A mural depicting a child holding a Palestinian flag and another holding an Israeli flag has been “defaced”.

Circle of Toys, an initiative to help disadvantaged children through toy gifts, revealed last week that it was behind the new mural in Old Street, Shoreditch.

The painting shows two small girls stood side-by-side – one in a hijab clutching an Israeli flag and a teddy bear, and another in dungarees holding a Palestinian flag.

Writing on the image reads – “Toys4Peace” and “AllChildrenAreInnocent.com”.

Circle of Toys has already sent thousands of pre-loved toys to Ukrainian children and said it hoped the new mural would help children affected by the Israel-Hamas conflict.

But the initiative revealed this morning (February 27) that its mural has been defaced with red spray paint.

The graffiti reads: “Palestinian children killed since 07.09.23 – 11, 500. Funded by your taxes. Murder is murder.”

While the date is wrong, the words reference the number of children killed in the Gaza strip since October 7 last year.

Israel has carried out an extensive military campaign in the enclave after Hamas launched attacks across the border.

Circle for Toys says that is has received requests from families in the affected areas in the past few weeks.

Circle of Toys founder Arthur Corvin-Powells said: “As we watch the news and learn more about the conflicts going on around the world, we see so many individuals taking sides, but the side we really should be on is the side of the truly innocent: the children and the lives lost through reasons beyond their control.

“The purpose of our murals is to share this message with as many people as possible and to provide them with the means to help out, as sometimes on social media you see these issues but are rarely given a way to help.

He added: “Just think, if every child in a difficult situation grew up knowing that someone out there cared enough to send them a toy, couldn’t that make the world a little better?

“But for that to happen, we need to find as many gift-givers to ensure every child can feel that love. 

“We have enough toys in the world to make this happen, yet most end up being thrown away. But, one child’s outgrown toy is another’s treasure and a symbol of peace and pure joy.”