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The Slaughter of Gaza’s Children: ‘One Dead Every 15 Minutes’

The battered health system in Gaza teeters on the brink as doctors like Ghassan Abu Sittah make agonizing choices in overflowing hospitals with scarcely any supplies. But even more heartbreaking is the slaughter of Gaza’s children by Israeli bombardment – over 1,000 innocent lives lost and counting, with one child killed every 15 minutes equating to roughly 100 every day.

The wanton killing of babies and youths exposes the myth that any place in Gaza is safe. At al-Ahli Hospital, one of single deadliest attacks killed at least 500 sheltering civilians, including scores of children. With 3000 Palestinians killed since October 7, the Al-Ahli hospital massacre has led to national days of mourning across the region, as well as huge protests in solidarity with Gaza’s grief.

Yet the killings continue unabated. When Israeli missiles struck a United Nations school in Jabalia refugee camp, young students still clutching their exam papers were buried in the rubble. “We heard the explosions but thought we would be safe in a UN school,” cried out 13-year-old Reem, now with a shattered leg from the blast. Additionally, as we write this, several hospitals and schools are continuously threated with airstrikes by the Israeli Government.

Doctors at Shifa hospital describe the parade of dead and gravely wounded children that never seems to end – victims of a brutal campaign against a civilian population with nowhere to hide.

“Yesterday we had two burned and bleeding toddlers arrive with ‘orphan’ written on their clothes,” shares Dr. Rana Abu Nasser between sobs. She added their names to the lengthy list of children she could not save.

Nurses speak of tending to lifeless babies pulled from the wreckage of their homes, their tiny bodies ravaged by shrapnel. There are simply too many small corpses for the morgue to hold.

Paramedic Mazen Al-Haddad tells of entire families – mothers, fathers, children and grandparents – found crushed and entwined in death beneath the rubble where their homes once stood. “I now carry all their faces with me,” he says.

For the children who survive grievous injuries, the psychological trauma will live with them forever. At Shifa, a young girl fitted with a prosthetic leg after hers was amputated whispers, “I just want to walk again and play with my friends.”

Yet in the face of this unrelenting horrors, Gaza’s doctors and nurses persist in their mission to comfort and heal. “As long as I draw breath, I will keep treating patients,” vows Dr. Ahmad Nasser. But how long can they endure the trauma of mending Gaza’s children only to see fresh young victims arrive tomorrow?

The world must cry out – this slaughter of innocents must end. No political cause justifies the killing of any child, let alone hundreds. The selective sympathy for one people’s grief and indifference to the other’s is abhorrent. Only by speaking with one voice for the value of every child’s life, Palestinian and Israeli, can humanity hope to stem this horrific tide of violence.