Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 27th, 2014

Pause from killing children? What for?

For how long? 24 hours?

It’s more fun shooting at sitting duck kids

SLIDE SHOW|13 Photos

Surveying the Damage in Gaza

Surveying the Damage in Gaza

Credit Wissam Nassar for The New York Times

JERUSALEM — When a temporary cease-fire began on Saturday morning, Akram Qassim joined the throngs of Palestinians who emerged from their homes and temporary shelters. But when he reached his extended family’s three-story building, he found only a crater left by an Israeli airstrike.

“I expected that maybe a shell had hit it and caused some damage,” Mr. Qassim said. “But this is an earthquake.

Saturday’s cease-fire provided the first daylong relief from violence for civilians on both sides of the conflict since the start of the 19-day war between Israel and Palestinian militants.

The 12-hour lull granted people an ability to move (except to a Palestinian village in Gaza) that is still under attack) with Israelis visiting their troops and Palestinians discovering damaged neighborhoods and dead bodies.

More than 140 bodies were recovered across Gaza on Saturday — including 21 members of one family — raising the Palestinian death toll to 1,139, most of them civilians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. On the Israeli side, 42 soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

Graphic: The Toll in Gaza and Israel, Day by Day

On Saturday evening, Israel’s top ministers decided to extend the lull for 24 hours, but said Israeli troops would continue their efforts to destroy tunnels. Palestinian fighters renewed their rocket fire at Israel, and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, said it rejected any cease-fire that did not include the withdrawal of Israeli troops.

The vast destruction in communities across Gaza shocked residents who had fled their homes, and reactions to it could play a role in negotiations over the terms of a longer cease-fire.

Israel has said its offensive is intended to halt rocket fire by Palestinian fighters and to destroy the extensive network of tunnels — some of them concrete-reinforced — that militants use for combat, smuggling, and sneaking fighters into Israel.

This is likely to mean that the Israelis will insist on continuing strict border controls on materials that could be used to build more tunnels.

But Hamas is seeking an agreement that would ease the movement of goods into Gaza from Israel and Egypt — a goal it seeks desperately and may fight to obtain.

“If there is an agreement for a cease-fire, that’s great,” said Mohammed Abu Jama in Al Zanna, an area of central Gaza where power lines had been blown down, an abandoned Israeli military trailer stood in the street and dozens of houses bore the scars of intense clashes.

But Mr. Abu Jama, whose own house was damaged, said any agreement had to include an opening of the crossings that tightly control all movement in and out of Gaza.

And if there is no agreement, we want the resistance to continue fighting,” he said.

Visits to Al Zanna and two other front-line neighborhoods on Saturday revealed destruction that in places stretched for blocks, with walls punctured by artillery shells, buildings reduced to rubble and streets erased by yawning craters.

The destruction in the Shujaiya neighborhood of eastern Gaza City, site of some of the worst fighting, was so extensive that in some places it was impossible to spot an undamaged building.

Scores of buildings, including a hospital and a mosque, had also been damaged or destroyed here in the northern town of Beit Hanoun.

As news of the pause spread though Gaza on Saturday morning, Mariam Fayyad joined the crowds rushing to the area. Many spoke on cellphones with relatives elsewhere, wailing when they received reports of their destroyed homes.

At one point, two men in black face masks who were carrying assault rifles approached from the opposite direction, suggesting that fighters were using the pause to change positions.

Entering her white, three-bedroom house surrounded by fruit trees, Ms. Fayyad let out a wail and ran from room to room, inspecting the damage. Artillery shells had punched holes in the walls and ceiling, doors had been blown from their hinges and rubble covered the floor.

The metal bathtub, crumpled like a tin can, sat in the kitchen.

Photo

Israeli civilians and soldiers used a bathroom as  a bomb shelter during a rocket attack near the border with Gaza on Saturday. Credit Uriel Sinai for The New York Times

“All the money we had went to this, everything we tired ourselves out for,” said her husband, Ibrahim. Both are teachers and had built the house from scratch, moving in two years ago, they said.

Tragedy also struck the al-Najjar family, whose house in central Gaza was struck by an Israeli airstrike before dawn on Saturday, killing 21 people.

