man carries a child, wounded by Israeli airstrikes

A man carries a child, wounded by Israeli airstrikes, into a hospital in Gaza City on October 11, 2023.

(Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)

Israeli Airstrikes Have Killed Over 320 Children in Gaza: Health Ministry

"Where is the outrage we saw when Israeli children were killed?" asked a co-founder of IfNotNow.

Israel's retaliatory airstrikes across the Gaza Strip after Hamas' weekend attack have killed at least 1,100 people in the besieged enclave, including 326 children, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said Wednesday.

Gaza-based Hamas launched a major surprise attack against Israel on Saturday, a Jewish holiday, and the Israeli death toll has now surpassed 1,200. The far-right Israeli government and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded with Operation Swords of Iron, bombing Gazan residential, medical, and educational buildings, and intensifying a 16-year blockade of the region.

Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP), which has documented cases of over 2,400 Palestinian kids killed by Israeli forces and settlers since 2000, has so far confirmed 105 of the 326 deaths.

"Intensive Israeli bombardment throughout the Gaza Strip, lack of electricity, Israeli airstrikes on telecommunications infrastructure, and the unprecedented rate of daily child fatalities has resulted in a lag between confirmed fatalities by DCIP and the overall total child fatalities published regularly by the Ministry of Health in Gaza," the group said.

Responding to the new Ministry of Health figure, Yonah Lieberman, a co-founder of the American Jewish group IfNotNow, asked on social media, "Where is the outrage we saw when Israeli children were killed?"

DCIP's Miranda Cleland said that from her time with the organization, she has learned that "all the dead Palestinian babies in Gaza won't humanize Palestinians to the Israeli war machine, funded by the U.S. government, cheering on their killings."

The United States gives Israel $3.8 billion in annual military aid under a 10-year deal from 2016. U.S. President Joe Biden said Tuesday that his administration had begun sending additional assistance and he will seek further support from Congress.

The American group Jewish Voice for Peace argued Wednesday that "the U.S. must work to immediately de-escalate to prevent the further loss of life, and not fuel and exacerbate the violence by sending more weapons to Israel. There is only one way to end violence: to address its root cause, 75 years of Israeli military occupation and apartheid. We must end U.S. complicity in this systemic oppression."

Some members of Congress have spoken out against Israel's recent killing of Palestinian civilians. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Wednesday that while he welcomes the Biden administration's offer of "solidarity and support to Israel" following Hamas' deadly attack, "we must also insist on restraint from Israeli forces attacking Gaza and work to secure U.N. humanitarian access."

"The targeting of civilians is a war crime, no matter who does it. Israel's blanket denial of food, water, and other necessities to Gaza is a serious violation of international law and will do nothing but harm innocent civilians," he stressed. "Let us not forget that half of the 2 million people in Gaza are children. Children and innocent people do not deserve to be punished for the acts of Hamas."

Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP, noted Wednesday that the IDF is expected to continue ramping up its operation.

"Israeli forces are destroying entire neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip as an apparent full-scale ground assault is imminent," he said. "Immediate humanitarian relief is necessary to protect civilians as Israeli forces prepare to intensify attacks and Israeli officials declare their intention to commit further war crimes and crimes against humanity."

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is seeking $104 million to provide humanitarian aid across the Gaza Strip and beyond over the next couple of months.

"What is unfolding is already an unprecedented humanitarian tragedy. Whatever the circumstances are, rules apply in times of conflict and this one is no exception. Aid to civilians who have nowhere to flee must be immediate: water, food, medicine," UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said Wednesday. "It is of utmost urgency that access to humanitarian assistance and protection be upheld for all civilians."

Catherine Russell, executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), this week has also emphasized the necessity of ensuring access to humanitarian aid in the region, along with denouncing all recent attacks on civilians, especially kids.

"I am also deeply concerned about measures to block electricity and prevent food, fuel, and water from entering Gaza, which may put the lives of children at risk," she said. "I remind all parties that in this war, as in all wars, it is children who suffer first and suffer most."

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.