the strength of A.I., as opposed for example to certain pitfalls of the UN. And then I read the e-miled letter about the war in Gaza signed by a Zahir Janmohamed (Advocacy Director Middle East and North Africa). And I'm afraid my first thought was: how independent is his intervention? How can a person with that name can be not biased against Israel? I believe personal involvement does not do A.I. much good. You lost me on this one.

  2. At some point in our human evolution we must stop making judgements about how fair someone is because of his/her name. There are those in the U.S. who tried to make something of the fact that Barack Obama's name is a Muslim name. Do we believe that we can know a person's heart just because of his/her name? We are all in the boat together now. We have to stop thinking in terms of enemies all the time. How else can we ever find peace. There are many Israeli's who feel that the Israeli army has done wrong. They have Hebrew names, and yet some would call them "anti-Israel". Of course, they only want peace and want an end to the killing on BOTH sides. Israel is not always right. Palestinians are not always wrong. Killing people is just wrong, and should be stopped. There must be some way to end the constant bickering and name calling. Otherwise, the whole world will be ended by all the mistrust and hatred. I hope that I can be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

  3. Does the U. N. maintain any kind of radio communication with the soldiers in the area they are trying to bring medical help to? Is it possible to signal-or- would it have been possible to signal to the Israelis that there was a U.N. crew going out to help the wounded people? Is it possible that the Israeli's would have acted differently if they had known?

  4. I've read that the Red Crescent ambulance service(affiliated with International Red Cross) gave their coordinates to the Israeli military, supposedly for protection. This was reported on various websites such as: Information Clearing House, URUK.com, and Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

    The Israeli military also had the coordinates of the UN facilities.
    In view of the use of precision weapons these attacks appear to be deliberate.
    Israelis deserve to live in peace. Palestinians live under occupation and they deserve to have the occupation ended, their civil and human rights restored and they should also have justice for the more than sixty years of oppression and abuse.

    Children have the right to live in peace w/o seeing their parents, siblings and friends and relatives maimed, imprisoned or murdered. They also have the right to grow up with all their God given limbs, their eyes and their hearing which has been impaired by repeated, deliberate sonic booms. They also have a right to medical care, unrestricted travel, education and enough food to eat..

    I've recently read that because of the 18 month blockade many Palestinian children are malnourished and suffer from stunted growth. To target children is inhumane; the supreme act of aggression.

  5. I have always found Amnesty International (and I still think it is, mainly) an independent organization devoted to publish proven facts and thoroughly researched situations. Above all I knew its officials spoke out for all the victims regardless of political or ideological justifications. And that’s the strength of A.I., as opposed for example to certain pitfalls of the UN. And then I read the e-miled letter about the war in Gaza signed by a Zahir Janmohamed (Advocacy Director Middle East and North Africa). And I’m afraid my first thought was: how independent is his intervention? How can a person with that name can be not biased against Israel? I believe personal involvement does not do A.I. much good. You lost me on this one.

  6. At some point in our human evolution we must stop making judgements about how fair someone is because of his/her name. There are those in the U.S. who tried to make something of the fact that Barack Obama’s name is a Muslim name. Do we believe that we can know a person’s heart just because of his/her name? We are all in the boat together now. We have to stop thinking in terms of enemies all the time. How else can we ever find peace. There are many Israeli’s who feel that the Israeli army has done wrong. They have Hebrew names, and yet some would call them “anti-Israel”. Of course, they only want peace and want an end to the killing on BOTH sides. Israel is not always right. Palestinians are not always wrong. Killing people is just wrong, and should be stopped. There must be some way to end the constant bickering and name calling. Otherwise, the whole world will be ended by all the mistrust and hatred. I hope that I can be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

  7. Does the U. N. maintain any kind of radio communication with the soldiers in the area they are trying to bring medical help to? Is it possible to signal-or- would it have been possible to signal to the Israelis that there was a U.N. crew going out to help the wounded people? Is it possible that the Israeli’s would have acted differently if they had known?

  8. I’ve read that the Red Crescent ambulance service(affiliated with International Red Cross) gave their coordinates to the Israeli military, supposedly for protection. This was reported on various websites such as: Information Clearing House, URUK.com, and Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

    The Israeli military also had the coordinates of the UN facilities.
    In view of the use of precision weapons these attacks appear to be deliberate.
    Israelis deserve to live in peace. Palestinians live under occupation and they deserve to have the occupation ended, their civil and human rights restored and they should also have justice for the more than sixty years of oppression and abuse.

    Children have the right to live in peace w/o seeing their parents, siblings and friends and relatives maimed, imprisoned or murdered. They also have the right to grow up with all their God given limbs, their eyes and their hearing which has been impaired by repeated, deliberate sonic booms. They also have a right to medical care, unrestricted travel, education and enough food to eat..

    I’ve recently read that because of the 18 month blockade many Palestinian children are malnourished and suffer from stunted growth. To target children is inhumane; the supreme act of aggression.

