In Gaza, young victims of Israeli bombing recount a brutal 2021

Al Jazeera talks to young Palestinians injured during Israel’s May offensive and now left with permanent disabilities

By Maram Humaid

In May 2021, the occupied Gaza Strip experienced renewed bloodshed and destruction as Israel launched a devastating 11-day-military-offensive on the besieged enclave.

It was the fourth major offensive launched by Israel on the Palestinian territory in 14 years, compounding the already dire living conditions and the high rates of poverty and unemployment in Gaza which has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since 2007.

The assault in May killed at least 260 people, including 39 women and 67 children, and wounded more than 1,900, according to the health ministry in Gaza. The bombardment also destroyed 1,800 residential units and partially demolished at least 14,300 other units.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians were forced to take shelter in United Nations-run schools.

About seven months later, the reconstruction process has slowly begun, albeit with Israel continuing to prevent the entry into Gaza of many materials it says could also be used for military purposes.

Talks mediated by Egypt have failed to reach a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group which rules Gaza, and tensions remain high.

Many people in Gaza have been left to cope with the aftermath of the 11-day assault, including many young people who were left seriously wounded.

Al Jazeera talked to three young people, who were injured and left with permanent disabilities during the offensive, to discuss what they endured and what they hope for in the new year.

‘Mum, I wish I could see your face’

Mohammed Shaban’s only wish for the new year is to be able to see again. The seven-year-old lost his eyesight on the first day of the Israeli offensive in May.

That day, Mohammed went out with his mother, Somayya, 35, to buy clothes for him and his siblings.

“He was very happy and could not wait to go home to show his new shoes to his sisters,” Somayya told Al Jazeera.

“Suddenly, a huge explosion hit the area. I didn’t remember what happened. Dust, chaos, people screaming, blood …”

Somayya stopped talking for a moment, then continued. “I remembered Mohammed, I started screaming: ‘Where is my son? Where is my son?’”

Mohammed’s eyes were severely wounded when an Israeli air attack hit two people on a motorcycle in Jabalia in the north of the Gaza Strip. He was rushed to hospital.

“His face was covered in blood and his eyes were bleeding terribly. I lost consciousness when I saw him,” Somayya said.

After several attempts, the doctors decided Mohammed’s eyesight could not be saved and they had to remove his eyes.

“I can’t stop crying whenever I see him. He keeps asking his siblings, ‘Why can I only see black darkness? Why can’t I go to my school?’” she said.

“Last night, he told me: ‘Mum, I wish I could see your face.’”

Mohammed was recently admitted to a school for visually challenged children, but his mother has no hope for the new year.

“After what we have seen during this year, I cannot expect any better. Our days are the same. I believe Gaza’s destiny is to face more torture and suffering,” she said.

She said her only wish for 2022 would be for Mohammed to see again. “I wish I could give him my eyes.”

report by Defense for Children International (DCIP) said 2021, which saw the killing of 86 Palestinian children in the occupied territory, was the deadliest year on record since 2014.

“During the 11-day military assault, Israeli forces killed Palestinian children using tank-fired shells, live ammunition, and missiles dropped from weaponised drones and US-sourced warplanes and Apache helicopters,” said the report on the May assault, dubbed Operation Guardian of the Walls.

‘I want to be a doctor when I grow up’

Farah Isleem, 12, feels more optimistic in the new year, despite losing her leg in May 2021.

“It was around six o’clock at morning. I was sleeping. Suddenly I woke up to an explosion. I was not able to move. Everyone was screaming around me,” she told Al Jazeera.

An Israeli raid had hit Farah’s home on the fifth floor in a building in the al-Sabra neighbourhood in central Gaza City.

Hazem Isleem, Farah’s father, is a security worker in Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital. That night, Hazem was at work, dealing with patients and people being evacuated from bombed areas.

His seven children were rushed to the hospital after the bombing. Six suffered minor wounds, but Farah was badly hurt.

“When I first saw her, I realised her leg would have to be amputated,” he said. “It was shattered and bleeding severely.”

