Israel slaughters dozens of children in Gaza

Injured boy and girl lay down side by side

Palestinian medics transport wounded children to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on 9 October.

Medhat Hajjaj APA images

“The emphasis is on damage, and not on accuracy.”

These were the words of Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari on Tuesday morning, an open admission that Israel’s heavy shelling of the Gaza Strip is intended to inflict widespread carnage.

“I have released all the restraints,” Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant said on Tuesday.

“We are moving to a full offense.”

An Israeli legislator implored the military in a tweet earlier that day to use the “doomsday weapon.”

“Jericho missile! Jericho missile!” Tally Gotliv, a member of Israel’s parliament – the Knesset – representing the governing Likud party, said. Gotliv is referring to missiles designed for the purpose of carrying nuclear weapons.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted aerial footage of the bombing of a building on Tuesday.

“Continue with all the strength,” Netanyahu wrote alongside the video.

Gallant announced Monday that “we are imposing a complete siege on [Gaza]. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel – everything is closed.”

He added: “We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.”

One million children

Gaza is home to one million Palestinian children, comprising half of the coastal enclave’s population.

Since the beginning of Israel’s reprisal by land, air and sea on the besieged territory, at least 140 Palestinian children have been confirmed killed.

At least 74 Palestinian children have been killed from direct Israeli attacks, field investigators from Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP) were able to confirm.

Many of the Palestinian children killed were slaughtered alongside their siblings, cousins, parents or other family members.

Israel is intensifying its attack on the densely populated Gaza Strip, targeting residential and crowded areas.

“Nowhere and nobody is safe,” Ayed Abu Eqtaish, DCIP’s accountability program director, said.

As of this writing, the Palestinian health ministry has documented the killing of at least 830 Palestinians in Gaza, and the injury of more than 4,000.

The number of butchered Palestinian children is certain to surge as Palestinian civil rescuers and medics sift through the rubble and field investigators confirm the identities of those killed and the sources of attacks.

“Israeli forces are killing Palestinian children at an unprecedented rate,” Abu Eqtaish said.

“Israeli forces routinely use explosive weapons in densely populated civilian areas with complete disregard for the indiscriminate effects.”

Abu Eqtaish said Israeli leaders are “taking no precautionary measures and seemingly intending to disproportionately kill and injure civilians and destroy civilian objects.”

The use of overwhelming force against civilians is a key Israeli military strategy aimed at turning the targeted civilian population against the armed resistance.

That strategy – the “Dahiya Doctrine” – is named for the Beirut suburb heavily bombarded by Israel between July and August 2006. Under the doctrine, Israel treats civilian villages as military bases, thereby giving its troops carte blanche to bomb very dense residential areas.

In the early minutes of Tuesday, Israeli warplanes struck a residential building in Jabaliya refugee camp, killing two Palestinians, including 16-year-old Ahmad Ayman al-Asmi.

On Monday evening in Jabaliya refugee camp, an Israeli bombing killed seven Palestinians, including three children.

They were Karam Yousef Abu Obed, 17, Malak Muhammad Abu Obed, 15, and Ismail Muhammad Salah, 7.

Civic rescuers are still searching the rubble for people as neighbors said there were 15 to 20 people inside the building when it was hit, “including some who were seeking refuge,” DCIP said.

Jabaliya market massacre

At least 69 Palestinians were killed in a single bombing of a densely populated shopping and residential hub in Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza on Monday morning.

The Israeli bombing killed at least 15 children, although DCIP expects the number to rise to 17 as they identify two additional young victims.

Haunting footage of the aftermath of the bombing was circulated on local media, depicting a massive area covered in rubble and dust as medics and civic workers retrieved bodies from the debris.

The children were named by DCIP as Muhammad Yousef Hamad, 17, Abdallah Mustafa Hussain, 14, Muhammad Bajes al-Khaldi, 11, Yousef Samir al-Thamneh, 10, Muhammad Abd al-Fatih Odeh, 9, Muhammad Imad al-Amouri, 9, Muhammad Anas Abu Odeh, 9, Yazan Fares Rabaa, 8, and Diab Muhammad Abu Baid, 6.

Siblings Layan Nasser Abu Fahem, 8, and Anas Nasser Abu Fahem, 4, were also among those killed.

The strike also killed siblings Jannah Abdallah Abu Shukian, 10, and Joury Abdallah Abu Shukian, 5, and their cousins, Retal Bilal Abu Shukian, 7, and Maria Huthaifa Abu Shukian, 3.

Eleven children of one family

Eleven children of a single family were wiped out by Israeli bombing of a residential building near a mosque in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.

