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But what about the Palestinians?

More than 200 Palestinians and 17 officers were wounded on Friday 7th May when Israeli forces attacked worshippers in occupied East Jerusalem near the holy Al-Aqsa mosque

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But what about the Palestinians Feature
RafahKid Kid from Rafah, Palestine, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

More than 200 Palestinians and 17 officers were wounded on Friday 7th May when Israeli forces attacked worshippers in occupied East Jerusalem near the holy Al-Aqsa mosque. Violence between the Israelis forces and Palestinians have since continued. The forced evictions of Palestinian families, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, that sparked the protests are currently being appealed in court. However, the Israeli justice ministry has further postponed the hearing for 30 days. 

While the Al-Aqsa mosque attacks captured the world’s attention and shed spotlight on Palestinian oppression, the incident is just the tip of the iceberg. When uncovered, we find a deep history of Palestinian persecution.

Asal Almazloum is an 18-year old Palestinian-Canadian with family currently residing in Gaza. 

With recent events unfolding in occupied Jerusalem, she lives in fear of what might happen to her family. 

“I have friends of friends who’ve been sending videos of what’s happening there and it’s just been horrifying,” Almazloum said. “There’s people lying on the ground with blood, dead people and others rushing to get them to the hospital.”

Through a phone call to her family, she learned on Monday that Northern Gaza was hit by an Israeli air strike, not far from her family home.

“Praise be to God, my family is safe and sound within their home but there’s still a fear that another airstrike will come and hit them,” said Almazloum. The fear also comes from a traumatic memory of Almazloum’s seven-storey family home being demolished by an Israeli airstrike in the 2014 Gaza War. The airstrike left her family scattered across the city, hoping to find rentals or generous civilians to live with until their house was rebuilt last year. 

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Almazloum’s family home was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike during the Gaza War in 2014. (Courtesy of Asal Almazloum)

Early Tuesday morning, Gaza was once again attacked by Israeli forces and at least 24 Palestinians, including nine children, were killed. 

“There have been many air strike missiles going down on them all night,” Almazloum said. “[My family] says it’s been very hard to sleep through the noise and of course [it’s] terrifying, they’ve all packed a bag in case they get evacuated.”

The UN has acknowledged that the allegations of war crimes against Israel during the Gaza War are credible in the face of evidence. The UN is also deeply concerned about ongoing assaults in occupied East Jerusalem . Although, take note that, it was the UN General Assembly that approved Resolution 181 (Partition Resolution) in 1947. This resolution split former Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state, and marked the beginning of rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

Ayat Ibrahim Qunibi, a Palestinian-Canadian and mother of three, says her grandparents would often recall the peaceful times in former Palestine before the creation of Israel in 1948. However, in 1967 her parents were forcefully evicted by Israeli settlers in Jerusalem. Without anywhere else to go, they fled to Jordan. 

“They kept the keys to their house because they thought they would be back,” Qunibi said. In reality, Qunibi was born in Jordan and it was only in 2013 that she was able to see her homeland for the first time.

Qunibi’s family was one of thousands that was evicted in 1967. That year, the Israeli government began making civilian establishments on Palestinian territory, according to Penny Green and Amelia Smith in Evicting Palestine, with approximately 300,000 Palestinians forced to flee.

“Our dream was to visit Palestine,” Qunibi said. “Although Jordan and Palestine are so close, like one hour, we couldn’t go to Palestine. So we came [to Canada] to get passports to visit our country.” 

But what about the Palestinians Photo 2

Qunibi poses inside the Al-Aqsa mosque when she visited Jerusalem for the first time in 2013 with her husband and three children. (Courtesy of Ayat Ibrahim Qunibi)

Forced Palestinian evictions only got worse after 1967. Today, Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah are being forced to give up their homes to Israeli Jewish settlers and pay 70,000 shekels ($20,000) to cover the settlers’ legal expenses, according to Al Jazeera

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected international criticism regarding forced evictions of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah. “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and just as every nation builds in its capital and builds up its capital, we also have the right to build in Jerusalem and to build up Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu on Sunday. “That is what we have done and that is what we will continue to do.”