Farah was given a medical referral to Jordan, where she travelled with her mother three days after she was injured.

After trying to save her leg for 15 days, the doctors decided it would have to be amputated. A prosthetic limb was fitted to her leg later.

“Imagine your beautiful and intelligent child having her leg amputated at this young age. It is a very hard feeling,” Hazem said.

Upon Farah’s return from Jordan after a month, her family and school organised a reception party to welcome her back.

“My big focus now is my studies at school,” Farah told Al Jazeera. “I face some obstacles going up and down the stairs, but my family always helps me.”

Farah told Al Jazeera before her injury, she was afraid of the sight of blood and of injuries. But now she wants to be a doctor, and her New Year’s wish is to learn English fluently as it would help her achieve her dream.

“I was in so much pain during the treatment process. But thanks to God everything is ok now,” she said with a smile.

According to UNICEF, before the escalation in violence, one in three children in Gaza already required support for conflict-related trauma. The UN body stressed the need for mental health and psychosocial support for children facing dire living circumstances.

The organisation also said tens of thousands of children in Gaza will require humanitarian assistance to access safe drinking water and basic sanitation over electricity shortages affecting water production in the besieged territory.

‘I wish I could walk again’

Eighteen-year-old Mahmoud Naim lies on his back in bed, unable to move.

He is paralysed and unable to feel the lower part of his body since the shrapnel from an Israeli shell hit him in the back and pierced parts of his stomach on May 18.

“I went out to the street to buy bread for my siblings. I saw a friend and stood there talking to him. Suddenly there was an explosion. I don’t remember anything after that,” Mahmoud told Al Jazeera.

“My life has been turned upside down,” he said.

Mahmoud stayed in the intensive care unit for several days before he was referred to Egypt for further treatment. He underwent seven surgeries and still needs intensive physiotherapy sessions and medication.

Shrapnels are still stuck in Mahmoud’s back. They should be removed as soon as possible so that his condition improves.

“Currently I can’t move at all on my own. My mother helps me, but my brothers are [too] young,” he said.

“Sometimes I stay on the bed waiting for my cousins to come if I want to move.”

Before his injury, Mahmoud worked in a shop to support his family. His father has been sick for a long time and his condition deteriorated after his son’s injury.

Mahmoud told Al Jazeera he heard of reports claiming the shell that hit him was not Israeli, but a Palestinian shell that hit him by mistake.

“It was a continuous state of war in which everyone was under bombardment and terror, and the victims were all innocent people,” he said.

“Despite what happened to me, I am optimistic about the beginning of 2022 as every year is a new start.

“Enough of the war and enough of what is happening to us in the Gaza Strip. I hope calm prevails, our living conditions improve and I wish I could walk again.”

(Source / 06.01.2022)

Award-winning Irish novelist refuses to publish new novel in Hebrew

Rooney has called for ‘an end to the support provided by global powers to Israel and its military; especially the United States.’

Best-selling and award-winning Irish novelist Sally Rooney has decided not to publish her new novel in Hebrew, saying she is supporting the cultural boycott of Israel.

Rooney’s new novel Beautiful World, Where Are You? explores the life and romance of intellectual, urbane millennials and topped the New York Times bestseller list when it was published in September.

Modan Publishing House, which has published two books for Rooney, has told Haaretz that Rooney won’t allow her new book to be published in Hebrew because she supports an Israel boycott.

Rooney, 30, has been open about her opposition to Israel, the newspaper said, pointing out that she was one of thousands of artists to sign a letter in July accusing Israel of apartheid and calling for its international isolation following its May offensive on Gaza.

The letter called for “an end to the support provided by global powers to Israel and its military; especially the United States,” Haaretz reported, and for governments to “cut trade, economic and cultural relations.”

The Daily Mail reported that Rooney is not the first prominent author to refuse to publish a book in Hebrew, noting that Alice Walker did not allow The Color Purple to be translated into Hebrew in 2012.

