Dead children in the Israeli war on Gaza is world's 'moral failing': Red Cross

AFP , Tuesday 7 Nov 2023

A month after the Israeli war on Gaza erupted, the Red Cross demanded Tuesday an end to the horrific suffering of civilians, and especially children, decrying a "moral failing".

Talaat Barhom carries the body of his 8-month-old child Ahmed before the burial of his wife and four
Talaat Barhom carries the body of his 8-month-old child Ahmed before the burial of his wife and four of his children killed in Israeli bombardment, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on November 6, 2023. AFP


"One month on, civilians in Gaza are being forced to endure tremendous suffering and loss. This needs to stop," the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement.

The Israeli military has relentlessly bombarded Gaza and is scaling up ground operations since Al-Aqsa Flood operation on October 7, killing at least 10,328 Palestinians, including 4,237 children, more than 2600 woman, 600 ederly and wounded around 25,965, according to the Palestanian health ministry.

The ministry added that over 2,000 civilians remain unaccounted for and are believed to be dead under the rubble that has become the main feature of Gaza’s horizon.

"Massive bombardments are gutting civilian infrastructure across Gaza, sowing seeds of hardship for generations to come," the ICRC statement said.

The organisation's president Mirjana Spoljaric said she had been particularly shocked to see the suffering that children have had to endure.

"Children have been ripped from their families and held hostage. In Gaza, ICRC surgeons treat toddlers whose skin is charred from widespread burns," she said in the statement.

"The images of suffering, dead and wounded children will haunt us all. This is a moral failing," she added.

Spoljaric also called for the immediate release of captives seized by Hamas.

"They play no part in this war and we reiterate our offer as neutral actor to facilitate any future release operation," she said.

"Until then we continue all our efforts to urge Hamas and all those with influence to allow ICRC personnel to visit the captives," she added.

The organisation insisted that all parties to the war "must uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law and spare all civilians from the conduct of military operations."

It pointed out that the military siege of Gaza had deprived people there of food, water and medicine, and warned that the "sparse aid" trickling in was not able to provide people with the essentials to survive.

"Safe and sustained humanitarian access across Gaza is urgently needed," it said, stressing that "critical services like health care, water, and electricity must be immediately restored in Gaza as a lifesaving priority."

It also decried attacks on healthcare, emphasising that "scenes of damaged hospitals and ambulances are unacceptable".

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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