July 15, 2014. JERUSALEM – Reports of children involved in World Vision programmes being killed as violence continues are horrifying, says World Vision.
We urge both parties to commit to a cease-fire to protect all children caught in the conflict and to engage in meaningful dialogue to ensure these cycles of senseless violence do not continue.
Barrages of rockets fired from the Gaza strip while not directly resulting in any fatalities, have terrified Israeli civilians across Israel. The intense air strikes from the Israeli Air force deliberately targeting civilian homes in Gaza have killed 36 children to date and injured hundreds of innocent civilians.
According to OCHA 77 per cent of all casualties in Gaza have been civilians. These civilians, because of the blockade of Gaza, cannot escape the carnage. They have nowhere to go.
“Typical of the innocent blood spilt is Saher, a 5-year-old boy who took part in World Vision’s "Children Participation and Learning Project” in Gaza who was tragically killed by an Israeli air missile while playing inside his home,” said Alex Snary, National Director of World Vision’s work in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza. “The video and pictures of Saher lying, cradled in the arms of his anguished father are too graphic and beyond shocking,” he continues.
“Saher also participated in a children’s event by the beach in Gaza a few weeks ago. He and the other children flew kites carrying messages of peace and hope for the future.
“Saher was smiling and enjoying flying his kite in the sky of Gaza, dreaming of a better future. We gave him some joy and laughs, but unfortunately we could not protect him from this tragic end,” added Snary.
The most anguishing part is the likelihood that an eventual cease-fire will lead to a return to the status quo. There is no sign at the moment that this latest cycle of violence will contribute anything towards ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and therefore will not bring security for Israel.
“Even for the young generation who has a desire for peace, there is no hope to flourish in this environment of extreme violence and trauma,” said Snary.
OCHA reports that at least 25,000 traumatized children in Gaza are in need of psychosocial support. World Vision is preparing to implement an emergency response, which includes creating Child Friendly Spaces and providing the much needed psychosocial counselling for children as soon as the security situation allows.
World Vision calls on both parties to fulfil their responsibility of protecting children and civilians.
For media inquiries, please contact Rana Qumsiyeh at World Vision
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Skype: Rana.Qumsiyeh, Phone: +972547749518
Notes to editors
- World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
- World Vision believes the ongoing occupation and conflict has robbed generations of Palestinian and Israeli children of peace, justice, and hope for a future where fullness of life is possible. World Vision believes the Government of Israel, and the Palestinian Unity Government must ensure the legitimate security concerns of both Israelis and Palestinians.