Ireland has a history of pro-Palestinian sentiment, owing to what many Irish citizens see as a cultural link to their struggles against the British, the Daily Mail said.

Dublin’s city council passed resolutions in 2018 endorsing a boycott of Israel and calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.

(Source / 12.10.2021)

Gaza boy shot by Israeli sniper last week succumbed to wounds

During similar demonstrations took place two years ago, the Israeli occupation forces killed 215 civilians, including 47 children, two women, nine persons with disabilities, four paramedics and two journalists.

Omar abu Neel, a Palestinian boy who was shot and seriously wounded by Israeli sniper during peaceful protest organised in Gaza last Saturday, succumbed to his wounded.

Medical sources said that Abu Neel, 12, was shot in the head during a protest near the eastern Gaza fence in Malka area, east of Gaza city.

Omar, from Al Tuffah neighborhood, who was shot by an Israeli sniper along with 40 other peaceful protesters, underwent lifesaving treatment for a week.

He remained in a critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit until he succumbed to his serious wounds on Saturday at dawn.

Israeli media reported that the Israeli soldier, who opened fire at the Palestinian protesters, was shot and seriously wounded.

During similar demonstrations took place two years ago, the Israeli occupation forces killed 215 civilians, including 47 children, two women, nine persons with disabilities, four paramedics and two journalists.

(Source / 28.08.2021)

In the peak of summer, West Bank demolitions leave 70 Palestinians homeless

After demolishing Khirbet Humsa for the sixth time in months, Israeli forces loaded the residents’ personal belongings and dropped them off miles away

By Oren Ziv

On Wednesday morning, in temperatures reaching past 104 degrees Fahrenheit, Israeli forces demolished the Palestinian village of Khirbet Humsa in the occupied West Bank for the sixth time in less than a year.

Israeli military and Civil Administration forces arrived at the Jordan Valley village at around 7 a.m. and began dismantling residents’ tents, confiscating them and loading them — along with their contents — onto an army truck. The truck then deposited the equipment over seven miles away. The IDF brought civilian buses to the site where the residents’ homes and belongings had been unloaded; however, the residents did not board the vehicles for fear that they were going to be expelled even further away. Instead, they fled for the hills and stayed until the army had left, around 6 p.m.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Civil Administration — the Israeli military’s administrative arm in the West Bank — demolished 27 residential structures and animal shelters, as well as water tanks. They also took food packages, effectively leaving the community without food and water. Israeli forces further confiscated personal items, including milk for children, clothes, personal hygiene products, and plants. Eleven households, which were home to around 70 people — including 36 children — lost their dwelling.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem characterized the demolition as “abuse of the community’s residents,” and noted that the aim of the operation was to “forcibly transfer [Khirbet Humsa’s residents] from their place of residence and to take over their land.” The organization forcefully rejected Israeli claims that they had received the residents’ consent to carry out the demolition.

Khirbet Humsa is located in an isolated area of the Jordan Valley in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli security and administrative control. The village is close to the settlements of Ro’i and Bekaot, and reachable only via an unpaved road. During winter, the area is only accessible with an SUV.

The community’s residents live on privately-owned Palestinian land, on which they pay rent. They have been there for 60 years, and are spread out in four different encampments. Each encampment houses two or three families, and is not connected to water, electricity, or sewage infrastructure.

In August 1967, a few months after Israel occupied the West Bank, the army designated the area a firing zone, where the military conducts training exercises. According to OCHA, Israel has classified around 18 percent of the West Bank as a military training area, affecting around 5,000 Palestinian residents. The Israeli authorities thus consider Khirbet Humsa’s residents “trespassers,” even though they lease the land from its Palestinian owners.

Twenty-four hours after the demolition had concluded, the villagers were left without shelter from the sun and without basic necessities. The army’s confiscation of most of their personal belongings differed from previous demolitions, in which they usually took mattresses, nylon sheets, and blankets, and left the rest.