“I was on the balcony when the hit came, and I don’t remember anything after that until I woke up in the hospital,” said Hussein al-Najjar, who lost his father, mother, one brother, two sisters and two sons, ages 1 and 6, in the strike.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, could not explain the airstrike some 19 hours after it happened.

“We’ve been unable to determine the target at this time,” he said late Saturday, adding that militants in the area could have fired antitank missiles, drawing an Israeli response.

Israel says that it strives to avoid killing civilians and blames Hamas for putting them in danger by fighting from residential areas and storing weapons there.

Israeli troops remained in place across Gaza during the lull and continued to search for tunnels but did not advance or engage with Palestinian fighters.

The Israeli authorities said that they coordinated with international organizations to evacuate wounded Palestinians, distribute food and repair utilities?

By Saturday morning, Israeli forces had found 31 tunnels and destroyed 15, Colonel Lerner said. (Why unable to destroy all found tunnels?)

In southern Israel, where most of the rockets fired by Gaza militants have fallen during the war, the lull allowed residents who had spent recent weeks rushing to shelters to venture out.

People visited beaches in Ashdod and Ashkelon, Israel Radio reported, and television news contrasted video footage of crowded cafes on Saturday with that from last week when the establishments were empty.

“I was very hesitant, because we know who we’re dealing with; in the end I decided to go out and see if people were around,” a beach-goer identified only as Sigalit said in a radio interview. “It’s fun, but there is still some fear. Let’s hope it continues so that we can enjoy ourselves a bit more.

At Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, a barber gave haircuts to wounded soldiers. In Maslul, a small community not far from a staging area for the Gaza operation, residents set up 10 barbecue grills to serve the troops, along with showers and a karaoke corner, Israel Radio reported.

Back in Gaza, a group of men and a bulldozer worked to remove bodies from a house that had been flattened in an overnight airstrike.

“We have pulled out six so far and there are three left,” said Mohammed Nasser, who had relatives among the dead.

As the bulldozer dug, one of the dead was found with a Kalashnikov rifle at his side. Cries of “God is great!” erupted from the crowd as the body was carried to an ambulance.

 

My grandparents spent time in Krakow Ghetto: They agree Israel is Nazi

Naomi Wolf shared on FB:

Michael Cohen who posted below, also had this to say on his own fb page.

I hope it is okay to repost: “I find what Israel is doing in Gaza profoundly disturbing and would have thought that, of all people, Jews would find it profoundly disturbing.

It is my right to express my feelings on the matter and say that it truly does remind me of Nazi behaviour (I might add that my grandparents spent time in the Krakow Ghetto and I know my grandmother would have agreed with this post).

I do not like, most of all, to see old “Arab” men who should have been proud land-owners surrounded by olive groves (and whose only crime was being born in Palestine when we wanted that piece of land) crying and fleeing bombs in a festering open-air prison/ghetto/slum, surrounded by machine guns, cameras and barbed wire.

A foul attempt to rob these people of all their pride (which will fail).

Israel is creating generations worth of resentment and do not for a moment think they will get away with any of this unpunished.

It will all come back to haunt them and when it does they will find little sympathy. ‪#‎GAZA‬‪#‎ZIONISM‬

We are no longer here, do you care? Palestinian Invisible Children

‪#‎Gaza‬ ‪#‎GazaUnderAttack‬ ‪#‎FreePalestine‬
‪#‎ChildrenUnderAttack‬ ‪#‎Palestine‬
‪#‎DoYouCare‬

Dutch Children Protest the Killing of their Palestinian Peers’

Dutch children have taken part of a short movie to protest against the continuing Israeli bombings of Palestinian civilians; children in particular.

In a short video by filmmaker Abdelkarim El-Fassi, 8 Dutch children tell the story of eight Palestinian children killed by Israel.

War, bombs, terror. The video tells exactly where the children were at the time of their death. Some were on Facebook, while others were greeted with violence that no innocent person should be exposed to, while sleeping or while watching a World Cup match.

From the year 2000, every 3 days, a Palestinian child has been killed at the hands of Israeli forces, a appalling and confrontational number.

In recent days, during the ground offensive on the ‘open air prison’ GAZA, this average only increased.

“I am no longer here, do you care?” is an awareness campaign to bring injustice taking place in Palestine closer to home .

This is necessary because the disproportionate actions of Israel, which violates many international and human rights, have not been condemned.

Is the life of a Palestinian child worth less?

