UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called Israel to commit to protecting the lives of Palestinian children, who suffered from last year’s air strikes in Gaza and live under fear of detention by the Israeli army in the West Bank.
"Last year was one of the worst in recent memory for children in countries affected by conflict,” the UN chief said on Thursday, adding that he is “deeply alarmed at the suffering of so many children as a result of Israeli military operations in Gaza last year."
Ban’s comments followed the new UN report which marks the “challenges for children in conflict zones around the world.”
In July 2013, more than 500 children were killed after the Israeli army attacked Gaza.
During the air strikes, some of UN-run schools were hit, where thousands of Palestinians were sheltering.
"I urge Israel to take concrete and immediate steps, including by reviewing existing policies and practices, to protect and prevent the killing and maiming of children, and to respect the special protections afforded to schools and hospitals," the UN chief said.
There are 100,000 internally displaced people in Gaza, many of whom are children.
Last year’s lethal air strikes killed more than 2,200 Palestinians.
Israel claims that it had to target some facilities in Gaza, which it says stored rockets of Hamas.
Israel has maintained a total blockade of Gaza since 2006, restricting the entrance of goods and building materials.
Palestinians aim to create an independent state in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, demanding Israel to withdraw from the territories it illegally captured after the 1967 war.
Israel has built hundreds of settlements on the occupied areas, turning a blind eye on objections from the United Nations.