“The truck took everything,” said Walid Abu al-Kabbash, as he sat next to his destroyed home in the punishing heat. “This time round they left nothing. They took the flour and the water. Yesterday we were left in the sun for hours and they prevented media, diplomats, and aid organizations from coming here. When we tried to take photographs, they told us we weren’t allowed.”

Abu al-Kabbash noted that the first time the army demolished Khirbet Humsa was in November last year, and the community was left with no shelter from the rain while access to the village was blocked off by mud. “They arrive on the hottest or rainiest day of the year,” Abu al-Kabbash said. Pointing to nearby water and electricity infrastructure, he added: “Is this the law? A hundred meters from here there’s water and electricity, yet we have nothing.”

Musa, a Palestinian who came to help relatives after the demolition, said: “Would you take their place, living without water and electricity like this? And even the minimal amount they have, they’re not allowed to keep. There’s no [army] base or settlement here, and yet they carry out a demolition and leave them in this state.”

Commenting on the buses brought by the army, Walid, another resident of Khirbet Humsa, said that they were going to take the village’s women and children away. The army denied that it was planning to expel the community, but the demolition of their homes and the confiscation of their belongings convinced the residents that the intention was to evict them.

“It’s a transfer attempt,” said Dafna Banai, an activist with the Israeli feminist activist group MachsomWatch, who is in the Jordan Valley every week. “They didn’t take everything during previous [demolitions]. This time they left people with just the clothes they were wearing. [The army] tossed the residents’ belongings where they wanted to move them to.”

On Thursday afternoon, three IDF jeeps pulled up in Khirbet Humsa and ordered Israeli activists, journalists, and NGO workers to leave, threatening to confiscate their vehicles. One soldier said that the army had “suggested [to the residents] that they go elsewhere, and they refused.” Banai did not elaborate on why they refused.

The IDF Spokesperson said that journalists were barred from accessing the site due to “military activities.” However, according to activists, the soldiers’ only activity was preventing anyone from witnessing or documenting the extent of the damage being done to Khirbet Humsa.

The previous demolition of the community, undertaken in winter, provoked an international incident and was condemned by European diplomats. Ismail Abu al-Kabbash, another Khirbet Humsa resident, nonetheless said he is disappointed in the international community. “After the demolition in November, Americans and Europeans came and toured the area, but nothing changed. I’m worried about people and children, not about possessions. I’m in shock over what’s happened.”

Amid, 6, who was sheltering from the sun in a tent about half a mile away from his demolished home, asked why the army had confiscated his bicycle. His bike allowed him not only to play, he explained, but also to travel between different communities in the area.

Residents and Israeli activists found Amid’s bike in Ein Shibli, a village about 7.5 miles from Khirbet Humsa. It was in a huge pile of the belongings the army had confiscated, and which they had left on top of an empty hill, out in the sun, with no fencing or protection. On Thursday, several community members went to search for their clothes and other possessions.

Israel has demolished, confiscated, or compelled owners to demolish at least 421 Palestinian structures in the West Bank so far in 2021, according to OCHA. When compared with the same period in 2020, these figures represent a 24 percent increase in the number of structures demolished or confiscated, including an almost 110 percent increase in the number of donor-funded structures chosen for demolition, and a more than 50 percent increase in the number of people displaced as a result.

In a statement released following the demolition, B’Tselem called the operation “part of an Israeli policy applied across the West Bank that is intended to create intolerable living conditions, with the aim of making Palestinians leave their homes and then concentrating them in enclaves in order to take over their land.

“This policy is an attempt at forced transfer, which is a war crime under international humanitarian law,” B’Tselem’s statement said.

Mossi Raz, a Knesset member with Meretz, asked Defense Minister Benny Gantz to halt demolitions in Area C. “The state has a responsibility to protect those communities that are regularly evicted and are not entitled to assistance from their side,” Raz said. Nonetheless, he added, “it seems that the state is instead working harder to forcibly evict these communities while abdicating their basic human responsibility toward them.”

The Civil Administration said that the demolition was carried out in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling, and that the “enforcement operation… included demolition and confiscation of tents that had been illegally put up again by Palestinians who trespassed in 2012 into a firing zone in the Jordan Valley.”

