As we head towards another Friday of demonstrations at the Israeli fence surrounding the Gaza Strip, I am deeply concerned about the impact that the violence at these demonstrations has on children. Since 30 March 2018, 40 Palestinian children have been killed and 1,521 injured with live ammunition by Israeli security forces. I again call on the Israeli authorities to refrain from using excessive force, including the use of live ammunition, in response to the demonstrations and remind them of their responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of children.
I am concerned that the demonstrations’ organizers have branded tomorrow’s protests as “Our Child Martyrs,” which may push boys and girls to put themselves at risk. When this branding was used on 27 July 2018, two boys who participated in the demonstrations were killed by Israeli forces. I call upon Hamas to uphold its responsibility to ensure the safety of children in Gaza, including by preventing them from being exposed to the risk of violence, or from being used as instruments of political action.
I reiterate in the strongest terms that children must never be the target of violence, nor should they be put at risk of violence or encouraged to participate in violence.