Children are pictured on a street of the historic district of Gaza City, Palestinian Territories, 01 June 2015. Nearly a year after the latest conflict that killed more than 2,200 people, the residents of the densely populated Palestinian region are still struggling with the aftermath. Photo: Jens Buettner/dpa

Children are pictured on a street of the historic district of Gaza City, Palestinian Territories, 01 June 2015. Nearly a year after the latest conflict that killed more than 2,200 people, the residents of the densely populated Palestinian region are still struggling with the aftermath. Photo: Jens Buettner/dpa

One year on from the beginning of the war in Gaza, the BBC have aired a documentary showcasing the suffering of children in the battle-scarred Strip.

The broadcaster’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet travelled there amidst intense criticism of Israel for not doing enough to protect civilians during last year’s hostilities, with more than 500 children killed.

Among the children Doucet meets are Syed, a 12-year old boy who was among a group of kids playing on a beach on 16 July when the Israeli Air Force bombed them mistakenly, killing his brother and three others. 

Doucet met Syed a year ago, during the fighting, reporting at the time that “children are dying in growing numbers and childhood itself is being destroyed”. On her return one year on, she says: “Some of the joy has returned for young Gazans, but some is gone forever.”

During an emotional documentary, she also meets Abdurahman, 12, who lost 18 members of his family and who now wants to become a Hamas fighter when he grows up.

Meanwhile Samar, also 12, explains how she took refuge in a U.N. school with her parents and four siblings after being told to leave their home by the Israeli military.

But the school was bombed in the middle of the night, in an attack which killed her father and left her mother in intensive care. Samar survived, after being pulled from the rubble. “What does all this have to do with us?” she asks.

The veteran journalist also looks at the suffering in Israel, with children living in fear of rocket attacks and gunmen raiding from underground tunnels.

A BBC spokesperson said the programme “reveals how children born so close are growing further apart with each war”.

Michal, 10, who lives in the kibbutz of Nahal Oz, less than a mile from the Gaza border, is shown taking refuge from the fighting, return to discover that their home has been hit. Days later Michal’s neighbour, four-year-old Daniel Tregerman, is killed by a rocket attack.

“It’s so not fair. Your home is supposed to be the safest place in the world for you. But it’s just not true. We can’t just keep running away. It’s not because of us. It’s not because of Gaza kids,” says Michal.

Similarly, 12-year old Eilon, who lives in Sderot close to the Gaza border and sleeps in a bomb-proof safe-room, knows nothing but war, having been born the year the rocket attacks began.

A BBC spokesperson said the programme “reveals how children born so close are growing further apart with each war”.

The programme led to Israeli lobbyists offering “proper briefings to counter the BBC”. David Bedein, from the Center for Near East Policy Research, said he would “demonstrate how the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) and Hamas manipulates children in Gaza to die as martyrs”.