(Source / 17.07.2021)

Remembering the 2014 Israeli offensive against Gaza

On this day, Israel launched one of its deadliest military offensives against the Gaza Strip in recent history

On this day seven years ago, Israel launched one of its deadliest military offensives against the Gaza Strip in recent history. The offensive left 2,251 people dead, with more than 11,000 wounded, according to Palestinian and UN sources.

Seven years on, Gaza is still subject to intense attacks by Israel as well as the ongoing blockade which has been enforced for more than 11 years. One of the deadliest attacks was the one launched between 11 and 12 May 2021 when 266 people killed including 67 children, 41 women, 16 elderly.

What: 2014 Israelis offensive against Gaza

When: 8 July – 26 August 2014

Where: The occupied Gaza Strip

What happened?

Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip took place against the backdrop of a second Palestinian unity government being formed in early June by the Islamic Resistance Movement — Hamas — in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Threatened by the reconciliation between the two main Palestinian factions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the PA had to choose between peace with Hamas and peace with Israel.

Ten days later, on 12 June, three Israeli settlers went missing in the West Bank, an incident for which Israel blamed Hamas, despite providing no evidence to back the allegation. Netanyahu also stated that the kidnapping proved that the unity pact between the Palestinian factions could not be endorsed.

High ranking Hamas officials denied involvement and the PA attributed the abductions to the Qawasameh clan, a group within Hamas that has frequently acted against the party’s policies. Israeli historian Ilan Pappé has said that the motivation for the kidnapping was the murder of two Palestinian teenagers by Israeli forces in May 2014; the autopsy report which showed that the teens were killed by Israeli soldiers’ live fire had been made public the day before the kidnapping.

In the aftermath of the abduction, Israel launched a crackdown on alleged Hamas associates in the West Bank. Some 11 Palestinians were killed and dozens were wounded in the run up to 2 July, with hundreds arrested, many of whom had been freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. The murder of a Palestinian teen by Israeli settlers then sparked widespread protests in the occupied territories. Israel also bombarded the Gaza Strip, prompting some minor rocket fire from various factions in the besieged enclave.

After attempts to agree to a ceasefire failed, with Tel Aviv refusing to meet Hamas conditions that the siege be ended and prisoners released, on 7 July the Israeli military announced the start of Operative Protective Edge to “hit Hamas hard“.

Within the first 48 hours of the operation, Israel dropped 400 tonnes of bombs on Gaza. Over the next two months, some 6,000 air strikes were launched on the besieged 365 km2 of the coastal territory.

The subsequent bombardment displaced some 500,000 people; 300,000 civilians were forced to shelter in UNRWA schools. Electricity to hospitals was cut off, rendering thousands without basic medical care.

Hamas fired rockets towards Israel in response, but did little damage. Lacking in precision guidance systems, the attacks were indiscriminate by default, but Hamas has said on many occasions that its rockets are always intended to hit military targets. Conversely, Israel used its high-powered US-financed precision-guided arsenal to target civilian areas deliberately, claiming that militants were hiding in homes, schools and hospitals.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) also began a limited ground invasion, focusing on destroying tunnels used to transfer much-needed humanitarian supplies to the besieged population. The tunnels have been described as “Gaza’s lifeline”.

The offensive prompted outrage from the international community, with protests organised around the world in support of the Palestinians.

What happened next?

On 3 August, the IDF pulled most of its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip after completing the destruction of 32 tunnels. A week later, a three-day truce negotiated by Egypt came into effect, which led to a series of brief ceasefires, before Israel and Hamas agreed to an end to hostilities on 26 August.

The “Gaza War” has had enduring consequences for the Strip’s two million inhabitants. Over 2,250 Palestinians were killed, 500 of whom were children, and 11,000 were wounded, placing a huge strain on the already severely stretched medical sector.

