Gaza violence hits War Child project participants

Recent protests in Gaza have been met with massive and disproportionate violence by Israeli security forces - again. The wounded include 41 children who take part in our projects. This violence undermines the impact of work like ours with children in the occupied Palestinian territories - with significant consequences

Dozens of Palestinian demonstrators have been killed - and more than 5,000 injured - during the recent ‘Right of Return’ demonstrations in Gaza. The demonstrations - which began on March 30 - reflect Palestinian refugees’ demand to return to their areas of origin inside Israel’s borders, ending the 11-year blockade on Gaza and its 1.8m residents.  

The protests have seen Israeli security forces routinely fire on demonstrators using live ammunition - with children regularly caught up in the violence. On one day alone - Monday May 14 - an estimated 58 Palestinian demonstrators were killed during exchanges with Israeli forces. The 24 hours marked Gaza’s bloodiest day since the Israeli military operations of 2014. 

More than 1,000 children have been injured since demonstrations began. The casualties include 41 children who currently take part in War Child projects. Of these, 39 were injured by tear gas, and two children were shot. 

Critical situation

Many believe Gaza is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster - 82 per cent of the population is currently reliant on humanitarian aid. Children face multiple significant threats to their wellbeing - including the daily threat of violence, poverty and food insecurity, and the psychological after-effects of traumatic experiences. 

UN refugee body UNWRA states that 300,000 children in Gaza are in need of psychosocial support. Many of these children have grown up entirely under blockade, and have already experienced three wars in their short lives. They only know the world as an unsafe place. 

War Child works with Palestinian partners inside Gaza to respond to these needs and strengthen the resilience of children taking part in our projects. Participating children learn how to deal with negative emotions arising from exposure to conflict and violence. Together, we work to help them develop a more positive view of the future and uphold their rights whenever they are threatened. 

The unacceptable escalation of violence against Gaza is yet another blow to the resilience and wellbeing of these children. Every day humanitarian support like ours becomes more vital - but only an end to the violence will bring lasting protection to Gaza’s children.