  9. Thank you all for reading and for your comments. And thank you esp Ana for making a good point–we need to look beyond a person's name and look at the substance of what he/she is saying. Just as I would not want someone to prejudge my view based on my name, I also think its unfair to assume that someone with a name like, say, Isenberg, would be pro-Israel. If we are to solve the Israel Palestine conflict that we need to interact based on the ideas, values, and experiences that we bring to the table.

    In all my blog postings, I have relied almost entirely on reputable news sources of Amnesty documents. Amnesty's policies are based on using the same international human rights law and applying it to all parties to the conflict. In this post above, I was trying to highlight how children–particularly Palestinian children–have suffered tremendously. While there are debates about whether the adults in Gaza are "combatants," there can be no debate about the children who had no reason to die. As for the subject of Hamas using children as shieds, indeed it may be the case in some incidents but when we have white phosphorus being dropped on UN schools, then this forces us to ask other questions about what Israel's motives were and are.

  10. Thank you all for reading and for your comments. And thank you esp Ana for making a good point–we need to look beyond a person’s name and look at the substance of what he/she is saying. Just as I would not want someone to prejudge my view based on my name, I also think its unfair to assume that someone with a name like, say, Isenberg, would be pro-Israel. If we are to solve the Israel Palestine conflict that we need to interact based on the ideas, values, and experiences that we bring to the table.

    In all my blog postings, I have relied almost entirely on reputable news sources of Amnesty documents. Amnesty’s policies are based on using the same international human rights law and applying it to all parties to the conflict. In this post above, I was trying to highlight how children–particularly Palestinian children–have suffered tremendously. While there are debates about whether the adults in Gaza are “combatants,” there can be no debate about the children who had no reason to die. As for the subject of Hamas using children as shieds, indeed it may be the case in some incidents but when we have white phosphorus being dropped on UN schools, then this forces us to ask other questions about what Israel’s motives were and are.

  11. Of course nothing of what all of you have said is wrong… and yet. What is Amnesty I.'s role? That of the peacemaker, of the negotiator. Its strength lies in the non-judgemental and pragmatic attitude when asking a government to respect international conventions on human rights. Many lives have been saved by A.I. thanks to letters written in the most respectful terms to Chinese officials, or Indian, Nigerian, American etc. etc. Regardless of how much we might personally despise some of the most brutal dictatorships of the world A.I. knows better than to start a nasty confrontation with them, if it is to save lives. And we also know that the negotiator has a difficult and delicate job, as he must show to both parties a non-common degree of neutrality. I hope I'm not so bigoted and narrow-minded as to question the inherent honesty of Mr (Ms?) Zahir because of the name; but from a practical point, keeping in mind the goal which is sorting a mess and saving lives, how far would you say an appeal to the Iranian government signed by a Mr Isenberg would go? Or a criticism to the Pakistany government moved by India? Or a request to Hamas for more democracy in Gaza signed by our Mr Isenberg? What I'm saying is: we are all entitled to take sides, but not if our mission is to be the negotiator that brings home the hostages alive. In this case A.I. should do what it does best: address all the parties involved, and "most respectfully" press them to do the right thing. No recriminations and no politics. As for the name we must be realistic: Hamas might just listen to Mr Zahir, but not Israel. And the children of Gaza will have got nowhere.

  12. Of course nothing of what all of you have said is wrong… and yet. What is Amnesty I.’s role? That of the peacemaker, of the negotiator. Its strength lies in the non-judgemental and pragmatic attitude when asking a government to respect international conventions on human rights. Many lives have been saved by A.I. thanks to letters written in the most respectful terms to Chinese officials, or Indian, Nigerian, American etc. etc. Regardless of how much we might personally despise some of the most brutal dictatorships of the world A.I. knows better than to start a nasty confrontation with them, if it is to save lives. And we also know that the negotiator has a difficult and delicate job, as he must show to both parties a non-common degree of neutrality. I hope I’m not so bigoted and narrow-minded as to question the inherent honesty of Mr (Ms?) Zahir because of the name; but from a practical point, keeping in mind the goal which is sorting a mess and saving lives, how far would you say an appeal to the Iranian government signed by a Mr Isenberg would go? Or a criticism to the Pakistany government moved by India? Or a request to Hamas for more democracy in Gaza signed by our Mr Isenberg? What I’m saying is: we are all entitled to take sides, but not if our mission is to be the negotiator that brings home the hostages alive. In this case A.I. should do what it does best: address all the parties involved, and “most respectfully” press them to do the right thing. No recriminations and no politics. As for the name we must be realistic: Hamas might just listen to Mr Zahir, but not Israel. And the children of Gaza will have got nowhere.

  13. If we would have a peaceful world, we must all see the flaw in "taking sides". We are all humans and we all have prejudices to overcome. TO OVERCOME. If we insist that we have a "right" to take sides, is that the right worth dying for?

    I say that there are many more important rights. I say that taking sides is the whole problem. Peace means NOT taking sides.

    Fairness requires us to accept that we are not always seeing things as they are. We are only humans. With this kind of humility and with a sincere attempt to see all other humans as ourselves, (not as hamas or Israel)we might have a chance.

    The Sanskrit word, Namaste must have meaning for us. It translates as:
    "I recognize my self in you". Until we can have this feeling in our hearts, we will continue to make each other suffer.

