The plight of Palestinian children and their struggle for basic rights is once again thrust into the spotlight with the heart-wrenching incident that unfolded in Jenin on June 19. In a tragic turn of events, 14-year-old Sadil Ghasan Ibrahim Naghnaghieh, a young Palestinian girl, was fatally shot in the head by Israeli forces.

Sadil was in her family’s garden, using her phone to document Israeli military vehicles passing near her house during an incursion. An Israeli soldier inside an armored vehicle fired two bullets at Sadil, resulting in a fatal head injury. Her life could not be saved despite immediate medical intervention, as confirmed by the Health Ministry, leaving us to grapple with the gravity of this devastating incident.

Israeli troops shot the 14-year-old Sadil in the head in the occupied West Bank.

Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at the Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), said that the incident highlights the international law violation and the impunity that Israeli forces enjoy. Shooting a Palestinian child without warning in her own home is unlawful. He added that filming Israeli soldiers is not a crime, but targeting and killing Palestinian children persist as war crimes.

Sadil’s story exemplifies the devastating toll innocent lives pay in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It reveals the reality faced by those caught in the violence and the burden placed on children in conflict zones, disrupting their lives and stealing their innocence.

Moreover, earlier that day, Israeli forces also murdered the 14 year old Ahmad Yousef Ahmad Saqer during an Israeli military incursion into the Jenin refugee camp. The doctors at Jenin Government Hospital declared him dead shortly after.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Palestine reported the total number of children killed (in both Israel and Palestine) in 2023 and called for special protection efforts from all parties.

Moreover, The Israeli raid in Jenin received widespread condemnation from various countries, including Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, and the EU bloc. On its part, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) also condemned the Israeli military during a brutal raid on Jenin earlier this week for killing Palestinian school children.

Beyond this tragedy, Palestinians endure an escalating humanitarian crisis. The conflict’s complex web of politics, history, and land disputes has plunged the region into turmoil. Palestinian communities, lacking essential services like healthcare and education, suffer greatly. Children, in particular, face an uncertain future.

Considering the continuous loss of civilian lives, Tor Wennesland, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, urged all the parties to avoid actions that may worsen the situation.

In addition, The Secretary-General of the United Nations showed concern over the death of seven Palestinians, including two children. In his statement, he strongly condemned all acts of violence against civilians.

Mental Wellbeing of Palestinian Children

The profound impact on Palestinian children’s mental health cannot be overlooked. Trapped in violence, they endure deep psychological wounds, with common conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Their development, education, and opportunities are hindered, perpetuating poverty and marginalization.

Addressing the mental health needs of Palestinian children is crucial. Supporting these children with trauma-informed care, counseling, and community assistance is crucial for their healing and rebuilding, giving them hope amidst their pain.

Also read: EU Concerned with Israeli Settlements in Jenin

The aforementioned tragic incidents highlight the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, urging the international community to unite and seek a path to enduring peace. Reassessing strategies, prioritizing diplomacy, dialogue, and understanding are essential. Collaboration can create a future where children are no longer victims of war.