The recent Israeli attacks on Gaza have slaughtered more than 160 innocent children, and counting. Such an inhumane policy should cease as soon as possible.

Therefore El Fassi start this campaign that brings the innocence of hundreds of now deceased Palestinian children forward.

El Fassi had previously made a video denouncing the injustice in Palestine in 2012; the video on Mahmoud Sarsak went viral.

Mahmoud Sarsak is a Palestinian footballer who went on hunger strike for more than 200 days because he was arbitrarily arrested and locked up in an Israeli jail without trial.

Because of international pressure, he was finally released. Are we going to get that done now? #doyoucare? 

Nerves hardwired in steel?

Any Psychological effects of War on Gaza’s children?

The report is of 2009. It must be even worse as the children in Gaza witnessed three such massive preemptive wars on Gaza since 2008.

Gaza child looking at what is left of her baby sister
‎هذا ما تبقى من أختها كي تدفن،فهل تبقى من كرامتكم شيئا كي تحيا؟؟؟‎

The Psychological effects of War on Gaza’s children

Report by Dr. Yousef Mousa
Published: 15/02/2009

 

Is Life returning to normal? What about the visible scars on children?

The Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) estimated that 1,314 Palestinians were killed in the 23 days of the military operation in the Gaza Strip.

This statistics were only updated until Jan. 18th 2009, but after the Israeli ceasefire, many corpses were found under the debris and the demolished houses in many areas (Zeytoun, Al Atatra, Ezzbet Abed Rabo, and Beit Hanoun).

The bombing and shelling caused extensive damage to civilian facilities throughout the Gaza Strip. Supplies of basic food and fuel, and the provision of electricity, water and sanitation services remain critical.

“Civilians in Gaza bore the brunt of the conflict, with 412 children and 100 women killed and 5, 450 people wounded. Ten of thousands of people were rendered homeless after their areas were damaged or destroyed during bombing raids.”

UN Report – New York

Palestinian Children – A Special Consideration:

Children represent more than 50% of the Palestinian society, and the most vulnerable group of this society

Children have been critically affected by the daily violence, such as bombing, destruction of their houses and other measures.

Damages to residential property, schools, health clinics and water and electricity infrastructure by Israelis are still widespread.

45.2% of death occurrence among children was caused mainly by firearm missiles by Israeli occupation.

Up to 80% of Palestinian children suffer from behavioral problems, including:

  • Increasing level of violence.
  • Sleeping problems, with feelings of fear and anxiety.
  • Changes in attachment to family and community.
  • Various emotional and cognitive problems such as inability to concentrate.
  • Decreasing hope in the future

Palestinian children who experience armed conflict carry the heavy emotional, social, and spiritual burdens associated with death, separation from and loss of parents, attack and victimization, destruction of homes and communities, economic ruin, and disruption of the normal patterns of living.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is deeply concerned at the devastating effects that the current military engagement in Gaza is having on children, ” the 18-member body said in a statement issued in Geneva, where it is currently in session.

Hundreds of children have been killed or injured, many seriously. Many others have lost their loved ones. The continuous fighting and destruction of livelihoods and basic infrastructures, severely compromise enjoyment of human rights especially in relation to health, education and family life.

The psycho-social need in Palestine has been realized most acutely during the past eight years of conflict, occupation and violence. Military incursions, movement restrictions, targeted killing, arrests, humiliation, spread of the terror acts, economic situation and poverty have affected every individual from children to the elderly.

The impact has resulted in children: being unable to attend school; sick and injured persons have been denied hospital access while attempting to cross Erez checkpoints.

Maher Wahba, a psychologist with Muslim Aid said that one of the first tasks would be to address the psychological trauma being suffered by children who had lost family members and friends. “These children have suffered a lot, we have seen many cases, many psychological disorders… aggressive behaviour, many nightmares, dreams” he added.

Dr. Samir Gota, a professor of psychology at the Islamic University of Gaza, said to Asharq Al-Awsat that there has been a significant increase in the number of parents visiting psychological health centers in the Gaza Strip enquiring about treatments for psychological breakdowns after having recognized these symptoms in their children following the bombings which have affected the cities, towns and refugee camps of the Gaza Strip.

