Bring all the Children home
On World Children's Day we must remember the child hostages held by Hamas for six weeks, and the children in Gaza killed by the Israeli forces over the last six weeks
I had no plans of writing an article about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict but Laura Dodsworth’s article compelled me to tell the story of the other side.
People are free to feel empathy towards any group of people and it’s commendable when they speak up for any humanitarian cause they believe in.
People are also free to pick a side, whether as a result of indoctrination or their free will, even though that doesn’t ultimately serve the people on both sides — Remember that’s what the puppeteers want us to do. Pick a side. Us vs them.
If you pick a side, however, please try not to belittle the plight of the other side with your words.
The title goes like this: “We must remember the child hostages held by Hamas for six weeks, and the children in Gaza.”
“The Children in Gaza”. Just that?
Are the children in Gaza sleeping peacefully in their beds?
What is happening to the children in Gaza?
The children in Gaza are being brutally carpet bombed by the Israeli forces. They are losing an arm or a leg or their life or their home or their parents. The children in Gaza are writing their names on their arms so their parents could recognise them if they are blown up or when they are blown up —a scene as chilling as tattooed numbers on the wrists of jewish people in concentration camps.
The kidnapping of innocent civilians is horrible in any war. The kidnapping of children, elderly and pregnant women is horrific. It is equally horrific though that the Israeli state currently imprisons 180 Palestinian minors. Palestinian prisoners are convicted by Israel’s military justice system. According to B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, “the military courts are not a neutral arbiter: they serve political goals and work to uphold and perpetuate the occupation. Palestinians have almost zero chances of acquittal in this system; most cases are closed with plea bargains, and the conviction rate is almost 100%. Many of these prisoners are political prisoners, and thousands have been convicted without evidence, due process or any opportunity to defend themselves. Hundreds of others are being held in administrative detention, without even a show of a fair trial.”
As a mother, my heart aches for ANY mother or father whose child is taken away from them by their enemy. The torment. The agony. It must be unbearable.
Who knows how the Palestinian children in Israeli prisons are being treated?
Here’s the account of Amnesty International on Palestinians recently abducted from the West Bank since October 7.
“Over the past four weeks, videos and images have been shared widely online showing gruesome scenes of Israeli soldiers beating and humiliating Palestinians while detaining them blind-folded, stripped, with their hands tied, in a particularly chilling public display of torture and humiliation of Palestinian detainees.”
But who knows what the truth is anymore when military propaganda is in full swing?
The ‘40 supposedly decapitated Israeli babies’ turned out to be a lie… The Hamas command and control centre under Al-Shifa Hospital, a lie too according to Jewish American Political scientist Norman Finkelstein as well as Norwegian physician Mad Gilbert who worked at Al-Shifa hospital for 16 years.
The Israeli soldiers who were photographed looking fondly at babies in their incubator at Al-Shifa hospital are part of the armed forces that later shot a missile cutting off the electricity supply on the incubators, killing three babies.
The children in Gaza are not sleeping peacefully in their beds.
1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza, half of them children, were displaced from their homes by warning of flyers dropped by Israeli airplanes from the sky.
A second Nakba for the Palestinian people. The Catastrophe.
While the Jews suffer from the trauma of the holocaust, the Palestinians suffer from the trauma of the Nakba where 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and their land in 1948. They lost their olive trees, their country and their freedom overnight because some people high above drew some lines on some map.
One can only wonder what kind of suffering the displaced Palestinian children are experiencing now.
“On top of this horror, thousands have DIED in the conflict in Gaza, including children. (The numbers are not yet verified.)”
Indeed, 13,000-14,000 Palestinians including 5,500-5,840 children have been KILLED so far in Gaza by the Israeli attacks since October 7? They didn’t just DIE from natural causes in their sleep. 1,800 children are missing under the rubbles and 9,000 children are injured as a result of Netanyahu’s genocidal proclamation:
“Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”
More than 100 Palestinians killed so far for each Israeli killed on October 7.
Is that enough? What’s enough?
The excuse that ‘this is Hamas data and it can’t be trusted’ just doesn’t cut it. Surely if almost half of the homes in Gaza, as per satellite images, have been flattened and if mass graves are being dug, then thousands of people have been massacred.
The children in Gaza are born in an open-air prison where water, food, fuel, electricity, medicine and even the air and the sea are at the mercy of the Israeli state.
“The entire area that Israel controls is ruled by a single apartheid regime, governing the lives of all people living in it and operating according to one organising principle: establishing and perpetuating the control of one group of people – Jews – over another – Palestinians – through laws, practices and state violence.” B’tselem
Decades of Israeli oppression culminated in Netanyahu’s address at the UN, where he drew a red line on a map showing the Israeli state engulfing Gaza and the West Bank, eliminating any hope of a free Palestinian state or a just resolution of the conflict.
Terror begets terror. Hate begets hate. Murder begets murder.
This is why we must stop this vicious cycle of violence.
The children in Gaza are just children like yours and mine but their past is being denied, their present is being obliterated and their future is a reality of despair.
“The ‘Never Again Is Now’ vigil outside Downing… put the hostages front and centre, asking that they be returned. This is the vital first step towards a credible proposal for peace”
The release of Israeli hostages in Gaza is a vital first step towards a credible proposal for peace.
What else is also a vital first step for a credible proposal for peace?
A ceasefire? Allowing humanitarian aid to go into Gaza?
And what’s next?
The release of Palestinians, especially children, being held without fair trial in Israeli prisons?
The removal of illegal settlements in the West Bank?
The lifting of the 16-year-old illegal blockade on Gaza?
A free and sovereign Palestinian state?
Justice, peace and dignity for all?
Let us truly “stand in love, peace and courage”.
Let us be mindful of the plight of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people.
Let us call for reconciliation and peace.
‘Never again is now’ for all, not just for some. We’re all God’s people.
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About the author
Abir Ballan has a Masters in Public Health, a graduate degree in special needs education and a BA in psychology. She is a children’s author with 27 books.