Moreover, at least 20,000 buildings were destroyed in the Israeli bombardment, either reduced to rubble or rendered uninhabitable, including mosques, churches, hospitals and schools. Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, appealed for £178 million ($295 million) in international aid towards its recovery operations, but little of the planned reconstruction has been completed.

The Israeli death toll was 67 soldiers and six civilians by the time of the ceasefire.

The UN affirmed in 2015 that Israel committed war crimes during the offensive due to its targeting of civilians areas. Israel had refused to co-operate with the UN investigation, which it claimed had drawn its conclusions in advance.

The report supported the Palestinians in the filing of a petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has yet to open a full investigation into the allegations, despite dossiers of evidence reportedly having been provided by the PA.

A two-year investigation by Israel’s official watchdog into the operation also revealed last year that the government failed to explore diplomatic solutions to prevent the seven-week conflict. The 200-page report also criticised the Netanyahu government for ignoring several warnings by security services that the ongoing blockade in Gaza was escalating tensions and could lead to violence if not relaxed.

Four years down the line, the Palestinians in Gaza continue to be subject to Israeli brutality, as demonstrated most recently during the Great March of Return protests since the end of March. At least 133 people have been killed by Israeli forces, including childrenmedical personnel and journalists. A senior IDF official tweeted that, “Nothing was uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured and we know where every bullet [fired by Israeli snipers] landed.” Campaigners believe that this alone is enough to see IDF personnel charged and convicted of war crimes.

(Source / 12.07.2021)

Israeli occupation starts demolition of Jeursalem’s Al Bustan district

Deadline set by Israel to demolish 13 Palestinians homes in Al Bustan ended on Sunday. Another deadline set to demolish 21 shops ended on Monday

Israeli occupation forces started early on Tuesday morning demolition of Palestinian homes in Al Bustan district of Jeursalem’s neighbourhood of Silwan.

As the demolition started, Palestinians took to the streets in order to prevent the demolition of their homes and shops.

However, the Israeli occupation forces used lethal force to disperse them and keep them away from the demolition sites.

Local sources said that the Israeli occupation forces opened live and rubber ammunition at the Palestinians, as well as they threw gas canister at them.

The sources reported that several Palestinians were wounded, but gave no details about their number and conditions.

Bustan 2

Bustan 3

Bustan 1


So far, the Israeli occupation force have demolished the shop of Nidal al Rajabi, who said that his shop is one out of 21 others whose demolition deadline, set by an Israeli court, ended on Monday.

Meanwhile, a deadline for the demolition of 13 homes in the same area ended on Sunday.

The house of Nidal al Rajabi, the owner of the shop, which has been demolished, is among the 13 houses facing demolition.

In 2005, Israeli occupation issued demolition orders for 100 Palestinian homes in Al Bustan. It has so far demolished 10 of them.

(Source / 29.06.2021)

How Israeli attacks psychologically damage Palestinian children

Israeli forces have killed at least 3,000 Palestinian children in the past two decades. With children being as vulnerable to the Israeli war machine as adults

More than 54.7 per cent of Palestinian children have experienced at least one traumatic event in their life and non-stop Israeli attacks can lead to major psychological issues among them.

Israel had escalated its reckless air strikes and rocket attacks on Palestine, targeting even women, children and media organisations. The latest Israeli offensive on Gaza caused intense psychological stress not only on adults but also on children.

Esra Oras, one of Turkey’s prominent psychologists, told TRT World that Israel’s aggressive policies that are largely driven by its military are “systematically exposing Palestinians to chronic trauma” and the vicious cycle of oppression has caused immense pain to them.

“It pushes the entire public, not just children, into a constant cycle of trauma. It disrupts the mental growth of children and also psychologically weakens parents who surround them,” Oras, who is the founder of Istanbul-based A’N Psychological Counseling, told TRT World.

Israeli bombardment of Gaza, which happened between 11 and 21 May, claimed the lives of 264 Palestinian citizens, including 66 children, 41 women and 16 elderly people.

The Israeli aggression is counted as the most devastating since 2014, when Israel carried out a wide-scale offensive that claimed the lives of more than 2,200 Palestinians, including more than 500 children and 160 women.

