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Trauma, grief, and PTSD in Palestinian children victims of War on Gaza PDF Print E-mail
Aug 29, 2010 at 05:20 PM

Abstract

Purpose: Exposure to war trauma has been independently associated with posttraumatic stress (PTSD) and grief in children and adults. The aim of this study was to establish the relationship between war traumatic experiences due to last war on Gaza, PTSD, and traumatic grief children.

Methods: The study was conducted in the Gaza Strip, in areas exposed to war for 23 days. The sample included 374 children aged 6-17 years. Children completed measures of experience of traumatic events (Gaza Traumatic Checklist-War on Gaza), PTSD, and Grief inventory.

Results: Palestinians children experiences variety of traumatic events: 93.9% hear shelling of the area by artillery, 93.9% hear the sonic sounds of the jetfighters, and 69% left home form more safe place, and 24.5% exposed to burn by bombs. Each child reported 12.80 traumatic events.  Results showed that 98.7% of children reported that they were not safe at homes, 96.3% were not able to protect themselves, 96% were not able to protect their family members, and 94.4% said other people outside the family were not able to protect them. The study showed that from total number of children 35 of the children said that they lost someone from the family (9.4%) and 338 said they did not loss any one (90.6%). Mean grief reactions in boys were 19.96 and 18.29 in girls. Using the previous cut-off point of CPTSD-RI, 1.3% of children showed no PTS reactions, 7.2% reported mild PTSD reactions, 29.9% showed moderate PTS reactions, and 61.5% showed severe to very severe PTS reactions. Trauma exposure was significantly associated with PTS reactions. No sex differences in reporting trauma or PTS reactions.

Conclusions: This study revealed that children living in area of conflict and war are the main scapegoats of such war and their exposure to trauma is inevitable during the war and the international laws to protect the civilians during the conflict and establishing save haven for children and their families to decrease the effect of war on children. Also, more interventions must be conducted in group base and concentrated on helping children to overcome their trauma and grief. Also, parents had to be involved in such activities to be able of detecting children with pathological grief and enable them of helping children in overcoming the effect of grief and trauma.

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In Rachel Corrie verdict, Israel deals new blow to international law
The verdict on the 2003 killing of Rachel Corrie absolved Israel of any wrongdoing, essentially blaming the victim for her death. The trial revealed Israel’s approach to the most fundamental principles of international law, and especially to the duty to protect non-combatants.

By Jeff Halper

For those who hoped for a just verdict on the death of Rachel Corrie, the American student and ISM activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 as she was defending a Palestinian home about to be demolished, this is a sad day. Not surprising, but still sad and bitter. The judge who decided the case, Oded Gershon, absolved the army of all blame, despite massive and internally contradictory testimony to the contrary. Moreover, he essentially blamed Rachel for her own death, commenting that a “normal person” would have run away from the bulldozer rather than confront it.

Palestinians and Israel human rights activists have learned that justice cannot be obtained through the Israeli judicial system. The Haifa District Court, in which the trial was held, could not have ruled other than how the state wanted. For the past 45 years of Israeli occupation, the Supreme Court has excluded from its rulings all reference to international humanitarian law and to the Fourth Geneva Convention in particular, which protects civilians living in conflict situations and under occupation. Only Israeli law applies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – military law and orders – and the courts have restricted even that form of law by declaring that in instances of “security,” they defer to the military. As in Rachel’s case, the IDF thus has carte blanche to commit war crimes with impunity, with no fear of accountability or punishment.

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