Don't Palestinian children have a right to play?
While the eyes of the world are on Qatar World Cup, which begins on November 20, Palestinian Children maimed by the 2014 Israeli aggression in Gaza raised their voices: “We have a right to play”.
On November 17, 2022, an event titled "We Have a Right to Play" was organized to be a platform for children injured as a result of Israeli aggressions on the Strip.
The event took place just a few days before the 22nd FIFA World Cup, which will take place in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December 2022. It is the first World Cup held in an Arab country.
“We have a right to play”
Gaza’s children had one demand: the right to play -- a part of the internationally recognized human rights of children.
"That every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts," the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child reads.
However, the Israeli occupation has deprived Palestinian children of their basic rights including their rights to play, instead killing and maiming them on daily basis.
A year has passed since the Israeli aggression on #Gaza.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 10, 2022
Pictures show #Palestinian kids rescuing their little toys to play with while sitting on top of their destroyed houses, and other kids mourning the death of some family member. #Palestine pic.twitter.com/IddB647nVB
With no place to hide and no safe haven to take refuge in, and with hundreds killed and thousands injured, 91% of children in Gaza were left with deep emotional trauma.
A mostly silent consequence of the heinous war is its impact on the mental and psychosocial well-being of people who are already living under the brutal Israeli occupation. This is particularly true for children.
"They went to the beach to play"
When mentioning the World cup or football in Gaza, people choke on their grief, recalling the Gaza City beach massacres.
The 2014 Gaza war beach massacres occurred on July 9 and 16, 2014, during the Israeli brutal aggression on Gaza. In the first massacre, Israeli missiles murdered nine teenagers while they were watching the 2014 World Cup on television; in the second, four youngsters were killed by Israeli naval fire while playing football on a beach.
The brutal murder of the four boys on a Gaza beach was one example of the innocent lives lost as a result of the Israeli ongoing occupation of Palestine.
At the time, NBC News Foreign Correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin posted on Twitter: “Minutes before they were killed by our hotel, I was kicking a ball with them.”
One of the boys’ relatives tearfully stated: “They went to the beach to play football.”
The Israeli occupation forces have murdered 15 Palestinian children throughout the occupied West Bank so far this year, and are yet to be held accountable.