By KATIE SCHLECHTER, IndyKids Staff
On August 26, 2014, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that Israel’s attack on the Gaza strip that began on July 8 killed 2,076 Palestinians, including 1,454 civilians (70 percent), of whom 491 are children (24 percent). On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and five civilians, including one child, have been killed.
Switzerland-based organization Defence for Children International called for “an immediate end to Israeli attacks that target civilian structures and violate international humanitarian law.”
This is not the first time that Gazans have experienced bombardments by the Israeli Defense Forces. According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, during similar operations in Gaza in 2009 and 2012, Israeli military forces killed 1,565 Palestinians, including 375 children.
The damage doesn’t end when the bombing stops. The U.N. estimates that 400,000 children in Gaza are in need of psychological treatment due to trauma from the lengthy attacks.
After the strikes in 2009, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) found that 75 percent of kids older than six showed one or more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In an interview with the Guardian, Psychologist Hasan Zeyada who works with the GCMHP said, “The majority of children suffer many psychological and social consequences. Insecurity and feelings of helplessness and powerlessness are overwhelming.”
Since the latest attacks these symptoms will probably be worse, predicts Zeyada. “Any child above six years old has now been exposed to three wars. We are talking about a traumatized generation. They will perceive the world as dangerous, and they will have a lot of frustration and anger.”
Post-traumatic stress disorder: a person can experience this condition of mental and emotional stress resulting from one or more shocking events. Also known as PTSD.