FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Palestinian Children are Children Too

by

Talking recently to a friend who lives in Tel Aviv she told me, “We are so shocked by the death of this little four-year-old boy….he was such a beautiful child. The whole country is in shock.”  She was referring to the death of Daniel Tragerman, who was killed in his home in Sha’ar Hanegev by a rocket presumably fired by Hamas sympathizers.

The whole of Israel is in shock for the death of this child, a fan of Leo Messi, the famous Argentine soccer player. And everywhere there is the image of this child dressed in an Argentinean soccer team jersey, the number 10 proudly displayed on his chest. Although this child’s death is truly to be lamented, there is hardly a word in the Israeli media lamenting the deaths of 478 Palestinian children. One of the few exceptions is the always courageous voice of Gideon Levy, the Haaretz columnist.

One of the most terrible consequences of the war in Gaza –and of all wars- is how it dehumanizes us to the point that we divide children into ‘friends’ and ‘enemies’ and only lament the death of our children ‘friends’.  We consider those that are not our ‘friends’ as inevitable casualties of war. And in the meantime the number of dead children continues to increase.begging slogans3

“After the first child, nobody batted an eye; after the 50th not even a slight tremor was felt in a plane’s wing; after the 100th, they stopped counting; after the 200th, they blamed Hamas. After the 300th child they blamed the parents. After the 400th child, they invented excuses; after (the first) 478 children nobody cares,” writes Levy in Haaretz in an article entitled “The Difference Between Children.”

Of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents more than half are children who, following the latest Israeli onslaught called “Protective Edge” will for years suffer the psychological consequences of war. “There isn’t a single family in Gaza who hasn’t experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home, extensive damage, displacement,” said Pernilla Ironside, the chief of UNICEF’s Gaza field office. While 373,000 Palestinian children are in need of immediate psychological first aid, UNICEF has only 50 psychologists and counselors on the ground in Gaza.

“The impact has truly been vast, both at a very physical level, in terms of casualties, injuries, the infrastructure has been damaged, but also importantly, emotionally and psychologically in terms of the destabilizing impact that not knowing, not truly feeling like there is anywhere safe place to go in Gaza,” said Ironside.

Gaza’s children educational possibilities have been seriously thwarted by the conflict. According to UNICEF estimates, at least 219 schools have been damaged by Israeli airstrikes, and 22 schools were completely destroyed. As the new academic year starts, nearly half a million children in Gaza will not be able to return to primary and secondary schools, according to Save the Children, UNICEF and UNESCO.

Gazan children are desperate for signs of normalcy in their lives. As Lodovico Folin Calabi, Acting Head of the UNESCO office in Ramallah stated, “Going back to school means bringing back normalcy to children. For this we need a durable ceasefire, and we must meet the most pressing needs for the rapid recovery of the education system.”

Levy has been one of the fiercest critics of Israeli actions in Gaza that have targeted children. His words couldn’t be more eloquent: “An iron wall of denial and inhumanness protects the Israelis from the shameful work of their hands in Gaza. And indeed, these numbers are hard to digest. Of the hundreds of men killed one could say that they were “involved”; of the hundreds of women that they were “human shields.” As for a small number of children, one could claim that the most moral army in the world did not intend it. But what shall we say about almost 500 children killed? That the Israel Defense Forces did not intend it, 478 times? That Hamas hid behind all of them? That this legitimized killing them?”

The death of four-year-old Daniel Tragerman was a tragedy. And so is the death of 478 Palestinian children. To ignore this fact is to be complicit with their murder.

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award.

 

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

January 22, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
It’s Time to Call Economic Sanctions What They Are: War Crimes
Jim Kavanagh
Behind the Money Curtain: A Left Take on Taxes, Spending and Modern Monetary Theory
Sheldon Richman
Trump Versus the World
Mark Schuller
One Year On, Reflecting and Refining Tactics to Take Our Country Back
Winslow Wheeler
Just What Earmark “Moratorium” are They Talking About?
W. T. Whitney
José Martí, Soul of the Cuban Revolution
Uri Avnery
May Your Home Be Destroyed          
Wim Laven
Year One Report Card: Donald Trump Failing
Jill Richardson
There Are No Shithole Countries
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
Are the Supremes About to Give Trump a Second Term?
Laura Finley
After #MeToo and #TimesUp
Howard Lisnoff
Impressions From the Women’s March
Andy Thayer
HuffPost: “We Really LOVED Your Contributions, Now FUCK OFF!”
Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail