As the Israel-Hamas conflict moves into its second week, countless children of Gaza are seen bearing the brunt of a conflict that is rapidly going out of hand. Most of the little ones have repeatedly witnessed the agony and trauma of losing their loved ones in Israel’s extensive attacks on the Gaza strip.
Suzy Ishkontana, a 7-year-old innocent girl is one such name. Two days earlier, she was dug out of the remains of her family home which was wrecked amid a series of Israeli airstrikes. She spent a number of hours struggling to find her way out of the ruins as her family members died around her.
Suzy is among the countless children who have been subjected to immense trauma and pain due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Several young lives have been lost in the bloodshed. According to Gaza health officials, 63 children out of a total of 217 Palestinians have been brutally killed in the fighting that began on May 10. On the other side, 12 people have been killed by the rockets fired by Hamas, including a 5-year-old boy.
The Israel-Hamas conflict has been a persistent issue that has flared up at least four times in the last 12 years. Each time, Israel launches a number of heavy airstrikes at the Gaza strip, killing hundreds of Palestinian civilians as a result.
Israel has declared that it has made every effort possible to prevent civilians from getting hurt, including clear warnings for people to leave buildings that are about to be hit by an airstrike.
During the conflict, Hamas fired several rocket barrages into Israel. However, most of the rockets were stopped by the Iron Dome, the Israeli anti-missile defense system.
On the other hand, Israel has launched a series of strikes on the populated Gaza strip, where some 2 million people are left fighting for their lives. Social media has been overwhelmed by videos that capture the profound grief of people who have lost their families, some in an instant. A small clip showed a young boy running to his father’s funeral procession, crying “Baba” as a group of men took his father away for burial.
“They were four! Where are they? Four!” screamed a heartbroken father outside a medical center after finding out about the death of all his four children. The Ishkontana family also crumbled into pieces as a massive bombing hit the homes of Gaza city. Riad Ishkontana spoke about the struggle while buried under rubble for five hours, unable to reach anyone.
In a conversation with The Associated Press, Riad stated how he could hear two of his children, Dana and Zain calling out to him. But the voices faded and Riad realized that his children had died. Suzy is the only child of the Ishkontana family who survived the bombing.
Despite surviving the bombing, the weight of the Israel-Hamas conflict mingled with the death of her family members has left the young girl in a depressed state. As Riad spoke to the Associated Press, Suzy sat next to him, looking desolate and unhappy. When asked what she wanted to be when she grows up, she turned her face away. Upon Riad interjecting and saying she wants to be a doctor, the 7-year-old girl began weeping uncontrollably.
The Ishkontana are just one family out of hundreds who have suffered due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Even after a week into the fighting, Israel is still launching airstrikes into Gaza, killing innocent civilians like the Ishkontana family each day.