Statement on the Conflict and Violence in Israel and Palestine

We cannot achieve health for all when there is conflict and violence.

The ongoing conflict in Israel and Palestine is a testament to this. Thousands of lives have been lost in a short time, and the suffering continues. Hundreds of thousands of people have been injured, physically displaced, socially disconnected, and traumatized. More than half of the victims are children and adolescents. For them, there are likely to be both immediate and long-term consequences for their physical and mental health and well-being. The impact on their psychosocial development and their future life trajectories will be significant. These adverse experiences directly contravene the rights of all children and adolescents to safety, health and dignity.

The health system in Gaza has reached breaking point, civil society is shattering, and a catastrophic public health crisis is rapidly evolving due to the breakdown of infrastructure, lack of clean water, substantial damage to wastewater infrastructure resulting in flooding of sewage, and food insecurity. Healthcare facilities have been attacked killing hundreds of healthcare providers and civilians, many of whom had sought shelter and refuge there. All daily activities have been disrupted and schools have closed. Children and adolescents are now deprived of their essential means of sustenance and exposed to high risk of infectious and waterborne disease outbreaks due to contaminated water. Many have been orphaned or otherwise separated from parents and siblings and are living in fear, forced to navigate overcrowded and inadequate shelters where they are vulnerable to abuse and maltreatment in these unsecured facilities. Some youth have resorted to suicide out of despair and hopelessness. For those who are injured and unwell, the remaining functioning hospitals, including critical care units, are working beyond capacity and are struggling with an extreme shortage of medications and supplies. Food, fuel, and all of the necessities to ensure the sustainability of life are quickly dwindling. Civilians on both sides are in a constant state of terror, fearful for their own lives and those of their loved ones, some of whom are being held hostage. Children and adolescents are not spared from the psychological ramifications of this constant exposure to fear and the witnessing of violence. The resultant trauma will directly impact the futures of those who survive these atrocities.

The International Association for Adolescent Health condemns all forms of suffering, violence, and atrocities toward humans, especially when it includes children and adolescents1. All children and adolescents across the world deserve to live in safety, with dignity, and among their loved ones.

The very future of an entire generation of young people from both countries of this region – and beyond if the conflict escalates – is in peril. These young people will have to bear the burden of the long-term effects of this conflict. In the future, if young people are to have any chance of living in harmony in the region, adults must model compassion and restraint for them now. The International Association for Adolescent Health calls on the international community to make all efforts to end this war and provide safe access to humanitarian aid and the basic necessities of life immediately. All healthcare facilities and healthcare professionals must be protected to ensure their ability to carry out their ethical responsibilities. Schools need to re-open and be guaranteed as places of safety for children and adolescents. All efforts must be made to provide psychosocial support and effective management of acute and chronic illness among children and adolescents.

Only with peace, will we be able to achieve health for all.


1IAAH Position Statement: War and Conflicts, April 2022. Available at: