“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.