US actress says Israeli-besieged Gaza children deserve better

US actress says Israeli-besieged Gaza children deserve better

 US actress and outspoken human rights activist Mia Farrow said on Thursday that children living in Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip deserve a better life.

“The children appear traumatised,” Farrow told a media conference in the Palestinian enclave on the second and final day of a visit as goodwill ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“The teachers say that when they hear a loud noise they (the children) look to the sky and cry out and weep. They don’t know what the future holds,” she told the joint media conference with Egyptian actor Mahmoud Kabil, also a UNICEF ambassador.

“They deserve better,” she said.

Farrow, 64, arrived in Gaza on Wednesday and met children working in smuggling tunnels along the Egypt border, toured a school and a hospital and was briefed on the impact on children of the Israeli war on Gaza as well as the Israeli siege.

Later on Thursday Farrow was due to visit the Israeli town of Sderot, which has borne the brunt of Gaza resistance rocket fire. She is to make several visits in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories of Jerusalem and the West Bank before leaving for Jordan on Sunday.

Once a fashion model, Farrow has appeared in more than 40 films, including 13 in which she co-starred with Woody Allen, with whom she had a 12-year relationship.

A high-profile advocate for children’s rights and the mother of 14, 10 of them adopted, Farrow has worked to draw attention to polio, which she survived as a child, and has visited conflict zones in Africa.

Time magazine put her on its list of the world’s most influential people last year.

Israel’s war on Gaza killed nearly 1,400 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and wounded 5,450 others.

The war also left tens of thousands of houses destroyed, while their residents remained homeless.

Israel, which wants to crush any Palestinian liberation movement, responded to Hamas’s win in the elections with sanctions, and almost completely blockaded the impoverished coastal strip after Hamas seized power in 2007, although a ‘lighter’ siege had already existed before.

Human rights groups, both international and Israeli, slammed Israel’s siege of Gaza, branding it “collective punishment.”

A group of international lawyers and human rights activists had also accused Israel of committing “genocide” through its crippling blockade of the Strip.

Gaza is still considered under Israeli occupation as Israel controls air, sea and land access to the Strip.

The Rafah crossing with Egypt, Gaza’s sole border crossing that bypasses Israel, rarely opens as Egypt is under immense US and Israeli pressure to keep the crossing shut.

Fatah has little administrative say in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and has no power in Arab east Jerusalem, both of which were illegally occupied by Israel in 1967.

Israel also currently occupies the Lebanese Shabaa Farms and the Syrian Golan Heights.