"We were horrified at reports this morning that an eight-month old baby girl died from inhaling tear gas at the protests on Monday, with our staff on the ground telling us that the family was almost a kilometre from the security fence when this happened,” Save the Children’s Occupied Palestinian Territory Country Director Jennifer Moorehead said.
“At least 13 other children have now died since the protests began on March 30 and today in Gaza a mother buried her baby. Monday was one of the deadliest days we have seen since the 2014 war, with six children killed and more than 220 children hurt, including more than 150 who were shot by live ammunition, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.
“The killing of children cannot be justified. We urgently call on all parties to take active steps to ensure children are not hurt and to protect children in accordance with the Geneva conventions, relevant international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
“We also call on all parties to show restraint and urge all protests to remain peaceful, while calling on all sides to tackle the long-term causes of this conflict and promote dignity and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.
“Even before the protests, Gaza’s hospitals were at breaking point and bed occupancy was 90 percent. The influx of new injuries means people are being treated in corridors and sent home before they have properly healed. To make matters worse, according to the WHO, very few of those injured are being allowed to leave Gaza to seek medical care, which only increases the chances of complications and stops children getting the care they need.
“Families, who are now left looking after injured loved ones, are telling us that they are struggling to cope. They often cannot afford the medicines or medical bills for follow up care and extremely anxious about their children’s futures - which they say were already being steadily eroded by more than 10 years of Israeli blockade, falling donor interest. Ongoing power cuts and pay freezes resulting from ongoing divisions between the PA that governs the West Bank and the de facto authority in Gaza mean that families’ miseries are compounded even further."
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