Once again, the children of Gaza are bearing the consequences of wars and recurring Israeli aggressions. After the ceasefire came into effect, the number of victims of the latest attack was revealed: out of 33 people who were killed, 7 were children, and dozens were injured, according to the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO). This comes at a time when the Ministry of Health announced that the death toll from the beginning of 2023, until Saturday morning, May 13, 2023, has risen to 150 martyrs in the West Bank and Gaza, including more than 24 children, per Defense for Children International in Palestine (DCIP).
As the children of Gaza got used to constant Israeli violations of international and humanitarian conventions, they got accustomed to writing their wills under aerial bombing. From the child Zeina Ahmed al-Dhabous, who wrote a touching letter to her mother during the 2021 assault on Gaza, expressing her fear and asking to be buried next to her wearing Eid outfit, to the child Haya who wrote a will, during the latest Israeli assault, in which she said:
“Hello, I am Haya. I will write my will now. My money (80 shekels): 45 shekels for Mama, 5 for Zeina, 5 for Hashem, 5 for grandma, 5 for Aunt Heba, 5 for Aunt Mariam, 5 for Uncle Abboud, and 5 for Aunt Sara. My toys and all my stuff go to my friends Zeina, Rima, Menna, Amal and my sister. My clothes go to my cousins and if there is anything left, donate it. Donate my shoes to the poor and needy… after washing them, of course. My accessories are for my cousins, Sarah, and my aunt’s daughter, Heba”.
Furthermore, ten-year old Layan Mdoukh left a farewell video the day before her killing, in which she prayed to God to protect her alongside her family and people. The list of such children goes on.
A few days ago, the 75th anniversary of the Nakba was observed while the children of Palestine languish either under siege, at the mercy of the occupation, in detention centers, or diaspora countries. Their names are too many to be counted. As for the occupation prisons, 160 boys and girls under the age of 18 are being held today, out of 4,900 detainees (including 31 female prisoners), and more than a thousand administrative detainees, including six children and two women, according to a joint report by the prisoners’ institutions (the Commission of Detainees’ Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoners Club, the Prisoners’ Association, ADDAMEER Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, and Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Jerusalem) was released last April on the “Palestinian Prisoners’ Day”.