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    Palestinian children pose for a photo in Jebaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 14, 2015.

    UNICEF Expresses Concerns Over Reported Violence Against Children in Gaza Strip

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    Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate Amid Gaza Violence (126)
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - All sides must take precautions to protect children in the Gaza Strip, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Geert Cappelaere said on Tuesday.

    “It is imperative that all actors on all sides put the protection of children first. Children should never be the target of violence and must not be put at risk of violence nor encouraged to participate in violence,” he said in a statement, adding that in the last 10 days three children were killed and dozens more were seriously injured there.

    The coastal territory has in recent days been rocked by ongoing protests at the border with Israel in which Palestinians are demanding the right of Gaza refugees to return to homes that they fled during the 1948 war. At least 30 demonstrators have been killed by the Israeli army during protests over the past two weeks.

    Deploring such acts of violence, Cappelaere recalled the dire conditions in which children live in the region.  In particular, he noted that one in four children in the territory — or 250,000 kids — requires psychological support due to past trauma. The UNICEF representative also noted that the unemployment rate among young people in Gaza exceeds 60 percent.

    The Gaza Strip is one of the territories claimed by Palestine. Israel and Egypt have been imposing a blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007, severely restricting imports and exports to and from the territory, as well as the freedom of movement for the enclave's inhabitants. Israel says the blockade is needed for security reasons.

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    Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate Amid Gaza Violence (126)

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    protests, violence, children, UNICEF, Palestine, Israel, Gaza
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