Rema Hammami described her life in Sheikh Jarrah as a “penniless” graduate student in her 2012 tribute, The Exiling of Sheikh Jarrah. She wrote, “The settler master-plan for the neighborhood envisages evicting more than five hundred Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah and building three hundred settler homes in their place.” Hammami, associate professor of anthropology at Birzeit University, wrote an account of her life in Sheikh Jarrah since the 1980s which describes the harassment faced by Palestinian families on a daily basis. “Heavily armed forces” appeared at her doorstep demanding 83,000 shekel for a hospital or eviction, her neighbours’ homes were broken into by settlers followed by unfair trials and Israel launched explosions around her neighbourhood. These are just a few incidents symbolizing the reality of being a Palestinian in occupied Jerusalem. 

In 2020 alone, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that approximately 200 families, which include 800 adults and children, have pending eviction cases in the occupied West Bank. Further, Israelis destroyed 848 Palestinian structures and justified the destruction by declaring the buildings were in forbidden military zones or lacked Israeli-issued permits that are generally “virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain,” according to an Amnesty International report on the Israel-Palestine conflict 2020.

While unrest in occupied Jerusalem and Gaza may have the world’s attention for now, time and time again, we see the stories of innocent Palestinian civilians fade away — either by the media’s suspicious removal of Palestinian activism or governments’ lack of action despite their wordy statements that “condemn” Israel’s actions. 

Western countries take pride in their values like “democracy” and “liberty”. When they see an oppressed population, the world witnesses their “humanitarian missions” in African countries or the Middle East, but where are their supposed “humanitarian interventions” now? 

The fact is, Palestinians have and will continue to suffer under the Israeli government whether or whether or not #FreePalestine is trending on social media, unless the international community takes serious action to defend them. 

The current situation in Palestine gives rise to chilling echoes of the evil persecution faced by certain religious and ethnic groups during the 20th Century. The fact that Western nations continue to stand aside as the Palestinians suffer at the hands of the Israeli authorities, perhaps reflects their own continued guilt at having allowed  for millions of innocent Jews to suffer such a cruel fate at the hands of Hitler during the Second World War. As the writer Omair Ahmad recently tweeted: “At some point the Americans and Europeans have to honestly ask themselves how much Palestinian blood is necessary to overcome European guilt, before they can say ethnic cleansing and calls for genocide are not okay”.

Today, the few fortunate survivors of the Holocaust visit schools and share their stories with students to encourage them to stand up for justice so that no people suffer like they and their loved ones did. And if they do, we — the students, human rights organizations, media and governments — will do what we should’ve done during the holocaust: we will stand up for the oppressed demanding their freedom.

But what about the Palestinians? 

Qunibi says with grief in her voice, “History is repeating itself again.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Economics

World Food Programme suspends food assistance to 1.7 million in South Sudan

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Conflict combined with poor weather in South Sudan has led to 7.74 million people facing a hunger crisis.

Despite the country facing food insecurity, the World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended food assistance to 1.7 million people in South Sudan. They require $426 million to be able to feed 6 million people in South Sudan throughout 2022. At the start of 2022, the WFP projected that it would be able to assist 6.2 million people in the country but has failed at achieving this target. This suspension of funding comes at one of the worst times for South Sudan, a newly independent country which not only has been facing internal conflicts for many years but also faced three years of flooding, a localised drought and like the rest of the world, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and soaring global food prices. Therefore, not only is food not available in the country, but it also comes at a much higher price making the country food insecure. This cut also comes at a time where South Sudan is facing lean season, which is the season between planting crops and harvesting them. During this season, food is already scarce.

