Relentless bombardment continues in the besieged Gaza strip, where two-thirds of the population are Palestinian refugees. With no place to escape, the indiscriminate bombing has seen the death toll climb hourly. This has included the elderly, children and the disabled.
Israeli warplanes have destroyed hospitals, schools, and more recently, the only COVID-19 medical facility in the coastal enclave. The Israeli attacks have resulted in over 1000 people being injured, including 366 children. The suffering of the wounded is made worst due to the limited access to medicine and medical support.
In the last week alone, bodies of more than 60 Palestinian children were pulled from the rubble of their destroyed homes and shelter. The Israeli killing rate amounts to six children killed every day. Eleven of these children were receiving trauma counselling from the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Tala Ayman Abu al-Auf, 13 and her 17-year-old brother were amongst those killed by multiple Israeli airstrikes on 16 May on Al Wahda Street in central Gaza city. Their father, Dr Ayman Abu al-Auf, was the head of internal medicine at Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital. He was also killed.
A rescue worker gave his account of trying to rescue people from under the debris of bombed homes on Al Wahda Street.
“We heard the screams of a young girl. We also heard the ringing of a mobile phone. We followed the sound and after hours of moving the rubble, we got to the girl, who is alive,” he said.
“The mother, along with her children – two boys and two girls – are dead. Were these children firing rockets? Isn’t it enough they were denied the joy of Eid? These are children!”, he added.
On Saturday afternoon, a missile from an Israeli weaponized aerial drone killed 17-year-old Mohammad Ahmad Alya Bhar. Mohammed was returning home after visiting a nearby shop when an Israeli aerial drone targeted him and a group of boys who had gathered near the market around 1:30 p.m. Mohammad was struck by shrapnel in his lower chest, and he died from his injuries while on route to receive emergency medical attention at Gaza City’s Shifa hospital.
Nothing can justify the level of violence against the civilian population, including the disabled.
International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. It requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects. Israel as the occupying power, is required to protect the Palestinian civilian population from violence. Instead, Israel is using its military might to repress the Palestinians and consolidate its illegal occupation.