Tragic loss of life continues in Gaza, where nearly 600 Palestinian children have lost their lives due to the ongoing conflict involving Israeli forces.
October 13, 2023—The devastating toll of the Israeli military offensive on Gaza has claimed the lives of at least 583 Palestinian children, constituting one-third of the total casualties. The situation is rapidly worsening as Israeli authorities have cut off Palestinians in Gaza from essential supplies, including food, fuel, electricity, water, and medical aid.
Amidst this crisis, Brad Parker, a senior policy adviser at Defense for Children International – Palestine, voiced deep concern, stating, “Israeli military assaults have intensified to a point where it appears they are deliberately targeting large numbers of Palestinians in Gaza. Combined with Israeli policies of total closure, it suggests a systematic effort to obliterate Palestinian life in Gaza, raising fears of genocide against the Palestinian people.”
The situation escalated when the Israeli military issued an evacuation order, giving 1.1 million Palestinians in northern Gaza just 24 hours to move southward. This directive triggered panic as families attempted to flee amidst destroyed roads, ongoing Israeli airstrikes, and shelling. Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, urged the rescinding of the order to prevent a dire humanitarian catastrophe.
Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP, condemned the Israeli forces’ actions, stating, “Israeli forces have outlined their intentions to commit genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, compelling over a million people to relocate miles away within an impossibly short timeframe. The international community, particularly the U.S. and European Union, are effectively enabling the Israeli military, allowing a second Nakba and the eradication of the Palestinian people.”
The dire situation in Gaza was vividly described by Mohammad Abu Rukbeh, a senior Gaza field researcher at DCIP, who said, “My four children are surviving on one meal a day: sandwiches. Gaza has no water, electricity, internet, or fuel. We are searching for safety, carrying our paralyzed children on foot, as Israeli forces bombard us from all directions. There is no safe haven, and we are faced with relentless attacks.”
The Israeli military launched a large-scale offensive, Operation Iron Swords, on the Gaza Strip following rocket attacks by Palestinian armed groups and breaches of the Israeli perimeter fence surrounding Gaza. Since the start of the military operation, at least 1,799 Palestinians, including 583 children, have lost their lives in Gaza. Additionally, Israeli forces have killed eight Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank. Defense for Children International – Palestine continues to document further attacks and casualties.