13 October 2023
Statement by Olive Kids on the rights of Gazan children for safety
13 October 2023
We, the board of Olive Kids - Australia, are extremely concerned about the wellbeing of Palestinian children in Gaza. In the last few days alone, Israel’s indiscriminate strikes on residential areas, schools, hospitals, universities, orphanages and places of worship, amongst others, has seen the killing of entire families, and the displacement of more than 350,000 Palestinians. It is estimated that over 447 Palestinian children have been killed since the start of the hostilities.
The strikes have levelled entire neighbourhoods, including Remal where our partner, Al-amal Institute for Orphans, is located. The Orphanage has suffered significant damage; children were evacuated, and the facility is no longer operational. Majority of the 400-odd children residing at the Orphanage currently rely on our child sponsorship program, and we have learned that at least ten of those children have been injured. These children are sponsored, and supported, by Australians.
In addition to the devastation caused at the Orphanage, Israel’s assault has also targeted the Islamic University of Gaza. Olive Kids works closely with the University, facilitating a scholarship program funded by Australians for 14 nursing students. We are concerned about the safety of both students and staff, as we have been unable to contact them in the last 24 hours.
To make matters exponentially worse, on Wednesday, 12 October 2023, the Gaza Electricity Power Plant was shut down. The two million strong population of the Gaza Strip is now without electricity and running water, both of which are essential to the running of hospitals, shelters and the like. The consequences of this are unfathomably dire.
Olive Kids stands firm in its position that the indiscriminate bombing of universities, shelters and orphanages, as well the complete and overt siege on all aid, electricity and running water, is not only unconscionable, but a blatant war crime.
We call for the immediate end of the incessant violence and urge the Australian government to take action in stopping the indiscriminate onslaught by Israel on Gazan civilians and children.
Olive Kids has facilitated programs to help the thousands of children suffering from PTSD from the most recent attacks in 2021 and 2022. The scale of the current attack is incomprehensibly worse.
We appeal to all members of Parliament to use their voice to stop the bloodshed.
We urge Australia, and international NGOs, to stand up for the protection and safety of the children. Palestinian children are just as precious as any other child in the world, and deserve to be protected.