Clashes exploded as tens of thousands of Gazans marched near the Israeli border in a major protest on Palestinian Land Day on March 30th, 2018 with at least 15 Palestinians killed and hundreds more wounded according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Among the different types of injuries there are at least 179 children and 37 women.
World Vision is deeply saddened by the escalating level of violence in Gaza, as seen in increased conflict recently between Israelis and Palestinians, these protests may last another six weeks intensifying the violence even more.
World Vision is particularly concerned for children and youth who can be harmed participating in protests or being near potential military actions.
Children everywhere deserve to experience life in all its fullness. Yet that is far from the reality for children in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories, especially Gaza – something we have seen again all too clearly this week. The violence by all sides must come to an end.
World Vision works in nearly 100 countries around the world, in all contexts. Our work in the Holy Land remains one of the most challenging places where we operate, and one of the most difficult for children. That’s why we have been there for more than 40 years providing health and education programmes for children. The unresolved political conflict means children on both sides live in fear, understand each other as enemies and cannot imagine life without the endless cycles of war and strife. This must end.
Leaders in Israel and Gaza must put the lives of their children first and put a stop to the use of violence to try to achieve their political ends. This conflict is one of the most enduring causes of poverty in the region. It has robbed generations of Palestinian and Israeli children of peace, security, and, most of all, hope that fullness of life is possible. This cannot continue.
The politics of the conflict have exacerbated poverty, which is rampant in the West Bank and especially Gaza. All children in the region live in fear of violence and are negatively affected by this enduring conflict. Leaders can alleviate that suffering by prioritising the interests of children.
For these children, we urge leaders to ensure peace, justice, reconciliation and humanitarian access.
Loss of trust in adults, fear of the events recurring, disruptive behaviour, depression, outbursts of anger and fighting, emotional numbing, anti-social behaviour, and self-destructive thoughts, to name just a few, are the most typical reactions to trauma experienced by children. Not providing, or starting then stopping, treatment for this kind of trauma only worsens the experiences of children.
Our hearts are broken by the children we are unable to continue serving in Gaza that suffer from these clashes.
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.