Battle for Rafah Intensifies: Israel Close to Isolation Over Crimes Against Children

Placing the Israeli army on the United Nations blacklist will put this country in the company of some of the most notorious terrorist organizations Boko Haram, ISIL, Al-Qaeda as well as Russia and Myanmar

by Sededin Dedovic
Battle for Rafah Intensifies: Israel Close to Isolation Over Crimes Against Children
© Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

Israeli combat helicopters, drones, and planes are attacking Rafah, while Palestinian fighters clash with Israeli troops in street battles, writes Al Jazeera. During a press conference at the G7 summit in Italy, U.S. President Joe Biden again blamed Hamas for the failure to reach a ceasefire agreement in Gaza.

“The biggest obstacle to the agreement, supported by the UN Security Council, the G7, and the Israelis, is that Hamas refused to sign it – even though they asked for something similar,” Biden told reporters.

Responding to reporters who asked if a ceasefire would be reached soon, Biden said "no," adding that he still “hasn’t lost hope”. At least 37,232 people have been killed and 85,037 injured in the war Israel has been waging against Gaza since October 7.

The death toll from Hamas attacks on Israel stands at 1,139, with dozens of people still held captive in Gaza.

Attack on Refugee Camp Again

Israeli attacks are now concentrated in central Gaza. The Bureij refugee camp is densely populated and home to a large number of children of displaced Palestinians who became refugees in 1948.

At least three people were killed last night – one child and two adults. Several others were reported wounded at Al-Ahli hospital. In Gaza, the Israeli military continues to target areas with relentless airstrikes, including the eastern neighborhoods of Gaza, Daraj, and Shujayea.

The Shati refugee camp is notorious for many relentless attacks by the Israeli military. More than 60 percent of this camp has been destroyed and turned into a pile of rubble. Three people were reported killed and several others wounded.

Palestinian children hold placards during a march demanding an end to the war and their right to live, education and play in Raf© Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

Thousands of Children in Gaza Face a Future Without One Parent

Displaced families in Deir el-Balah are dealing with constant grief, with many children left orphaned by Israeli attacks.

More than 15,000 minors have been killed in the war, and it is estimated that around 17,000 have been left without parents or are separated from them. The cases have become so common that hospitals have coined a new acronym: WCNSF – Wounded Child, No Surviving Family.

Some children do not know where their parents are after being expelled from northern Gaza. Nine-year-old Mira said she and her family “ran for their lives” as they fled south, but she hasn’t heard from her father for days.

“We live in fear. As we came here, we saw dead bodies on the roads,” she told Al Jazeera. “The Israelis said this area is safe, but that’s not true. Wherever we go, there are attacks”. The funeral for ten-year-old Mustafa Hijazi was just held.

He died from health complications, with malnutrition worsening his condition. This is the second case of a Palestinian child dying from malnutrition. According to Kamal Adwan hospital director, more than 200 Palestinian children are currently at risk of death due to malnutrition.

Palestinians are struggling to find food. They have access only to wheat flour and bread. Palestinians in the north say they need more help. Everyone fears a new wave of hunger in the northern parts of the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s Isolation Increases

Former UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said that placing the Israeli military on the UN’s “blacklist” of countries that “harm children” will increase the country’s isolation and further diminish its international standing.

“This list includes, among others, Boko Haram, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Qaeda, Russia, and Myanmar. Israel finds itself on the list of some of the world’s most notorious regimes and countries,” Gunness told Al Jazeera.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad are also on the list, as well as Israeli settlers for what they are doing in the West Bank”. “There are also orders from the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, as well as reports from the Human Rights Council.

I think all of this will have consequences and affect Israel’s isolation, as people see what is happening,” he said.

We Are Getting Used to the Brutality of the Israeli War Against Gaza

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned that images of the brutality of the Israeli war against Gaza have become so common that there is a danger of the horror becoming “normalized”.

“We have all become so used to images of brutality and destruction in Gaza that it has become ‘normalized,’” said Suze van Meegen, head of the NRC office in Gaza. “After more than eight months of violence, there is absolutely nothing normal when we talk about the scale and intensity of last week’s attacks on civilians in central Gaza,” Van Meegen said.

“It is not normal for an entire population to live in constant fear and with immense grief. It is not normal to feel unsafe in school, in hospitals, or anywhere else. It is not normal for a community to bury hundreds of people every week,” she said.