Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gazan children psychologically damaged after war - 23 Feb 09

Sidebar for this video:

Aid agencies say the psychological effects of the Israeli offensive on Gaza have been heavy, particularly on children.

Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull talks to one nine year old boy about his experiences and how he is dealing with them now


Abe Bird said...

What about the psychological effects on the Israelis, particulary on children, because of the Hamas aggression?
Do you intend to bring us a link to an article on the subject?

Do you think that Hamas shouldn't be responsible and blamed for the out come?

Mac said...

There hasn'tbeen anything recently that I am aware of, but not a problem to link to an old article:

It was with great expectations that we applauded the six-month truce that began in June 2008, because this 60 year conflict damages children on all sides, yet even the Israeli State admits that it had begun preparing the Gaza assault well before agreeing to the truce, so they never intended to nourish the peace process. They have only fed the endless cycle of violence more. Both sides share blame in hurting children, but there seems to be no will to reconciliation or peace that can break the cycle.

Here's the article:

UN humanitarian chief condemns Palestinian rocket attacks

The Associated Press
Sunday, February 17, 2008
SDEROT, Israel: A Palestinian rocket struck a house in this southern Israeli border town on Sunday, shortly after the U.N.'s top humanitarian official condemned Palestinians for the near-daily rocket barrages and urged the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers to halt the attacks.

No one was wounded in the attack, but Sderot has been struck by thousands of homemade rockets from Gaza. Twelve people have been killed in recent years and dozens wounded, including an 8-year-old boy who lost a leg in an attack last week.

"We condemn absolutely the firing of these rockets. There's no justification for it. They are indiscriminate, there's no military target," John Holmes, the U.N. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, told The Associated Press during a visit to Sderot.

Israeli airstrikes and ground incursions into Gaza have killed dozens of militants in recent months, but have failed to stop the rockets. Israeli leaders have warned that a broad ground operation is increasingly likely if the rocket fire persists.

Holmes, however, said the only way to solve the problem is through a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

"At the end of the day, the only thing that will make a lasting difference is a peace settlement," he said. "You can't stop these problems militarily. They have to be solved through negotiations."

Israel is trying to negotiate a peace agreement with the moderate Palestinian government in the West Bank. At the same time, Israel is battling the rival Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

Holmes is on a five-day trip to the region, his first visit as humanitarian affairs chief. He visited Gaza on Saturday, and will spend Monday in meetings with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem.

He opened his visit on Friday by saying the Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip has created "grim and miserable" conditions that deprive Gazans of their basic dignity and urged a reopening of the borders.

During Sunday's tour of Sderot, Holmes visited a school, a lookout point onto Gaza and met with trauma victims.

Holmes nodded quietly as residents, some in tears, told their personal stories of anguish. A local men lifted his shirt and showed Holmes a shrapnel wound on his belly as a woman told him how she had lost a fetus after going into shock when a Qassam rocket landed near her. The woman added that a teenage daughter of hers had attempted to cut her wrists after one rocket attack.

Holmes said he felt "incredibly sorry" for the people of Sderot, noting the traumatic psychological effects the attacks have had on children. "We just need to keep on saying to the people in Gaza, to the Hamas leadership, they have to stop these rockets. They do no good. They cause suffering," he said.

Hamas, which violently seized control of Gaza last June, has refused to rein in rocket-firing militants, who have stated their goal is to empty Sderot of its people.

Sderot residents have been staging protests against the government for the past week, demanding more protection and harsher action against Gaza militants.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet that the government would soon allocate the needed funds to fortify all homes within 4.5 kilometers (3 miles) of the Gaza Strip.

Also visiting Sderot Sunday was U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona. He voiced his support for the residents and also commended the killing of Hezbollah mastermind Imad Mughniyeh, who was targeted in a car explosion Tuesday in the Syrian capital of Damascus by unknown attackers.

"Whoever took this terrorist out sent a message that there is a price they have to pay," he said. "I know some say this is a rallying cry for the terrorists. But they don't need a rallying cry. They already created the problem. There's no reason not to go after their leaders with everything we have."