The suspension of aid by the WFP is due to a funding shortage of $426 million. It is important to note that the primary source of WFP’s funding comes from governments around the world. This funding is entirely voluntary, meaning that the countries have the freedom to cut anytime they wish.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), a human rights group recently ruled that the world’s 10 most neglected crises are all in Africa with South Sudan being the 4th most neglected crisis. The Secretary General of the NRC, Jan Egeland said “The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the immense gap between what is possible when the international community rallies behind a crisis, and the daily reality for millions of people suffering in silence within these crises on the African continent that the world has chosen to ignore,”

The hunger crisis the people of South Sudan face is not new, rather food insecurity has been a challenge for years now. In 2017, South Sudan faced a famine and now another famine is predicted by the WFP this year if funding is not organised. Furthermore, South Sudan has recently been facing unrest which has only intensified the issue, leading to brutal violence upon civilians, including targeted attacks, gender-based violence, kidnappings and murders. This has led to nearly 2.3 million people fleeing to neighbouring countries whilst 1.87 million people remain internally displaced. Displacement continues to exacerbate the hunger crisis in South Sudan as many rely on food from their own land, something which is not possible during displacement. Internal conflict has thus meant that people have had to rely heavily on food assistance.

There have been many attempts for a peace agreement in the country, but so far, all these attempts have failed.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Economics

Is Rwanda a dumping ground for the UK?

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The UK is planning to send its illegal immigrants to Rwanda. In return, the country is paying the Government £120 million in the form of an economic development program. This controversial decision was made to deter any future illegal immigrants from entering the country via dangerous routes.

The East African country suffered genocide and civil war in 1994 and has been trying to recover since. The effort made by the country, however, was halted due to the pandemic.

Only recently, authorities in Rwanda prosecuted opposition members, commentators, and journalists for voicing their opinion. Anyone who doesn’t agree with the government is thrown in jail and threatened, and people have even mysteriously disappeared.

Rwanda is also one of the smallest countries in the world and the rate of population growth is already more than the country can handle. With 10,000 square miles and a population density of more than 1,000 per square mile, starvation and malnutrition is prevalent because the country struggles to feed its growing population. Accusations abound that the government has burned farmers’ fields that could not produce an adequate amount of crops. The country is obsessed with modernising whilst ignoring its internal issues.

Poverty is a huge concern. Its true extent is unknown as the government has been accused of misinterpreting the actual data. Similarly, the education level of children is low with a high drop-out rate.

It’s plain to see that Rwanda is struggling with its own domestic problems, and now the UK is turning the country into a dumping ground for illegal immigrants which will surely set the economy back. The plan has been accused of being unethical and cruel.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Siobhán Mullally talked about the dangers of increased human trafficking when large numbers of people are transferred from one country to another and how easy it is for traffickers to pick vulnerable victims in this situation when they have no control over where they are going. “People seeking international protection, fleeing conflict, and persecution, have the right to seek and enjoy asylum – a fundamental tenet of international human rights and refugee law,” she said. Even Prince Charles, heir to the British throne criticised the decision made by the government calling it “appalling”.

There have also been accusations that the UK is not playing its part in its handling of its refugee problem. Chief Executive of Refugee Action, Tim Naor Hilton said that the government was “offshoring its responsibilities onto Europe’s former colonies instead of doing our fair share to help some of the most vulnerable people on the planet”.

Meanwhile, UK-based non-profits run by Congolese nationals in the Diaspora sent a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in which they expressed their fear that the money sent by the UK government could be used to propagate the war in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo instead of improving Rwanda.

According to Phil Clark, Professor of International Politics at SOAS University of London, the government of Rwanda could use this deal as leverage. So whenever the government is accused of human rights violations they can threaten to pull out of the deal. Already once, the country has “threatened to pull its peacekeepers out of Darfur when foreign donors were threatening to pull foreign aid out of Rwanda.”

Whilst the focus is on Rwanda violating human rights, the country is known however, for looking after its refugees well enough. The problem is that the UK is using the country to shed itself of its own responsibility while Rwanda is not equipped to deal with a large number of refugees.

The irony of the situation cannot be lost to global observers as, “Only a couple of hundred years ago, the situation was reversed. Ships full of Africans were being forcefully deported from their homeland to Britain, Europe, and the Americas. Now, the descendants of slave traders are paying the descendants of their would-be slaves to take a burden off their hands.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Environment

The world is ageing at a rapid pace and there will be consequences

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World and Aging Hands

There are more old people in the world than there are young people. Both developed and developing countries have to be ready to take the huge burden of the rising population of older people.

According to 2019 data from the UN, the proportion of people aged 60 and over will be 1 in 6 by the year 2050. However, a more recent observation by the WHO shows that the world might reach these statistics much sooner; that is, by 2030. And by 2050, the population of over 60 will double to almost 2.1 billion people.

