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HomeInternational newsIsraeli/Hamas war: the plight of Persons with disabilities

Israeli/Hamas war: the plight of Persons with disabilities

Person with disability in Gaza

Israeli/Hamas war: the plight of Persons with disabilities

By Shingirirai Muchena

Since its eruption, on the 7th of October last year the Israeli/Hamas war has so far led to the deaths of more than 20,000 and displaced more than 1.7 million civilians in the Gaza area, and the bulk of this number is made up of women and children who are caught up in the crossfire of bombardment carried out by the Israeli soldiers in the Gaza strip.

Among the most affected groups are persons with disabilities, many of whom are unable to escape the wrath of the war and end up on the losing side either injured or killed.

This act of injustice is against statutes of international organizations like the United Nations which states that in the event of war innocent civilians must be spared as they would not be in any position to defend themselves but in this case, the biggest causalities of this bitter confrontation between the warring parties has been people with disabilities and this has laid bare the harsh reality that some nations ignore statutes that they are signatories to.

People with disabilities (both physical and mental) have largely had challenges in having a meaningful life regardless of their physical or mental appearances which is down to the tensions that have existed between Israel and Palestine over the years but this ongoing conflict has worsened the situation as they face uncertainty due to the inaccessibility of the community they live in which is a hindrance to their quest to have a meaningful life.

According to the Arab News, persons with disabilities face direct threats not only to their dignity but the very existence of their human rights as well, “horrendous catastrophe” is the best way to describe the war on Gaza as around 300,000 people with disabilities have had additional acute challenges which include their safety, housing, and access to basic items that they need to stay healthy.

The Israeli military has always maintained that it does not target civilians but due to challenges brought by this conflict issues like communication blackouts and other shortcomings in the provision of basic information have proved to be the biggest stumbling block in the safe evacuation and protection of civilians in the Gaza area and while in some cases if the information is accessible many have found it to be very distorted and confusing as media organizations have reported that Israel has in most cases passed out vague information on the evacuation orders and has gone on to target areas they would have deemed safe before the attacks.

Impossible has been the task of persons with disabilities especially those with mobility challenges to flee from the war and this has led to both injuries and deaths in worst-case scenarios.

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