Israeli forces have killed at least 3,000 Palestinian children in the past two decades. With children being as vulnerable to the Israeli war machine as adults, the situation has caused massive trauma across the Palestinian society.

Oras explained that the threat of trauma first stimulates ’the sympathetic nervous system,’ which directs the body’s sudden and involuntary response to dangerous or stressful situations. As the system alerts a person, it triggers an adrenaline rush, which tells the body whether to “fight or run.”

The psychologist said there are moments when the “fight or run” option is not available. For instance, she explained, if someone’s house is suddenly struck by a missile, a new situation of thawing and dissociation occurs.

Lifelong trauma

“The body freezes itself not to feel pain, so to speak, the soul almost becomes severed from the body. This moment of freezing is not just for human beings but for all living things facing a situation when they cannot escape danger. Except for humans, other animals continue to live when the danger is over,” Oras told TRT World.

“The moment of freezing is capable of disrupting the entire human defence system. It can force permanent changes in emotion, mind and memory, which can occur even many years after the danger has passed.”

A person who has survived air strikes, bombing or any kind of violence during the war can live the rest of his or her life in a state of constant vigilance. One can also be robbed of his feelings, according to Oras.

The war trauma can hinder personality development because the victim’s mind is always alert to protect himself, which doesn’t allow it to grow in other spheres of life.

Children, according to Oras, find it difficult to cope with such trauma since their “defence system is extremely limited”.

“Even if the threat is over, children tend to be overtly vigilant. They find it hard to forget the trauma and their minds return to it again and again. In the state of being awake or asleep, they face it in their dreams or daily life,” she said.

Oras said that the children of conflict find it hard to play joyful games like their peers and when they become adults their perception toward themselves and the world varies from others.

“They see themselves as incomplete or imperfect but more alert than others. This difference at times pushes them to make choices in a way that limits their lives and they find it hard to explore their full potential.”

What can be done?

According to Oras, psychologists across the world should prioritise treating such children and ensuring that they are rescued from falling into the psychological traps induced by their childhood traumas.

“This deprivation is a disgrace to the whole world. There are thousands of experts around the world who can support and even volunteer for these children, as long as the necessary channels of help are opened for this,” she said.

The prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among children and adolescents in the Gaza Strip has increased after the recent offensives, according to an academic paper published last year.

The study found out that the majority of children and adolescents experienced personal trauma by 88.4 percent during the 2014 war that Israel waged on Palestine.

It was also revealed that every single child had been exposed to three or more traumatic events. In addition, 42 percent were suffering from moderate or acute PTSD levels. Another study showed that 54.7 percent of Palestinian children have been exposed to at least one traumatic event in their life. Of these, 49 percent have experienced a war-related trauma.

(Source / 24.06.2021)

Israeli forces attack Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, wound 20

Two Palestinians were detained after being violently beaten in the street

Israeli occupation forces raided on Monday night Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah, attacked Palestinians and wounded 20 of them. Meanwhile, they protected Jewish settlers who attacked Palestinian property.

Under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces, Jewish settlers in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood threw stones and Molotov cocktails at Palestinians.

Israeli media denies the narrative of the Palestinian witnesses and claimed that the Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli Jewish settlers.

At the same time, the Israeli occupation forces detained two Palestinians after violently beating them in the street.

Sheikh Jarrah has been the scene of frequent Israeli raids in recent weeks over the impending eviction of Palestinian families in preparation to replace them with illegal settlers.

(Source / 22.06.2021)

Palestinian boy shot by Israeli forces dies of wounds

This boy is the fifth Palestinian to be killed in peaceful protests against illegal Israeli settlement in the area

Palestinian boy, who was seriously injured by Israeli military gunfire in peaceful anti-settlement protest in town of Beita town, south of Nablus, succumbed to his wounds on Thursday at dawn.

Ahmad Zahi Bani-Shamsa, 14, died of the serious injury he sustained in the head after being hit by live ammunition shot by Israeli soldiers on Wednesday.

