The weeks since the horrifying October 7 Hamas attack have been devastating for both Israeli and Palestinian children.
During the atrocities on October 7, Hamas terrorists murdered 1,200 people in Israel, among them at least 38 children and babies. Many children were left orphaned. The terrorists abducted more than 240 hostages, including at least 32 children, among them a 9-month-old baby, and removed them to Gaza. Another hostage was nine months pregnant at the time of her abduction and is believed to have given birth in captivity. Many adult hostages, including nursing mothers, were separated from their infants and children.
In Gaza, over 11,000 Palestinians, including nearly 4,000 children, have lost their lives in the aerial bombardment and war. An additional 6,360 children have sustained life-altering injuries. The situation is dire, as at least 2,260 Palestinians, including 1,270 children, are missing, presumed trapped or deceased under the rubble. In the West Bank, Israeli settlers or military forces have killed 41 Palestinian children. With nearly half of Gaza's 2.2 million population under 18 years old, pervasive airstrikes have led to the closure or destruction of hundreds of schools, while the complete siege on basic necessities exacerbates the suffering.
The impact on vulnerable populations, particularly pregnant women and newborns, is disproportionately severe. Approximately 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza face dire conditions, unable to access emergency obstetric services, with some forced to give birth in unsanitary shelters. Incubators and medical supplies for premature babies are scarce due to electricity shortages. Malnutrition, already a concern prior to the conflict, is worsening, and a looming water crisis poses a serious threat, especially for nursing mothers.
While the Biden Administration has been working to negotiate the release of more hostages and has secured an expansion of humanitarian supplies arriving into Gaza, as well as daily four-hour pauses in the fighting, more must be done to protect the lives of innocent children.
That is why we are supporting a new letter being circulated by Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) calling on the administration to:
- Push for an immediate cessation of hostilities against targets with a civilian presence to facilitate the timely evacuation and protection of children and babies.
- Make every effort to secure the release of the hostages.
- Secure immediate access of humanitarian organizations such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent to Israeli children abducted by terrorists and still being held in Gaza