This demographic change has already occurred in some developed countries. In Japan, the median age is 48 years old, and this makes Japan’s population the oldest in the world. By 2060, there will be one elderly person for each person of working age.

Similarly, there are already more people aged 60 and over in Europe and North America than young people under the age of 15. Germany is another example. It is predicted that by 2050 the population of the income-generating population will fall from 55 million to less than 40 million.

The change is greatest in developed countries because of low mortality rates as well as low fertility rates. This means new children are not being born while the healthcare of the country is improving, so people and children live longer.

The data for the population of the world in 2020 already shows that the population aged 65 and older is 727 million, whereas the population under 5 is 677 million.

There are many consequences of this change. The biggest is the increase in the dependent population, which will affect the economy of the country. Most people over the age of 60 are retired, so they depend on pensions while the younger income-generating population is responsible for providing the money through taxes. The taxes will need to increase to meet the demands of the older generation. Not only that, the government has to spend more money on the older generation who don’t earn on their own rather than invest in developing the country.

There will also be a rise in chronic illnesses which will affect the allocation of healthcare facilities as right now there is more focus on infectious diseases. Since there will be an increase in the older generation, there will be even less informal care from the remaining younger family members. Elderly abuse is already an issue, but there will be a rise in this form of abuse as well.

Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said, “There will be very few children and lots of people over the age of 65, and that makes it very difficult to sustain global society.”

Adding, “Think of all the profound social and economic consequences for a society with more grandparents than grandchildren.”

For many reasons, in America, most women are staying child-free or having children later in life. The biggest reason is the expense required to raise children. Since 2007, the birth rate for women in their 20s has fallen by 28%, shows data.

Similarly, in England and Wales, the percentage of women in their 30s without children rose from 18% in 1975 to 50% in 2020.

Unless more work is done to replace the population and prevent population shrinkage by encouraging people to have more children, the economies of many countries need to prepare for a boost from the older population.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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World

“No, Rwanda is not an uncivilised well of darkness” 

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Rwanda

As deportations go, being shipped off to Rwanda sounds like the lower end of the scale. It has the echoes of Paddington bear’s Darkest Peru.

And yet, all those who have seen the live action film can probably agree that the fictional bear’s Darkest Peru wasn’t really that dark; luscious greenery in a thriving jungle, trees weighed down with oranges perfect for making buckets of marmalade, constant sun, and blue skies. It’s the perfect description of a luxury holiday.. in Africa? Rwanda maybe?

To be clear, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is not within the confines of British values or even human sense or reason. To spend millions and millions of pounds to deport vulnerable refugees seeking safety four thousand miles away from the apparent beacon of democracy and human rights – that is Britain, by using taxpayers money, seems to defeat the very purpose of sending them out of Britain in the first place. Rwanda, if one is familiar with the events of 1994, and the ever constant threat to the lives of journalists, activists, and opposing political rivals of the government, isn’t exactly a beacon of human rights, democracy, and freedom. 

That’s why the European Court of Human Rights – not to be confused with the super-villain that is ‘Europe!’ according to a very loud group of Tory backbenchers – blocked the flight which was to fly seven refugees off to the East African country. Cue the cries of ‘Europe Telling Us What To Do Again’, and lets opt out of that one too – several Conservative MPs called for ties to be cut with the Strasbourg based body. 

But just because the legality of a sovereign policy was disputed by the highest court of human rights on the continent, does not mean Britain’s leaders need to throw a strop and exit yet another institution that can hold it accountable for its actions. And just because a policy is draconian and ethically wrong – even the heir to the throne and the Church of England bashed the plans as ‘appalling’ and ‘immoral’ – does not mean that the country which happens to be the designation for said unethical deportation, should be viewed as the uncivilised backwater of the world. It’s almost as if most of the hand wringing of the liberal wing is doubled on hearing that Rwanda is the intended destination.

Patel herself, biggest pusher of the policy, and perhaps in order to justify it, accidentally blurted out some truth to that matter; talking about Rwanda’s past of genocide and recent human rights abuses to the Guardian newspaper, she said that, “It’s scarred the country in the sense that they are rebuilding. If it was France, if we were sending people to Sweden, New York, Sydney, would they (the critics) change their mind? That actually speaks of inbuilt prejudice and, I would even go as far as to say, racism.”

