Israel’s Genocide Against Gaza’s Children

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Israel’s Genocide Against Gaza’s Children

“There’s No School Tomorrow, There’s No Children Left There (in Gaza)”. These were the chants from a ‘pro-Israeli’ protest in support of the Zionist state’s bloodthirsty military offensive in Gaza, ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Loathsome as these words are, they represent an accurate description of the aims of the campaign of slaughter that the murderous Jewish entity’s regime has unleashed upon the innocent Muslims of the world’s largest open-air prison.

Half of Gaza’s 1.8 million population are under the age of 18. It was therefore inevitable that in a cramped, overcrowded sliver of a land, this would be a war against its children. Images of babies covered in shrapnel, toddlers with extensive burns, and children with their bodies torn apart from the shelling have become the familiar images of this conscienceless Jewish entity’s onslaught on the defenceless people of this small belt of land. Hundreds of parents and families spent Eid, not giving gifts to their young or watching them play games but at their gravestone reciting prayers for them.

However, there has been an even more sinister aim to this offensive. And that is the direct and systematic targeting of Gaza’s children which has become the signature mark of this month-long remorseless and relentless bombardment of the Strip. During this brutal assault, over 340 children have been killed and over 2500 injured – including suffering severe head injuries as well as shattered limbs that require amputation. That’s one fifth and over one quarter respectively of all those killed or injured in this latest war against the Gazan people. The UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that on the 23rd and 24th July, 1 child was being killed each hour in Gaza.

This is no ‘collateral damage’ of war. This is a systematic operation to ‘cleanse’ Gaza of its future generation – through death, incapacitation or psychological scarring – both of children and those who bear them. Despite the fact that ‘genocide’ appears to be the hardest word for Western powers and the international community to utter with regards to this conflict – that is EXACTLY what this is – a genocide against Palestine’s young.

In July, a well-known “Israeli” member of parliament, Ayelet Shaked called for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who gave birth to what she termed “little snakes”. In a post on her Facebook page, she wrote, “They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists. They are all our enemies and their blood should be on our hands. This also applies to the mothers of the dead terrorists.” She also stated, “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Clearly, from the bloodbath of this latest Zionist offensive, her remarks do not reflect her view alone towards Palestinians but are shared by the terrorist “Israeli” regime. In 2012, a delegation of British lawyers visited the West Bank and “Israel” to investigate “Israel’s” violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They stated that, “much of the reluctance to treat Palestinian children in conformity with international norms stems from a belief which was advanced to us by a military prosecutor, that every Palestinian child is a ‘potential terrorist’” – and hence a potential target according to this twisted “Israeli” logic.

The future of any people depends on the state of its children. And as Gaza goes up in smoke, as its towns and districts are pummelled to the ground and reduced to rubble, and its infrastructure is utterly destroyed, the “Israeli” state plainly aims to achieve the same for the future generation of Gaza’s Muslims – to attempt to erase its existence, in order to obliterate the future of the nation.

The brutal murder of 16 year old Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir who was burnt alive by “Israeli” youths as well as the savage beating of his cousin, Tariq Abu Khdeir by “Israeli” soldiers that marked the start of this current conflict symbolises the ensuing nature of this offensive that has no doubt placed Gazan children as a central target in the cross hairs of the “Israeli” military. On the 28th July, the first day of Eid, children were playing in a park inside the Shati refugee camp on the edge of Gaza City, including around 50 who were lining up for a turn on a ferris wheel when an “Israeli” missile struck the area, killing at least 10 children and injuring many others. Munzer al-Derby who witnessed the strike stated, “The kids were playing on the wheel...A rocket fell and cut them apart.” The next day, “Israeli” tank fire targeted sleeping children in a UN girl’s elementary school in Jabaliya, crowded with thousands of refugees taking shelter from the bombardment, despite numerous warnings that civilians were taking refuge there, resulting in multiple deaths of women and children. The previous week, “Israeli” missiles hit another UN school in Beit Hanoun as the playground was filled with families awaiting evacuation amidst the heavy fighting, killing at least 15 and wounding over 200. Most of the injured were women and children. Among the dead was a mother and her 1-year-old baby. In both attacks on the UN schools, the “Israeli” military were given the exact coordinates of the buildings – 17 times in the case of the assault on the school in Jabaliya.

On the 26th of July, at least 20 members of the al-Najar family were killed, including 11 children by an “Israeli” attack on their home. On the 20th July, the “Israeli” military executed a brutal massacre on the residents of the district of Shujayea, killing 26 women and 15 children – children constituted a third of those killed. On the same day, an Israeli strike slaughtered almost the whole family of Fatemah Abu Jame in Khan Yunis, killing 25 family members including 18 children and 5 women, 3 of whom were pregnant. On the 16th July, “Israeli” naval ships fired on Palestinian boys playing on a beach in Gaza, killing 4 and severely injuring others. Witnesses describe how the boys tried to run to escape the first shell fired at them but then were again directly targeted by the second. The following day in the Sabra district of Gaza city, 3 children feeding birds on their rooftop were hit by an “Israeli” missile. All this while the Zionist army’s arsenal comprises the most up to date precision-target weaponry. And on the 1st August, the media published witness reports that some days earlier, 6 Palestinian youth had been taken to a bathroom in a house in Khuzaa and executed in cold blood by “Israeli” forces.

