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Extending humanitarian pause step in the right direction but not enough to save Gaza's children: charity says

November 28, 2023 at 8:48 am

A Palestinian child, taking shelter in hospitals and schools until the start of the 4-day humanitarian pause, walks with his bike amid destruction caused by Israeli attacks to check on their homes in Gaza City, Gaza on November 24, 2023 [Fadi Alwhidi/Anadolu Agency]

The agreed extension of the four-day pause in fighting by two days is welcome news but children in Gaza won’t be safe until a lasting ceasefire is agreed, Save the Children has said.

The fragile pause has enabled the release of 58 prisoners of war from Gaza and 117 Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons, including 87 minors, many have been held without charge or trial and those who have been charged were tried in military courts in spite of them being noncombatants.

During the pause, violence in the West Bank and Gaza continued, with seven Palestinians including four children killed by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank, according to the UN, and Israeli forces opening fire and throwing teargas canisters at people attempting to use the pause to return to their homes in the north of Gaza, killing one person and injuring dozens.

“Any limited pause falls short of the lasting ceasefire necessary to provide desperately needed supplies,” Save the Children said, adding: “People in Gaza are still living in a dire situation, lacking access to food, water, medicines and healthcare facilities. The flow of humanitarian aid to the north of Gaza where over a million people have been displaced has been restricted and intermittent even during the temporary pause.”

Country Director for Save the Children in the occupied Palestinian territory, Jason Lee, said: “This two-day extension of the pause in fighting will come as a huge relief to people in Gaza. But the scale and scope of the crisis is so unprecedented that two days is not enough. People who have survived 50 days of relentless bombardment in Gaza are surrounded by destruction and left with nothing.”

Children are hungry, thirsty and at risk of disease.

“A few more days without fighting is not long enough for families to get what they need to survive. And when the fighting resumes, they will again face the violence that has led to those needs in the first place,” he continued.

The charity highlighted that though 117 Palestinian children and women have been released from Israeli military detention, at least 112 more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank “have been newly detained”, according to Palestinian authorities.

READ: Israel captives released from Gaza were not exposed to torture, ill-treatment: Israeli media