Psychological Effects of Life In Gaza

Imitating Israel: How Israeli brutality in Gaza is radicalizing a new generation of Palestinians.

True vision productions has released a documentary of life in Gaza entitled “The Children of Gaza.” The heartbreaking film, shot in 2009, follows four children around the strip to try to document how life after Operation Cast Lead is different.  The film is incredible touching and, predictably, more than just a little depressing.  All of the children know someone who was killed in the brief 3 week siege; two of the children watched as their father was gunned down in front of them.  Many have injuries that remind them everyday of the Israeli incursion.

[tweetmeme] Ostensibly, Cast Lead was meant to remove the ability for Hamas to fire rockets into Israel.  Yet this film clearly demonstrates that the violence and death caused in those three weeks have done much more.  Importantly, because the strict blockade that Israel and Egypt are imposing on the small strip prevents any construction materials from entering, the destruction remains as a constant reminder of the pain caused by those three weeks.

To me, the psychological effects of Cast Lead and the continuing blockade of Israel are the most important.  The children in this film are clearly, and understandably, cultivating severe hatred for Israel.  After seeing their friends and family killed, their houses, schools and mosques destroyed and the blockade sucking the life out of their homes, one can hardly blame the youths for being – for lack of a better word – bitter.  Certainly, Israel wants to stop rockets being fired from Gaza, but the destruction of Gaza is only serving to radicalize the youth of Gaza against Israel.

The video shows the children “playing” by pretending to torture one another, bomb fishing boats and shoot Palestinians in the head.  Cast Lead and the blockade has forced the youth in Gaza to see Israel as a brutal enemy.  After watching this film, it is clear that any future peace with Israel will need to take into account the extensive psychological toll on Gazans.

Be sure to watch all five parts and check out this post over at Ensaios Imperfeitos for more on the children of Gaza.

Photo from Ensaios Imperfeitos

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5 thoughts on “Psychological Effects of Life In Gaza

  1. this is so not true, Israeli children can not even go insaid Gaza today..
    and must of them teach there ids to respect all kinds of people and to never be raises!

  2. yarden might have misunderstood the content of this entry. the OP was not implying that Israeli kids fail to be taught respect for all kinds of people. OP was summarizing the traumatic effect of Israel’s actions on the surviving youth of Gaza, and how it will make it more difficult in the future, for Israel to make peace because they are making themselves enemies with the future generations.

    I found this to be a depressing reality, and really hope Israel will realize this on time. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Israel is not trying to make enemies with the future generations. Instead, these children are being brainwashed everyday by the propaganda in their closed off lives. The reason they know so many people killed by Israeli attacks and the reason they are injured is because the terrorist organization they believe to be a “political party” is hiding behind Gaza’s very own children. Hamas hides behind schools, hospitals and other civilian based areas and draw Israeli retaliation to these areas. This is the honest truth and unfortunately this is the lives these children live; not because Israel wants these children to suffer, but because Hamas/terrorists do not care enough to protect these children from harm.

      1. Michelle,

        This is perhaps very true, but it certainly is not the only reason why Palestinian youth feel contempt for Israel. Palestinians in Gaza are denied come of the most basic goods. No water is pure enough to drink; there is no waste treatment facility so solid waste is burned or dumped without concern for health or the environment; youth see family members shot and killed while trying to farm land or even play soccer. There are certainly accusations of Hamas blending with the civilian population – accusations that I believe. Yet that hardly justifies Israel killing scores of Palestinians. In the last 2 weeks, more Palestinian civilians in Gaza have been killed than Israelis in the last 2 years. Those dead include 5 youths who were playing soccer in a playground and their grandfather. They include a houseful of women who had – minutes before the house was blown up – refused militants use of the property. In Cast Lead, Israel killed over 900 Palestinians civilians. In 2011, Israel is killing Palestinians at a rate of about 1.5 every two days. The reason Palestinians are being killed in Israeli attacks is that Israel does not mind killing Palestinians and receives very little international pressure to stop.

        In the West Bank, the occupation is full of stories of humiliation at checkpoints – babies being born at checkpoints, because soldiers will not let an ambulance through? men and women forced to undress in front of the other gender? – stories of nighttime raids of civilian houses for no reason, detention without trial or proper evidence, exploitation of Palestinian natural resources, expanding settlements, restrictions of movement for no apparent reason, denial of building permits for no apparent reason. If Israel is not trying to make enemies with future generations, they are certainly doing a terrible job in making friends.

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