In the past week, violence throughout the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel has led to the loss of life for both Palestinians and Israelis with hundreds of people injured. In the last few days, 10 children in Gaza were killed and at least another 44 injured with threats of more airstrikes from both sides. Tens of thousands of children find themselves in the midst of violence no child should ever experience.
World Vision recognizes the issues driving the violence are complex without easy solutions. Yet violence and oppression – whether in the form of indiscriminate rockets, stone throwing by youth, racism, lawfare, evictions, demolitions, riots, clashes, the disproportionate uses of force and violations of international law – are not the answer. World Vision abhors violence and injustice, especially actions that threaten the lives of children and their well-being, both physically and psychologically. The violence and injustice contribute to and compound already heart-breaking and difficult problems that already threaten the lives of children who are growing up in conflict and fragility with poor services and little protection.
World Vision prays all stakeholders will take immediate action to cease hostilities and restore calm so alternative strategies to address root issues can be explored and the lives of children safeguarded. We pray that along with other humanitarian actors, we will be able to immediately assist affected children. We pray for all the mothers and fathers grieving the loss of their children or caring for children in the midst of their fear and uncertainty. Our hearts especially break over learning a fellow humanitarian staff member from another faith-based organization experienced the unimaginable tragedy of losing five of her children in Gaza last night. We ask all supporters to join us in prayer for those in pain and in calling for restraint.
For over 45 years, World Vision has worked to improve the lives of children in Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza. In FY20, we reached 138,213 individual children, of which 74% are categorically considered most vulnerable in the West Bank. Our programmes focus on early childhood development, child protection, and community resilience.
World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. We believe every child is created equal in God’s sight and therefore deserves a life with dignity, a better future, and a chance to reach their full potential.
World Vision programs serving 40,000 children in Gaza have been suspended since August 2016. The people of Gaza are in desperate need of humanitarian support. More than 60% of households are food insecure and unemployment more than 49%. Organizations like ours are needed and we do not know if we will be able to return.