GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- More than three thousand students from the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees are expected to break the first of four Guinness world records Thursday as part of a summer games program organized by UNRWA.
The games, a six week recreational program now in its fifth year, are organized by the UN agency at the behest of the Gaza population and over a quarter of a million children participate, a statement by UNRWA said.
The world records being attempted include the largest amount of people flying large parachutes from the ground, which was set last year at 1,547. The event will be held at the Khan Younis stadium.
“We intend to double the previous record”, said UNRWA spokesman, Chris Gunness.
“If kids in Gaza are given half the chance, free from the constraints of this counter-productive blockade, they would show their full potential and be number one in the world. These records will put the spotlight on the world’s only community of hundreds of thousands of fenced in and locked up children.
"The message is simple: Give Gaza kids their freedom to be children. We need to end this blockade, which has become a blockade against childhood itself.”
The Summer Games will culminate at the end of July in an attempt by up to ten thousand children to smash their own record set last year for kite flying.
“More than half of the Gaza Strip is under 18, children too young to have expressed a political opinion at the ballot box. Why should they pay such a high price and lose their childhood? Each one is an Ambassador for the next generation, an example to all of what is possible under the most appalling circumstances”, said Chris Gunness.
Israel placed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2007 after Hamas took control of the coastal enclave.
Rights agencies have condemned the blockade as a form of collective punishment of the 1.6 million Gaza residents.