Hamza Shtewi, 17 or 18, and Hasan Shalabi, 14, were shot dead by Israeli soldiers in Gaza on Friday during “The Great March of Return” weekly protests, Presstv Reported.
In a statement released on Saturday, UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Geert Cappelaere said that the agency was “deeply saddened” by the killings.
“This is another stark reminder of the significant violence that children in the state of Palestine continue to endure. As we mark 30 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is essential that the fundamental rights of children be respected,” he added.
Cappelaere further called for an end to violence against children in the occupied territories.
“It is time that violence against children ends [sic],” he said. “Children are children. They must be protected at all times. Children should never be a target. Nor should they be exposed to any form of violence, by any party.”
On Saturday, thousands of Palestinians attended the funerals of the slain Gazan teens.
The March of Return demonstrations are held every week to demand the right to return of the Palestinians driven out of their homeland by Israeli aggression. They also demand a halt to Israel’s inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.
Israeli forces use live ammunition against protesters in Gaza.
The Gaza Strip has been under a crippling siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008.