Slaughter of the Gaza lamb: Israeli Pharaoh’s crimes against children

Palestinian children carry water containers in the Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip. 


Pic by Omar Al Qatta/AFP

On Tuesday, June 4, the day the world was supposed to mark the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, the silence of the pro-Israeli world powers was deafening. In Gaza, the day had little meaning as there was no let-up in the slaughter of Palestinian children.

The day is marked as a poignant reminder to all nations that they should not cause physical, mental, or emotional harm to children. The day calls on UN member states to recommit themselves to ending all forms of violence against children.

There was little or no attempt by most Israeli-friendly nations to make use of the day to issue a powerful statement calling the Zionist aggressor to stop its slaughter of the lambs in Gaza. They probably feared that if they did so, they would only expose Israel as the post-World War II world’s most gruesome child killer.

Incidentally, the day was established after Israel’s 1982 Lebanon War, during which thousands of children were killed or wounded. Israel’s violation of international humanitarian laws was a major international concern then. Its conduct in Gaza is no different now. If there is a difference, it comes from the fact that Israel has violated with impunity every norm, rule, or provision in the vast international humanitarian corpus.

Hospitals are bombed, and patients are executed. Israeli terrorists are encouraged at the border to block food aid to Gaza. The remaining few hospitals do not have medicine to treat the wounded or fuel to operate life-saving machines. Without adequate fuel, water desalination plants do not fully function. A family is forced to survive on just four litres of water a day, hardly enough to serve their drinking, cooking, and cleaning purposes. Bathing is a luxury. Children die of malnutrition and dehydration if they are not killed by an Israeli bomb. 

So far more than 15,000 Gaza children have been killed in this carnage.

With pro-Israeli Western leaders failing to live by the values they brag about, Israel is encouraged to conduct its war in Gaza with total disregard for international humanitarian laws. To please its Western audience, Israel blames Hamas for the deaths of children, claiming that the group uses civilians, including children, as human shields. This is an utter lie. Even the BBC, which has drawn criticism for its pro-Israeli bias, has begun to dismiss Israel’s assertion that it commits no crimes against civilians.

Statements, observance of international days, and UN reports do not save children in armed conflicts or from aggression. Urgently required is concerted and meaningful global action against the aggressor. 

At one point during Israel’s current inhumane war on Gaza, a Palestinian child was killed every ten minutes. In the past seven days alone, more than a hundred children lost their lives, suffered severe injuries, or became orphans.

The visuals from Gaza are depressing, to say the least. Especially clips that show the suffering of children. Biologists say human beings are programmed to care for and protect children to ensure the survival of the species.

Children are designed by nature to be physically and emotionally appealing. Their innocence and purity evoke a sense of joy and hope in us. The love that blossoms in a romantic relationship may be fleeting, but a parent’s unconditional love for a child is ironclad. Grandparents’ love for their grandchildren and elder siblings’ love for their baby brother or sister are so deep that words fail to fully describe them. Simply talking to a child playfully evokes positive vibes. Playing with them is so joyful and fun that it is a sure way to deal with stress. They are our roses, sunshine, angels, darlings, gems, and whatnot.

To fall in love with a child, one does not need to be a blood relative. The love for any child is embedded in us. It is human nature. Those who do not conform to this natural instinct are psychopaths. Both the Jewish holy book Torah and the Muslim holy book Quran speak of how the Pharaoh’s household fell in love with baby Moses, an enemy child, and brought him up with tender, love, and care in the palace. The present-day Israeli child killers are worse than the Pharaoh.

The suffering the children of Gaza undergo is beyond description. What the Western media shows is only a fraction of the blood-spattered picture. They edit the visuals not so much in keeping with journalistic ethics but more so in their effort to minimise the damage to Israel’s image. 

The other day, a video grab showed a newly orphaned little boy, with apparently no relative to look after him, dragging a can of water through a rubble-filled pathway in famine-hit Gaza. More and more orphaned children pray that they will also be martyred so that they can unite with their parents, sisters, and brothers in paradise.

On Wednesday, Al Jazeera featured the surviving members of the Israeli attack that decapitated 18-month-old baby Ahmed Al-Najar. The video clip of a rescue worker carrying the headless body of Ahmed went viral. Directly complicit in the killing was also the United States, for it was a US-supplied bomb that killed Ahmed, his mother, and his sister Huda, the family’s sweetie-pie. With tears flowing, Ahmed’s ten-year-old brother told Al-Jazeera he wished for death to be united in paradise with his mother, sister, and little brother Ahmed. His statement is testimony that children suffered the worst in this genocidal war. 

Instead of wishing and praying for death, these children should be learning letters and numbers in school. But there is hardly a school left undestroyed by Israel in Gaza. Even yesterday, a school was bombed in Israel’s lawless war.

“If I must die, you must live to tell my story,” Palestinian poet Refaat Alareer wrote before he was killed. This is what every parent in Gaza tells their little children, even though some of them are not mature enough to understand what their parents’ last wishes mean. Children also tell their parents not to cry if they are martyred. Every child in Gaza carries with him or her a sad story touching enough to bring the genocidal war to an immediate end if only Israel, the United States, and Israel’s Western friends could empathise with innocent Palestinian children.

The psychological trauma the Gaza children undergo is beyond comprehension, and the issue has not received the international attention it urgently deserves. On June 4, the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, the UN Secretary-General should have invoked Article 99 to discuss the plight of the Palestinian children. A member state concerned about the lack of global action to protect these children should have introduced a Security Council resolution. Nothing of the sort happened. The global community has not done enough to protect Palestinian children. A notable exception is South Africa.

Israel not caring about the plight of the Palestinian children is understood because, for Israeli leaders, Palestinians are despicable animals. But Arab nations’ inaction is unforgivable, cowardly, and a treacherous act. Palestinian children in their books write that, on the Day of Judgement, they will tell God that the Arab leaders did nothing to protect them.


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