    And is that what we want? Of course not! We all want to bring peace and joy and love to each other. We must practice this in our individual lives, so that we can manifest this in the world.

    It is only FEAR that stops us. Fear is our great stumbling block. If humanity can find a way out of fear and mistrust, we may have a chance. I wonder how much suffering it will take before we learn how to love one another?

  14. Soldiers are trained to fight and kill an enemy. The more soldiers we train, the farther we will be from world peace. What do these young men do with their lives when there is no war? They are trained in fighting and hardened, purposely for this purpose. The more we send people to war, the more sorrow we bring to the world. And the whole reason for the military is fear and mistrust of others. Others who are afraid of us and mistrust us. We are so much alike! Why are we not able to recognize ourselves in others? Namaste, Ana

  15. If we would have a peaceful world, we must all see the flaw in “taking sides”. We are all humans and we all have prejudices to overcome. TO OVERCOME. If we insist that we have a “right” to take sides, is that the right worth dying for?

    I say that there are many more important rights. I say that taking sides is the whole problem. Peace means NOT taking sides.

    Fairness requires us to accept that we are not always seeing things as they are. We are only humans. With this kind of humility and with a sincere attempt to see all other humans as ourselves, (not as hamas or Israel)we might have a chance.

    The Sanskrit word, Namaste must have meaning for us. It translates as:
    “I recognize my self in you”. Until we can have this feeling in our hearts, we will continue to make each other suffer.

    And is that what we want? Of course not! We all want to bring peace and joy and love to each other. We must practice this in our individual lives, so that we can manifest this in the world.

    It is only FEAR that stops us. Fear is our great stumbling block. If humanity can find a way out of fear and mistrust, we may have a chance. I wonder how much suffering it will take before we learn how to love one another?

  16. Soldiers are trained to fight and kill an enemy. The more soldiers we train, the farther we will be from world peace. What do these young men do with their lives when there is no war? They are trained in fighting and hardened, purposely for this purpose. The more we send people to war, the more sorrow we bring to the world. And the whole reason for the military is fear and mistrust of others. Others who are afraid of us and mistrust us. We are so much alike! Why are we not able to recognize ourselves in others? Namaste, Ana

  17. I feel dreadful that children have to be subjected to such atrocities. Why aren't there bomb shelters built in Gaza to protect them and why weren't evacuations made to move the children away from the fighting? I don't understand why the priority of Hamas isn't to protect the innocent but instead they use them as shields and warriors. Why isn't Amnesty demanding the Palestinian's protect their own children?

  18. yes there are incidents in which Hamas (like Israel) uses civilians as human shields. But the issue here is the indiscriminate, disproportionate use of force by Israel. This includes bombing shelters, schools, universities, mosques, etc. Hamas can be blamed for many things but they cannot be blamed when Israel hits a school where many children are present. In a UN investigation into the attack on the school, it was reported that no Hamas fighters were present.

    Flavia, I am still not buying your argument. Yes I understand what you are trying to convey but we need to move beyond that sort of logic. To assume that Hamas will listen to me just because of my name is to misunderstand Hamas. Likewise I can't imagine that Israel would be more receptive to someone name Curt or Bob than me. The real issue here is about power dynamics and about the impunity that Israel is granted by US officials.

    And we all–despite our background–shd be calling on our elected officials to take a more nuanced position. And there is a role in that for people named Mohamed or Isenberg. We need to get to a point where Hamas respects someone named Isenberg and where Israel respects someone named Mohamed. We are not going to get there by pandering to perceived notions of prejudice.

  19. I feel dreadful that children have to be subjected to such atrocities. Why aren’t there bomb shelters built in Gaza to protect them and why weren’t evacuations made to move the children away from the fighting? I don’t understand why the priority of Hamas isn’t to protect the innocent but instead they use them as shields and warriors. Why isn’t Amnesty demanding the Palestinian’s protect their own children?

  20. yes there are incidents in which Hamas (like Israel) uses civilians as human shields. But the issue here is the indiscriminate, disproportionate use of force by Israel. This includes bombing shelters, schools, universities, mosques, etc. Hamas can be blamed for many things but they cannot be blamed when Israel hits a school where many children are present. In a UN investigation into the attack on the school, it was reported that no Hamas fighters were present.

    Flavia, I am still not buying your argument. Yes I understand what you are trying to convey but we need to move beyond that sort of logic. To assume that Hamas will listen to me just because of my name is to misunderstand Hamas. Likewise I can’t imagine that Israel would be more receptive to someone name Curt or Bob than me. The real issue here is about power dynamics and about the impunity that Israel is granted by US officials.

    And we all–despite our background–shd be calling on our elected officials to take a more nuanced position. And there is a role in that for people named Mohamed or Isenberg. We need to get to a point where Hamas respects someone named Isenberg and where Israel respects someone named Mohamed. We are not going to get there by pandering to perceived notions of prejudice.

  21. Pingback: Peter Tatchell: The left and the anti-war movement have double standards when it comes to Hamas | Special News Updates