These are just a few of the countless attacks that have targeted children. The brutal fact that this is a systematic, directed war against Gaza’s children is re-enforced by comments from medical officials. Dr. Medhat Abbas, Medical Director of Al-Aqsa hospital stated in an interview to Channel 4 News, “If you want to stay alive, stay far away from any child because these are the declared target of the Israeli army.” And his colleague, Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor at Al-Shifa Hospital commented regarding the proportion of child casualties of the war compared to the overall numbers killed and injured, “The number and fraction of children is unusually high, meaning that the Israelis are relentlessly killing children and injuring children.”

The damage and permanent scarring inflicted on Gaza’s young is not just physical but emotional and psychological. Dr. Munna el-Farra from Al-Shifa Hospital stated, “We receive many, many, many phone calls about children in horror. Terrified, anxious children. Their mothers do not know how to calm them down.” On the 23rd of July, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also commented that, “at least 72,390 children require direct and specialised psychosocial support on the basis of families who have experienced death, injury, or loss of home over the past 10 days” and they expected that number to soar.

The “Israeli” regime is no stranger to the targeting and harming of children. According to a report published this June by the Geneva based watchdog, The Euro-mid Observer for Human Rights, the Zionist state has detained around 2500 Palestinian children just from 2010 alone, the majority of them between 12 and 15 years old. Most are arrested simply for throwing stones which can carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The report documents that 75% of these detained children were subjected to physical torture and 25% faced military trials. It reads, “The majority of the detained children were subjected to threats and physical torture including beatings during the investigation. The Israeli authorities responsible for the investigation often use 'isolation' against one in every five detained children, as a means of pressure during the investigations which may extend to 10 days on average and up to 30 days in some cases.” It also states that during this “isolation”, the authorities place the child in “narrow cells” and do not allow anyone to meet him – family members or even his lawyer in some cases. Such torture and mistreatment can inevitably leave a permanent psychological impact on the children. In addition, according to Sandra Owen, a Euro-mid researcher, at least 1,406 Palestinian children have been killed by “Israeli” forces since 2000, including 263 under the age of eight and 450 under the age of 15.

A report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published in June 2013 also accused “Israel” of torturing Palestinian children in custody and using others as human shields. It describes “Israeli” soldiers using these children to enter potentially dangerous buildings before them and to stand in front of military vehicles to deter stone throwing. The UN report also stated that around 7,000 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17, but some as young as nine, had been arrested, interrogated and detained over the previous ten years. Additionally, the human rights NGO, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel described in a report published in January this year that the Zionist regime has in some cases placed detained Palestinian children outside overnight in iron cages in freezing temperatures for hours following their arrest.

This brutal war against Palestine’s children has taken place under the watchful eye of the International community which has given a green light to the Zionist state to slaughter, maim, and terrorise with impunity the most vulnerable and defenceless amongst those it occupies. This is despite issuing countless international laws and conventions with regards to the protection of children, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 6 of this agreement states that children have the right to live and that governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily. Article 19 reads that children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence and from being hurt and mistreated. And yet these words seem to have dissolved in the blood and tears of Palestine’s children.

The UN itself in this latest conflict has once again exposed itself for the impotent, powerless, and redundant organisation that it is. One hundred and eleven of its own buildings, including several of its schools and distribution centres have been hit by Israeli fire, and its own officials have been killed yet it is devoid of any ability to take action or stop the bloodshed unless the very states that support Israel’s campaign of death and terror say so. The absurdity of this reality would be laughable if the consequences were not so tragic. The organisation has proven utterly incapable of providing any semblance of protection to Gazan civilians, even those taking refuge within its own so-called safe havens. Its role in this whole conflict as with the genocide against Muslims in Syria, Central Africa, Myanmar and other countries has been confined to counting casualties, issuing meaningless condemnatory statements, and providing limited humanitarian aid – which even according to its own admission is woefully inadequate for the needs of victims of these wars. Its words and resolutions have therefore proven to be nothing but background noise in these campaigns of genocide against Muslim populations across the world.

So here we are in 2014, living within a world order where the most powerful states are given a free reign to aid and abet a killer in annihilating a nation and executing a bloodbath of its children. Here we are within a world order where a murderous regime is able to conduct every war crime imaginable and break every humanitarian and moral norm and convention with no leadership or international body to end its legacy of genocide and oppression. And here were are within a world order where the rulers of the Muslim world stand as mere spectators watching this campaign of extermination of Gaza’s population unfold and chaining their soldiers to their barracks. Or worse still, they have actively colluded with the Zionist killing machine in its aim of turning Palestine into a graveyard for its children by supporting its blockades, providing its fuel and economic necessities, or signing agreements legitimising its existence and occupation of Muslim land.

