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Israel must be brought to account for its crimes against Palestinian children

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More than 1.2 million Palestinian children in the occupied territories returned to their schools for the new academic year on 15 August. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), most of them have been counting down the days and looking forward to schools reopening. "Because for many young people in Palestine, 2021 has truly been a long, hot year to date."

Explaining why, the UN OCHA pointed to the Covid-19 pandemic, throughout which keeping up with classes remotely was a challenge. In the Gaza Strip, nearly 180,000 Palestinian children will be returning to schools that are still damaged after the Israeli military offensive in May, which killed 255 people, including 67 children; more than 41,000 homes were totally or partially destroyed.

The pandemic is still affecting Gaza badly, and Israel has been blocking medical equipment and hygiene disposables at the nominal border. The children are particularly affected by Covid-19 when their parents are infected or have to isolate. It is a traumatic experience, especially for the youngsters. Indeed, many thousands of children in Gaza also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder; every time they hear a drone or other Israeli aircraft they expect bombs to follow.

"Children not only have a right to a safe education but are afforded special protections under international human rights law in view of their specific vulnerability," explained UN OCHA. "Since the beginning of 2021 [though], a total of 79 Palestinian children have been reported killed and 1,269 injured." Eleven of those killed lived in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, where 19 boys and five girls have been wounded in attacks by illegal settlers.

READ: UN official: 180,000 Gaza children attend, return to damaged........

© Middle East Monitor

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