[JURIST] An independent UN rights expert stated [press release] on Monday that there has not been a single child in the Gaza Strip [JURIST news archive] area not affected by the ongoing conflict. Makarim Wibisono [official profile, PDF], the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian [JURIST news archive] territories, has expressed concern over children suffering from bed-wetting, difficulties sleeping, nightmares, loss of appetite and increases of aggressive behavior. In his press release Wibisono noted that between July 7 and August 26 the violence in Gaza has left 1,479 civilians dead, 506 of them children. Additionally, there have been 11,231 Palestinian civilians injured, including 3,436 children. Wibisono stated:
Israel’s claim of self-defense against an occupied population living under a blockade considered to be illegal under international law is untenable. … In a population where over half of the 1.8 million people are under 18, this is truly a tragedy, which will be felt for generations to come. … Israel must immediately lift the seven year land, sea and air blockade of Gaza, and urgently allow needed materials for reconstruction and recovery.
In recent months attacks between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory have led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, forcing the UN and the international community to take steps to help resolve the conflict. Earlier this month Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] accused [JURIST report] the Israeli military of committing war crimes over the summer by attacking schools where hundreds of displaced Palestinians sought shelter. The three attacks, which took place on July 24, July 30 and August 3, killed 45 people, including 17 children. In August the UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 formally requested access [JURIST report] to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory to gather first-hand information into the human rights situation in Gaza. Earlier that month the UN Human Rights Council [official website] appointed three experts [JURIST report] to an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged international humanitarian and human rights law violations committed by both Israelis and Palestinians during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.