Bani-Shamsa, the fifth Palestinian killed in anti-settlement rallies in Beita, was taking part in a rally at Jabal Sabih mount, located near the town, where Israeli settlers recently set up an illegal colonial settlement outpost.

The villagers of Beita, Yatma and Qabalan towns, south and southeast of Nablus, took part in the rally called for in protest of the construction of a new colonial settlement atop Jabal Sbeih or Mountain Sbeih.

The nonviolent protest was called for after a group of Israeli settlers set up over 20 mobile homes or caravans atop the mount as a prelude for taking over the complete mount and establishing a colonial outpost.

The number of settlers living in Jewish-only colonial settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law has jumped to over 700,000 and colonial settlement expansion has tripled since the signing of Oslo Accords in 1993.

Israel’s nation-state law, passed in July 2018, enshrines Jewish supremacy, and states that building and strengthening the colonial settlements is a “national interest.”

(Source / 17.06.2021)

‘Israeli strike left nothing for me,’ father from Gaza says

‘Israeli strike destroyed my dreams, my passion, my future, my source of income, my past and every moment I spent to get fulfil my dream,’ Ramadan said

During the 11-day brutal Israeli offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip, hundreds of Palestinian people lost families members and relatives and thousands losts their homes and businesses, and they became jobless.

“I am left with nothing,” Ramadan al Njeli, a Palestine refugee who lives in Gaza said, “but thanks to God that I am still alive and that’s enough to start over.”

Ramadan lost his printing and advertising company when Kuhail building in central Gaza City was completely destroyed in an Israeli airstrike. “My business was not just my source of income, my life’s dream,” he says.

Ramadan’s struggle to achieve his dream is no different than the stories of others with a clear vision of the future within context of the blockaded Gaza Strip.

“At university, I always wanted to be a programmer and to that end, I studied computer engineering and paid extra attention to programming Courses. But it’s never easy in Gaza,” he said.

“My father lost his job in 2007 due to the blockade imposed on Gaza, so that, I had to work to continue my university studies. I never let despair seep into my life. I worked with a printing company where I learned the basics of designing and printing.”

Determination, commitment and vision are all Ramadan needed to make his head start. He used all the knowledge and potential he had honed in university to establish his first career milestone: starting his own business.

“I always liked sculpture and when I worked at a printing company, I found that I could pair my knowledge in computer programming with my love for sculpture to start up my own company of printing and advertising,” he said.

From the first time he recognised his potential to the moment his business took off, Ramadan narrated his journey, holding on to the remains of his company’s products that he salvaged from the rubble.

He couldn’t hold back the tears in his eyes. He recalls every detail, set back and challenge he has faced since launching his career in 2010 to the moment the Israeli missile struck Kuhail building.

“I used to sleep in the office to save on transportation money. During the Israeli offensive in 2014, I was in severe debt and was about to lose my business, but I remained focused and started again.

“I have spared no time or effort in my quest to succeed. The word impossible is not in my dictionary. And because of this, I’ve been engaged in a continuous learning process.

“Whenever I find a new printing technique, I studied it until I became an expert. I spent days and nights crafting a design or adjusting raw materials for certain printing techniques. Even during the COVID-19 related pandemic measures, I adapted my deliverables to meet the demands of my clients.”

On his determination, he said: “I like to remember these moments when I am on the brink of success. It reminds me that I am strong and capable enough to start again and again as long as I live. No matter how many times I fall, I’ll start again.”

The 2020 was the first year Ramadan felt a sense of stability with his business. He was finally able to garner regular income from his projects. His unique brand was getting recognised and his business was free of debt for the first time since 2010.

Just days before the start of the last Israeli offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip, Ramadan was preparing a package of printed products.

“When the building was levelled to the ground, it was not rocks that were crushed and turned to dust and rubble – it was my dreams, my passion, my future, my source of income, my past and every moment I spent to get here – to my dream.”

(Source / 16.06.2021)