75% of casualties in Gaza are civilians. One in 5 are children.Palestinian Death Toll Tops 500 Obama: 'Serious Concern' Over Mounting Casualties... 13 Israeli Soldiers Dead... Kerry Heads To Middle East
* More than 500 killed in densely-populated enclave
* 121 children killed, 900 wounded, UNICEF says
* More than 1.2 mln in Gaza have no or little water
* Ready-to-eat food stocks running low, WFP warns
* Three hospitals among 18 damaged health facilities (adds statements by UNRWA and WHO)
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, July 22 (Reuters) - Palestinian civilians in densely-populated Gaza have no place to hide from Israel's military offensive and children are paying the heaviest price, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip, saying no ceasefire was near as U.S. and U.N. diplomats pursued talks on halting fighting that has claimed more than 600 lives as the conflict entered its third week.
"There is literally no safe place for civilians," Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told a news briefing in Geneva.
The death toll is rising in the coastal enclave which has an estimated 4,500 people per square kilometer, he said. The priority for aid agencies was protecting civilians and evacuating and treating the wounded.
Nearly 500 homes have been destroyed by Israeli air strikes and 100,000 people have sought shelter in schools of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), where they need food, water and mattresses, he said.
"This number continues to increase by the hour," UNRWA said in a statement on Tuesday, raising its emergency funding appeal to $115 million from $60 million.
Israel began air strikes on the coastal strip on July 8, saying it wanted to halt missile fire out of Gaza by Hamas militants, and launched a ground offensive last Thursday.
"The ongoing ground incursion, begun 18 July, has greatly accelerated the casualty rate over the past two days, as well as the numbers of displaced families," the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.
Twenty-nine Israelis, 27 of them soldiers, have died.
But the overwhelming majority of people killed so far in the conflict are Palestinians, including 121 Gaza children under age 18, Juliette Touma of the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) said.
More than 900 Palestinian children are also reported to have been injured, according to UNICEF.
"According to an assessment by aid workers on ground at least 107,000 children need psycho-social support for the trauma they are experiencing such as death, injury or loss of their homes," Laerke said.
LIMITED WATER, HOSPITALS HIT
More than 1.2 million of the 1.8 million people in the enclave have no water or only limited access to water as power networks have been damag
So far, 56 Israelis have signed a petition saying they refuse to serve in the Israeli military reserves. We talk to one of them today.
"We are more than 50 Israelis who were once soldiers and now declare our refusal to be part of the reserves. We oppose the Israeli Army and the conscription law. Partly, that’s because we revile the current military operation," writes Yael Even Or in her open letter in the Washington Post.
She joins us today to tell her story.
1800 eyes for 60 eyes.
1800 teeth for 60 teeth.
The bloodthirsty, criminal warmongers of Israel failed to appreciate the strength of the children of Gaza.