The impact of the 50-day Israeli aggression on Gaza's children
Background: The UN has estimated that Israel’s attack on Gaza between 8 July and 26 August 2014 resulted in the deaths of 2204 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and thousands left with permanent disabilities.
Methods: We reviewed surveys and reports from governmental and international bodies (MOH and UN) and independent NGOs to compile statistics describing the extent to which children were victims of this attack. Additionally, we reviewed the findings of 24 researchers who interviewed 430 eye witnesses of 144 Israeli attacks on civilian gatherings (houses, hospitals, schools, mosques, shops and streets) in which at least 2 Palestinians were killed. Then, we separated attacks that resulted in death of children under 18 years. Each attack was categorized as being direct/indirect (Direct attack means that bombing was intentional with no fighting in vicinity), whether a child was killed or injured; and what the killed children were doing before attack.
Findings: Children killed were 530, accounting for 24% of the total people killed, they also accounted for an estimated 30% of wounded. Our review covered 338 (64%) of the total 530 children killed. 90% of the Israeli attacks were judged to be direct and 89% of these targeted densely-populated areas. 88% of dead children were killed in their homes. 21% of these were sitting with their families; 28% were asleep; 10 % were eating; 8.1% were watching TV or using computer. 12% of the killed children died while fleeing their houses; 6.3% killed while at basement or at UNRWA schools; and 6.3% died while playing. 9% killed while doing other activities. Furthermore, the UN reported that 373,000 children need specialized psychological support and around 1,000 children will suffer permanent disabilities.
Interpretation: Our findings confirm allegations that Israel targeted non-combatants in Gaza, and that children accounted for a substantial proportion of the civilian victims.
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