Child death toll reaches over 5,500 in Gaza as Israel extends its war on hospitals

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YESTERDAY was World Children’s Day, the United Nations annual day for action on children’s rights which marked the adoption by the UN of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Yesterday was also marked by at least 5,500 children killed in the Gaza Strip by the Zionist Israeli regime’s relentless bombardment since October 7th.

One Palestinian child is killed every 10 minutes, or about one out of every 200 children in the Gaza Strip. On top of this staggering number, an additional 1,800 children are still missing under the rubble of their homes and presumed dead.

A further 9,000 children have been injured, many with life-changing consequences. The scale of these deaths is such that, according to the UN ‘tallies of verified deaths’, this figure of over 5,500 children killed in six weeks of Israeli attacks is far in excess of the 2,985 children killed in all the world’s major conflict zones last year.

Over a week ago, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated that Gaza is ‘becoming the graveyard for children’, adding: ‘The nightmare in Gaza is more than a humanitarian crisis. It is a crisis of humanity.’ These words were spoken before Israeli troops surrounding the al-Shifa hospital, after being given the green light by the US government, moved in to occupy the hospital and drive patients and medical staff out.

Premature babies who had survived having the electricity supplies to their incubators cut off were forced to ‘evacuate’ as Israeli forces rampaged through the hospital.

Israel has now moved on from devastating al-Shifa, to another hospital in Gaza. Yesterday, Israel launched an attack on the Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza where thousands of patients and families seeking refuge from Israeli genocidal attacks have been sheltering.

Tanks were reported to have surrounded the hospital and a shell fired struck the second floor, killing at least 12 people and wounding dozens more as armoured vehicles edged closer and closer.

Since the start of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, hospitals, along with schools, refugee camps and churches, have emerged as specific targets for the Zionist forces. At least 21 of Gaza’s 35 hospitals have been completely closed down and the rest have been damaged and starved of medical and other essential supplies.

Last Friday, this attack on Palestinian hospitals was extended to the occupied West Bank with at least four hospitals surrounded by tanks and with the Ibn Sina Hospitals, one of the largest in the West Bank, raided by troops.

The attacks on hospitals have always been accompanied by propaganda claims that they ‘shelter’ Palestinian fighters and contain tunnels and command centres.

Not one iota of credible evidence has been produced to substantiate these claims, with even the bourgeois media forced to acknowledge that the evidence produced is ‘unverified’.

Omar Rahman, a fellow at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera news that: ‘Attacking hospitals tells the population that nowhere for Palestinians is safe,’ adding that Israel acts with total impunity.’

That impunity is guaranteed by world imperialism.

The Zionist regime can only sustain its genocidal war to drive Palestinians from Gaza because of the complete material support of US imperialism and fellow imperialist nation backers in the UK and Europe, all desperate to prop up Israel as the all-powerful military force to ensure capitalist domination over the oil-rich region.

The atrocities being committed in the name of world imperialism has inflamed tens of millions of workers and youth who have taken to the streets worldwide in support of the Palestinians.

The task now is for this mass movement to demand the leaders of the trade unions in these countries call mass industrial action and general strikes to stop all arms and financial support to Israel and bring down all the capitalist governments that are propping up the Zionist regime and which are completely complicit in all the war crimes being committed in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.