Psychological problems such as depression and aggression are common in children who have lived through conflict. This is not a new phenomenon in Gaza as many children have lived through other periods of violence, but this latest crisis will have added to the mental health problems faced by Gaza’s children. However, families in Gaza are already struggling with the basics of life; getting enough water, food, fuel and shelter. Hidden psychological problems are not something they are able to deal with.Hatem Shurrab said.

According to WHO, the Psychological consequences of conflict situation in Gaza are, as follows:

Distress responses expressed as:

Insomnia
Sense of Vulnerability
Emotional liability

Behavioral changes expressed as:

Domestic Violence
Increased health care use
Smoking
Alcohol Consumption
Drug addict

Psychiatric illness expressed as:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Major Depression

The unpredictability of the day-to-day situation further adds to the stress and anxiety felt by not having control over ones lives.

This is the current situation in Palestine but it comes with the memories of the conflicts of the past and ultimately with the loss of land and identity. Methods of coping with chronic instability tie into religious beliefs, community lifestyle and cultural traditions. One of the most dominant effects of the continued conflict is the loss of hope.

The affects on the individual, the family, and the community will be long lasting – finding ways to overcome the traumas of the past is the only way to a brighter future.

Psychosocial programs seek to limit these effects on children, prevent further harmful events, and strengthen the coping mechanisms of children, their families, and their communities.

Palestinian children experience many forms of violence from the current war, longest occupation in the world and continuous Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Those which are most likely to cause trauma among children are the death of a parent, relative or acquaintance, torture, witnessing an act of violence, separation from one or both parents for any period of time, injury, including those resulting in deformity or handicaps, engaging in violence, poverty and severe depravation, and shelling or demolition of their house.

Emotions and reactions of children are manifested in many ways including: Problems with speech, difficulty concentrating, learning difficulties, sleep related problems, bedwetting, loss of recently acquired skills, feelings of guilt, and variety of somatic complaints. Children must have safe places for healing and emotional support to be able to overcome these problems in order to continue to live normal, productive lives.

Currently Palestine has no comprehensive mental health services for children, resulting in a high level of need of such services in the community.

I have no concrete evidence of what I claim; only the anecdotes of friends and associates. Given that aid organizations and academics have yet to fully chronically the effects of the 2008-2009 war, I think anecdotal evidence will have to do for now.

Clenched Jaws and Chipped Teeth

I have heard many occurrences of jaw problems. Some residents of Gaza are clenching their teeth to the degree that it hurts to chew. I have heard many reports of jaw aches. A couple I know say each separately wake up at night because their spouse is grinding his/her teeth so loudly.

A dentist told me that he is making many night guards and repairing chipped teeth. He claims that Palestinians are giving themselves long-term tooth and jaw damage from stress. A friend started wearing a mouth guard when he runs because he can’t stop clenching his jaw. He already chipped away half a tooth.

Pills

A friend of mine in Rafah can’t sleep. His wife and daughter can’t sleep, either, he refuses to medicate. The rest of his family take pills. They can’t sleep without them. They began to take more as the battles bombs got louder.

Nightmares

It is not even worth cataloging the number of nightmares I’ve heard from others. Almost everyone I know tells me about a dream they’ve had recently. I’ve had many awkward and disturbing dreams, as well. I tend to have political dreams. Throughout the 2008-2009 war, I often dreamt of myself as a member of the Palestinian cabinet trying to resolve the conflict. Some of the dreams of my friends are too disturbing to recount.

Many of them involve lots of blood, dead bodies, and death. A woman tells me that she has dreams about saving her young daughter from dark, shadowy, faceless enemies. Another man dreams that he is a member of a South African private security corporation of ninjas that descends on Gaza and secretly and quietly kills all Israeli solders and politicians.

Weight Gains/Loss

Friends have visibly changed. Some people have gained significant amounts of weight. Others stopped eating, and look sickly thin and exhausted.

Conclusion

Many Palestinians, myself included, argue that this conflict did far more psychological damage than the all Israeli-Arab wars. The last wars are much harder psychologically than 1948 war.

Dr. Yousef Mousa
Executive Director
Union of Health Work Committess-Gaza
Tel: +970 8 2824272
Fax: +970 8 2869220
Mobile: +970 599 122211
Website: www.gaza-health.org
email: info@gaza-health.org

It is no dishonor to be in a minority in the cause of liberty and virtue


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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