Submitted by a mum from Dublin
Mohammed Baker was 11-years-old, Ahed Baker and Zakaria Baker were 10 and Ismail Baker was only 9.
Yesterday these children were brutally killed while playing on the beach near their homes in Gaza, resulting in one family losing four of its youngest members.
A small fisherman’s shack left in smouldering ruins was the beginning of another horrifying day for people in Gaza, following the first rocket from an Israeli air strike on a fishing harbour.
Locals saw a group of children emerge from the shack, running as fast as they could away from the rising smoke.
The same locals then witnessed a second strike land directly behind the children.
A few of them made it to the safety of a nearby hotel where staff and residents tended to their bleeding shrapnel wounds.
The four young cousins were not as fortunate. The Israeli army has called these deaths “tragic”.
This seems like a tasteless understatement when you realise that the deaths of those four children brought the number of Palestinians killed in the nine-day conflict to at least 215, with thousands more injured. One of those killed was a five-month-old baby.
This contrasts severely with the one Israeli death that has occurred so far – a civilian bringing food to Israeli soldiers.
Following the incident – one of a number in Gaza on Wednesday – Israel announced it would honour a five-hour “humanitarian truce” which began this morning at 8am Irish time. They have urged Palestinians in Gaza to evacuate, signalling that they will soon begin a ground strike on the region.
Innocent men, women, children, the elderly – families – are now stuck helplessly in this warzone. Should they abandon their homes – the place they watched their children grow, the place they made so many memories – or put their lives at risk? And if they flee, where exactly are they supposed to go?
War is never fair and this bloodshed is as unbalanced as it could possibly be. It's David versus Goliath. The population density of the Gaza Strip is significant, meaning the Israeli army is practically guaranteed civilian casualties with every rocket launched at Palestinians.
Israel has F-16 fighter jets, Apache attack helicopters and armed drones, extensive defence mechanisms for soldiers and civilians, and even an Iron Dome that can shoot down missiles. Residents of the Gaza Strip can’t even begin to defend themselves adequately – they don’t stand a chance.
Israel has come under sharp criticism from human rights organisations for its tactics, with many accusing them of war crimes. If killing children like like isn't a war crime, what is?
Meanwhile, President Obama briefly addressed the situation, saying: “We are all heartbroken by the violence . . . especially the death and injury of so many innocent civilians in Gaza.”
He also said the United States would use all their “diplomatic resources and relationships” to bring about a lasting ceasefire, while continuing “to support efforts to protect civilians in Israel and Gaza”.
It’s frustrating to see a man with so much influence choosing to look the other way and to support Israel, instead of taking positive action – something that could define the end of his presidency.
But even more frustrating is seeing so many of these devastating deaths go relative unnoticed in the Irish media.  With some notable exceptions, our politicians remain silent.
It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives, but it’s hard not to feel some shame when we realise that these unimaginable horrors carried on in Gaza while Ireland fell to pieces over the loss of a few Garth Brooks gigs.
We were oblivious to the heartbreak of families not so different from ours; oblivious to the deaths of children not so different from ours.
We’ll be watching what happens in Gaza with heavy hearts and giving our sons and daughters extra tight hugs tonight.  I am alone in feeling shame that this is happening and wanting to take action on this?