Cape Town: Amid the conflict in Gaza where many Palestinians including children were killed, volunteers dressed up as clowns to try to bring some cheer to the traumatised children.
Following three days of fighting, on Sunday an Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) militant organisation came into effect after at least 15 children and 44 Palestinians were killed due to air strikes.
South China Morning News reported that the volunteers dressed up as clowns and shared balloons as they entertained the children in southern Gaza.
“The children are psychologically very tired but we were able to bring happiness to their hearts with the clowns and puppets,” said organiser Ahmed Jarbou.
According to Xinhua News Agency, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed alarm at the high number of Palestinians who were killed and injured during the latest escalation.
“Inflicting hurt on any child during the course of conflict is deeply disturbing, and the killing and maiming of so many children this year is unconscionable,” Bachelet said on Thursday.
The UN human rights office said its figures showed that in the past week, 19 Palestinian children had been killed in the occupied Palestinian territory, bringing the death toll since the start of this year to 37.
“The situation in Palestine is extremely fragile, and events such as in Nablus risk igniting further hostilities in Gaza. The utmost restraint is necessary to prevent further blood,” he said.