Gaza conflict scars all children: UN

2012-11-22 21:15
Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian protester during clashes in the West Bank town of Nablus as Palestinians across the territories protest against Israel's military action on the Gaza Strip. (File, AFP)

Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian protester during clashes in the West Bank town of Nablus as Palestinians across the territories protest against Israel's military action on the Gaza Strip. (File, AFP)

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Geneva - The conflict between Israel and Hamas has left hundreds of thousands of children on both sides traumatised, a UN committee said on Thursday.

"Over the past week, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian and Israeli children have lived under the terror of explosions caused by rocket attacks or air strikes and shelling," the Geneva-based committee on children's rights said in a statement.

The impact on children, it said, "extends from a large number of deaths and injuries in Gaza to deep trauma and other psychological effects on children on both sides of the border.

"These experiences may affect them for many years to come, including into adulthood," it said.

At least 26 Palestinian children had been killed and more than 400 injured by the Israeli attacks on Gaza since 14 November, it said, citing figures from the Hamas-run health ministry.

Fourteen children in southern Israel had also been injured by Hamas launched rockets during the crisis, it said.

The committee condemned Israel for its air and naval strikes "on densely populated areas in Gaza with significant presence of children," insisting the attacks constituted "gross violations" of conventions on children's rights as well as international humanitarian law.

"Many... children in Gaza have lost parents or other loved ones, and are left deeply traumatised," the committee said, pointing out that many children had reportedly showed "clear signs of stress, including excessive crying, bed-wetting and screaming during the frequent explosions."

In southern Israel, meanwhile, children had "also lived in fear and were forced to go into bomb shelters or to seek shelter in other parts of the country," it said.

"All parties to the conflict should abide by their unconditional obligations to provide special protection for children," it added.

The eight days of air strikes 163 Palestinians and injured 1 235, according to the health ministry, while in Israel five people, including a soldier, were killed by rocket fire and another 280 injured, army figures showed.

Read more on:    un  |  hamas  |  gaza  |  israel  |  middle east peace
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