Sifting through the mountain of tweets related to this current crisis, one particular one caught my attention. It read, “I can’t see light at the end of the tunnel”. It is a sentiment that maybe many share. However, this defeatist viewpoint arises from seeing failed recycled so-called solutions such as temporary ceasefires or flawed agreements as the only means to address this problem. It arises from searching for answers within the framework of the current world order in which everything seems stacked up against the Palestinians – a world order which has proven time and again to maintain the status quo rather than bring about any real change.

It is irrational to believe for example, that the genocide against Palestinian children will be resolved through negotiations and agreements with a conscienceless Zionist regime that has an utter disregard for human life and a zero-level of respect or adherence to any treaty – a regime that has absolutely no qualms about directly targeting defenceless innocents. It is irrational to place trust in Western powers who are the political and financial backers of the assassin to engineer a solution that protects Palestinian blood – for they are the very ones who created and strengthened the hand of the murderer. And it is irrational to have faith in international law or bodies to lift the six long decades of occupation and oppression that Palestinians have been subjected to – for such rules and entities have only ever existed and functioned as tools for Western states to exert their influence on other nations. History has witnessed for example, the selective application of international law by Western powers who have themselves flouted them repeatedly without repercussion. It has witnessed how even ‘genocide’ is a term that has been manipulated by such powers according to their political interests. And it has witnessed how such conventions and resolutions have proven utterly futile in protecting the blood and interests of Muslim populations in Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan and other states. It is therefore placing trust in any of these tried, tested, and failed paths to solve this issue that prolongs the suffering of Palestinian children by directing attention and efforts away from a real solution to this problem.

And that solution must extend beyond recycled ceasefires and agreements. It must rise above the usual suspects of plans and accords formulated by self-serving Western governments and their redundant international organisations which have always worked against the Palestinians. The protection of the blood of Palestinian children lies within the mobilisation of the Muslim armies to their aid, for it is only the force of a military body that can counter a military onslaught and occupation. However, these armies are kept from moving to the aid of their brothers and sisters in Palestine, Syria and elsewhere by the current regimes of the Muslim world, many of whom have been installed or supported by Western powers to do their bidding in the region. These rulers and governments have served as the greatest defence force for the “Israeli” state.

Clearly therefore, the solution to the genocide against Palestinian children and the removal of their occupation lies in the birth of a new leadership in the Muslim lands that rises above the current world order – a leadership that places the protection of Muslim blood, land, and interests at the heart of its rule. This is nothing other than the Khilafah state whose vision for its soldiers is not confined to protecting national borders and interests. Rather it is a state that will dismantle the divisive colonial Sykes-Picot borders between our lands that today leave our children to die in one state while the neighbouring Muslim countries immobilise their vast armies that number into the hundreds of thousands. The Khilafah will therefore unify Muslim land and move its soldiers to protect the lives of Muslims wherever they reside, for the Prophet (saw) said,

«‏إِنَّمَا الْإِمَامُ ‏‏جُنَّةٌ ‏ ‏يُقَاتَلُ مِنْ وَرَائِهِ وَيُتَّقَى بِهِ»

“Indeed the Imam (Khaleefah) is a shield from behind whom (one) would fight and one would protect oneself.”

This was exemplified by the actions of the Abassid Khilafah against the Christian crusader occupation of Palestine. Although the capital of the Khilafah was based in Baghdad at the time, the Khilafah sent one of its best generals – Salahuddin Ayubbi – himself a Kurd to liberate the area of Bilad Al-Sham.

The Khilafah therefore, as a state built purely upon Islam, will not accept meaningless agreements with states whose hands are soaked with the blood of Muslims – agreements which for decades have simply weakened Palestinians in relation to their enemy. Nor will it accept for the 66 long years of occupation to last for a single day longer. Rather it would not rest until the apartheid Zionist rule is dismantled and every inch of Palestinian land is liberated, returning it under Islamic rule and establishing true security for Muslim, Christian and Jew alike as Allah (swt) has ordered. It is a state therefore that will show in action rather than empty statements the true value of Muslim and human blood and dignity.

Therefore, seeking an end to the bloodbath against the children of Palestine, and an end to their entire state of oppression, requires looking beyond the meagre offerings of the current world order and turning our full attention to establishing this new Islamic leadership that alone holds the key to achieving this goal.

وَٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُوٓاْ أَعۡمَـٰلُهُمۡ كَسَرَابِۭ بِقِيعَةٍ۬ يَحۡسَبُهُ ٱلظَّمۡـَٔانُ مَآءً حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا جَآءَهُ ۥ لَمۡ يَجِدۡهُ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَوَجَدَ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُ ۥ فَوَفَّٮٰهُ حِسَابَهُ ۥ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَرِيعُ ٱلۡحِسَابِ

“As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water, until he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing; but he finds Allah with him, Who will pay him his due (Hell). And Allah is Swift in taking account.” [TMQ 24:39]

Written for The Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Member of The Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir


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