The attack killed 20 Palestinians in total. All 11 children killed were under 13 years old.

Graphic footage shows Palestinians pulling bodies from the debris on the scene of the bombing:

They were named by DCIP as: Hassan Muhammad al-Zaanin, 12, Obaida Muhammad al-Zaanin, 9, Khalid Muhammad al-Zaanin, 7, and Amr Muhammad al-Zaanin, 4, all siblings.

Muhmin Hussam al-Zaanin, 12, Noor Hussam al-Zaanin, 9, Zaina Hussam al-Zaanin, 7, Mays Hussam al-Zaanin, 5, and Hala Hussam al-Zaanin, 1, all siblings, were killed as well.

Salma Omar al-Zaanin, 5, and Balsam Omar al-Zaanin, 3, were also killed in the same attack.

Baby killed with brothers

Israeli air bombardment of agricultural land east of Gaza City early on Monday killed two Palestinian children, Mira Mahmoud Abu Ghanemeh, 7, and Lara Mahmoud Abu Ghanemeh, 5.

The Israeli army fired several missiles at a residential building south of Gaza City on Sunday evening, killing 10 Palestinians, including three young siblings.

From left to right, Abd al-Nasir Ahmad Shamlakh, 2, Yazan Ahmad Shamlakh, 10, and five-month-old Omar Ahmad Shamlakh, three brothers killed in an Israeli attack on a residential building in Gaza City on 8 October.

Defense for Children International-Palestine

Yazan Ahmad Shamlakh, 10, Abd al-Nasir Ahmad Shamlakh, 2, and five-month-old Omar Ahmad Shamlakh, were among those killed.

DCIP said the airstrike completely destroyed the building, which was home to three families.

Shattering families

In the early hours of Monday morning, Israeli warplanes destroyed a residential building in Beit Lahiya, killing 13 Palestinians – including five children of the al-Qatnani family. Basma Samir al-Qatnani, 16, Muhammad Samir al-Qatnani, 13, and Sally Samir al-Qatnani, 11, all siblings were killed together.

Their cousins, four-year-old Salma Omar al-Qatnani and two-year-old Jawan Omar al-Qatnani, were killed in the same attack.

In the early hours of the same day, an Israeli airstrike killed an 8-month-old baby while targeting a nearby house east of Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank. He was identified as Rakan Sameh Ahmad.

Man holds the body of a child wrapped in cloth

Funeral held for Palestinians killed after Israeli airstrikes struck the southern Khan Younis area, on 10 October.

Ahmed Tawfeq APA images

On Sunday morning, Israeli airstrikes on a residential building killed four Palestinian children alongside their parents.

Omar Nazir Shaban, 11, Ghada Nazir Shaban, 10, Batoul Nazir Shaban, 7, and 1-year-old Ahmad Nazir Shaban were all killed in the attack.

At 3 am on Sunday, Israeli strikes demolished the home of the Shabat family, killing 14 Palestinians – half of them children.

They were named as cousins Bayan Abd al-Khaliq Shabat, 13, Hassan Muhammad Shabat, 9, and 3-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim Shabat, as well as two young brothers, 5-year-old Abd al-Khaliq Khaled Shabat and 3-year-old Ghaith Khaled Shabat.

Two children living in nearby houses were also killed in the same attack. They were identified as 16-year-old Rula Nael Naseer and 11-year-old Muhammad Khater al-Kafarneh.

The Israeli army launched missiles at a residence in eastern Gaza City on Saturday evening, killing 10 Palestinians, half of them children.

Four brothers were killed in the attack. They were named as Ibtisam Adel al-Dawas, 17, Rawand Adel al-Dawas, 15, Ahmad Adel al-Dawas, 10, and Zaid Adel al-Dawas, 3.

Their four-year-old cousin, Rakan Muhammad al-Dawas, was also killed.

At around the same time, another Israeli warplane fired a missile at a residential building in the Shaboura refugee camp in the southern city of Rafah, killing 17 Palestinians, including five children.

Later on Saturday, Israeli warplanes launched several missiles at a residential building in the town of Abasan al-Kabira in southern Gaza, killing 10 Palestinians, including three children.

DCIP is investigating the killing of more Palestinian children.

“Deploying explosive weapons in densely-populated civilian areas constitutes indiscriminate attacks and carrying out direct attacks against civilians or civilian objects amounts to war crimes,” DCIP said.

As Israeli leaders make good on their promise of “completing the siege” of Gaza by bombing the Rafah crossing, it is Palestinian children that continue to pay the highest price for Israeli crimes.

Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.