Israeli assaults on Gaza continued for the 10th day on Wednesday, May 19. Fresh airstrikes by the Israeli military on besieged Gaza in the early hours of Wednesday killed at least six Palestinians, including a family of three and a journalist working with the Al-Aqsa radio. Eight others were injured in the airstrikes which reports said destroyed seven residential houses and a youth center in the Khan Younis town in Southern Gaza besides also leveling a charity center in the town of Rafah.
The death toll in Gaza increased to 227, including 64 children and 38 women on Wednesday. Around 1,530 have reportedly been injured and 72,000 have been internally displaced. The already fragile civilian infrastructure in Gaza too suffered further damage. 50 schools were hit in the airstrikes, impacting close to 42,000 Palestinian children according to Save the Children. 450 residential buildings have either been completely destroyed or suffered extensive damage.
On Tuesday the Norwegian Refugee Council revealed that 11 of the 63 children killed in Gaza were receiving trauma care, participating in its psycho-social program to cope with past trauma.
The World Health Organization said that the airstrikes have partly or fully destroyed at least 18 hospitals, clinics and another health facility. As a result, half of the essential drugs are also out of stock. Airstrikes on important roads near the hospitals, including to Gaza’s main Al-Shifa hospital, have also caused disruption in the movement of ambulances and vehicles carrying drugs and other essential medical equipment.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) appealed for urgent international humanitarian assistance to the tune of USD 37 million to help internally displaced Gaza residents.
Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, Israeli military forces yesterday cracked down violently on Palestinians demonstrating against the Israeli attacks on Gaza as well as the recent acts of violence in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and the eviction of Palestinian residing in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinians in the occupied territories as well as Palestinian citizens of Israel staged mass protests and a general strike yesterday.
Reports suggest that the brutal Israeli crackdown resulted in three Palestinian protesters being killed and 140 others wounded. Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters with tear gas, sound bombs, metal batons, stun grenades, skunk water, while also shooting at them with live and rubber-coated metal bullets. According to the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (ADALAH), 58 Palestinian-Israelis were detained for taking part in the protests. Wafa News Agency reported that 21 Palestinians were arrested across the occupied West Bank.
As the Israeli violence rages on, international efforts being made to end the death and destruction have so far proved unsuccessful. The United States is blocking three UN security council statements calling for an end to the violence. The Israeli government has also made it clear that it is not interested in a ceasefire at the moment.
Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza fired rockets towards Israel in response the Israeli violence and the subsequent aerial bombings. Most of the rockets were intercepted by the Israeli missile defense systems. 12 Israelis have been killed as a result of the rocket attacks, with 300 others suffering injuries.