Save the Children said that more children have been killed in Gaza over the past three weeks than the annual number of those killed in conflicts globally since 2019.
Israel’s non-stop bombardment of Gaza has turned the enclave into “hell on earth” with “every minute” separating the 2.3 million population from life and death, Palestine’s envoy to the United Nations Riyad Mansour warned on Monday.
The Palestinian diplomat’s remarks came during a UN Security Council meeting in New York on the escalating Israeli aggression on Gaza and concerns over its ground incursions. The meeting also came after four UN resolutions failed to go through after not reaching consensus.
“Gaza is now hell on Earth. Saving humanity from hell today means for the UN to save Palestinians in Gaza,” Mansour said in an impassioned speech before the global bloc.
Israel launched a brutal bombing campaign on Gaza more than three weeks ago and has since killed at least 8,525 Palestinians, including 3,542 children—who represent 40% of the figure.
“Every minute counts. Every minute is the difference between life and death for Palestinians in Gaza,” Mansour added.
On Friday, the UN General Assembly adopted a non-binding Arab resolution for a humanitarian truce in Gaza following an overwhelming majority vote of 120 members, including Qatar.
Israel and its main ally, the United States, which has blocked at least three other proposals that called for a humanitarian ceasefire amid the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza, rejected the proposal.
“Show respect for our inherent dignity, not in words but in deeds, in action…No one should justify our killing or find reasons to give more time to the killer. Call for an end to this assault on an entire nation,” Mansour told the UN.
The Palestinian official noted that half of the homes in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed and more than 1.4 million have been forcibly displaced.
“A leaked document prepared by the Israeli Intelligence Ministry…confirms that in fact relocating Palestinians from Gaza to tent cities in Sinai is not a threat we imagined but a reality Israel is trying to impose,” he said.
Mansour was referring to Israel’s plans to empty Gaza and instead force the population to settle in the Sinai peninsula in Egypt as part of its attempts to wipe Hamas “off the face of the earth”.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly attempted to convince the European Union to press Egypt to accept refugees from Gaza, sources familiar to the matter told Financial Times on Monday.
However, Netanyahu’s plan received pushback from a number of European countries including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the sources added.
‘War against children’
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have mainly targeted hospitals, residential buildings, schools since the beginning of the war. According to official numbers, they have killed mostly women and children—representing 70% of the total figures.
On Sunday, Save the Children said more children have been killed in Gaza over the past three weeks than the annual number of those killed in conflicts globally since 2019.
Save the Children highlighted that in 2022, 2,985 children were killed in conflicts across 24 countries, with 2,515 child deaths recorded in 2021 across 22 countries.
In 2020, the toll stood at 2,674 children lost in conflict.
“One child’s death is one too many, but these are grave violations of epic proportions,” Jason Lee, Save the Children’s country director for the occupied Palestinian territory, said.
Palestine’s UN representative told the global body that Israel has been waging a war against children, noting a Palestinian child is killed every five minutes.
“Our children who are, like yours, children of God, children of light. The angels on Earth. Enough darkness, enough death,” he said, calling on the UN to actively end the bloodshed in Gaza.
The UN’s children agency (UNICEF) said on Tuesday that at least 940 children have been reported missing in Gaza, describing the Strip as “a graveyard for children”.
The suffering of Palestinians in Gaza was made worse by a complete Israeli blockade on the city that has seen it cut off from fuel and water supplies and added to the growing struggle of an already overwhelmed medical sector.
Hospitals are facing what the UN has described as “an unprecedented level of devastation” as medics work round the clock to respond to thousands of injuries with limited resources.
More than one-third of hospitals in Gaza have already shut down either due to damage or lack of fuel, and the remaining 10 hospitals in the north of the Strip continue to face threats of bombing by Israel. On Monday, an Israeli attack destroyed the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital.
Ankara’s foreign ministry condemned the attack “in the strongest terms”.
“It is inexplicable for such an attack to take place given all the necessary information, including the coordinates of the institution in question, which is the only cancer hospital in Gaza, was shared with Israeli authorities in advance,” the statement said.