Israel-Palestine: UNICEF warns children are paying ‘the highest price’ as violence escalates
Alarmed by the recent killing and injury of many children in Israel and Palestine, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) voiced an appeal to parties on Monday to de-escalate tensions and refrain from violence.
“Children continue to pay the highest price of violence,” the statement declared. “As the situation remains very volatile, UNICEF fears that an increasing number of children will suffer.”
Just a few weeks into the new year, seven Palestinian children and one Israeli child had been killed and many more injured.
Since 26 January alone, the terrorist attack outside a Jerusalem synagogue left at least seven Israelis dead and three injured, and the raid of a West Bank refugee camp resulted in the killing of nine Palestinians.
This year, news reports indicate that some 30 Palestinians had reportedly been killed in the West Bank – including a 14-year-old boy.
A similar pattern in 2022 led to the deaths of more than 150 Palestinians and 20 Israelis in the West Bank and Israel.
Secretary-General António Guterres and top United Nations officials had condemned last week’s killings, calling for restraint and a return to peace talks.
Echoing those calls, UNICEF appealed to all parties to de-escalate, exercise the utmost restraint and refrain from using violence, especially against children, in accordance with international law, stressing that “this must end; violence is never a solution, and all forms of violence against children are unacceptable.”
For its part, UNICEF aims at helping young people in a range of ways, from hosting hackathons to tackling trauma triggered by violence and displacement, including support for 12 family centres across Gaza, providing psychosocial services to more than 15,000 children.