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Indeed Patel might have struck gold in identifying the underlying thoughts that exist in the media coverage, and even through the many demonstrations and online petitions which speaks of Rwanda’s less than forgiving record of the impending deportation of refugees.

In the last few days, the word Rwanda has become synonymous with the abuse of human rights, just as Africa has become the poster child for third world poverty and lack of civilisation. Much of that is because poverty is high on the continent and Rwanda does have a murky human rights record; but a lot is because of the portrayal of African countries in Western literature and media dating back to the slave trade of African people. The ‘orientalising’ of Africa is something that is always so unconsciously done. After all, being known not so long ago as the ‘dark continent’ never created the image of a comfortable life, nor of a ‘civilised’ society.

It is true that the leadership of African countries have much to be wished for. But it is precisely in a democracy – one where the votes aren’t rigged by the highest bidder – that a government can reflect the mindset of its people. And for many African nations, including Rwanda where political opposition is often violently quashed, that is not the case. Why is it that the poverty caused by western appeasing, tax guzzling African governments is then applied as a blanket term for the countries as a whole?

Because the perception of poverty – and of education, literacy, all components of ‘civilisation’ – in the eyes of western statistic charts is a number. A man in Uganda with twenty goats and chickens, acres of land with trees producing fresh fruit, sugarcane, and vegetables, probably isn’t very ‘educated’. But he’s able to send all his kids to school and have a heaving table of food with organic homegrown things and without any price tags, for himself and his family every night, without any money leaving the palm of his hand, nor any money entering it. The fact he wakes up at five a.m. isn’t a sign of his difficult uncivilised, impoverished situation, it’s a sign of his work ethic and strength to live a comfortable life that is just different from the western way of living. Lack of money isn’t the only sort of poverty – reliance on it for a comfortable life is too.

In Britain where jobs are getting harder to find and the unemployed are stuck on state handouts, with too much reliance on the latter to make any move towards leaving the cycle of dependence, it is unimaginable that a woman in a place like Kenya can collect hard grass from the sidewalk and bind them to make brooms which she then sells – it’s not much, and there is no way you can glorify capitalism through that. Maybe she won’t have enough to feed her children every night, nor herself. But she is able. Her face, her manners, her way of living does not reflect lack of civilisation or humanity, it does not dignify being labelled as an unable, helpless, illiterate African in dire need of Western rescuing – as is portrayed through western media.

Yes it is true that governments in Africa should spend more on alleviating the result of low or no income, and lack of affordable education – rather than filling their own stomachs – but that doesn’t negate the fact that even without all the comforts of British welfare, the strength and entrepreneurial spirit of the people in countries like Kenya, Uganda, or Rwanda, and so many other ‘underdeveloped’ African countries is unmatched against the ‘civilised’ West who rely on help from the state and without which the cost of living makes it impossible to have a comfortable life.

Only a couple of hundred years ago, the situation was reversed. Ships full of Africans were being forcefully deported from their homeland to Britain, Europe, and the Americas. Now, the descendants of slave traders are paying the descendants of their would-be slaves to take a burden off their hands. It’s not something you can make up and the taste left over is sour to say the least.

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie put it right:

“If I were not African, I wonder whether it would be clear to me that Africa is a place where the people do not need limps gifts of fish but sturdy fishing rods and fair access to the pond. I wonder whether I would realise that while African nations have a failure of leadership, they also have dynamic people with agency and voices.”

The answer to Adichie?

No, none of these things are so easily realised by those so programmed for centuries to look down upon, enslave, and brutalise the inhabitants of the cradle of civilisation itself.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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World

Illegal Maasai eviction for wildlife hunting

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Tanzania to forcefully evict indigenous community in illegal move for wildlife hunting ground

The government of the United Republic of Tanzania is currently planning on removing the Maasai people from their ancestral land in 2022. The land is being cleared so it can be leased to wildlife hunting firm Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC) owned by Dubai Royals and for tourism reasons. 

The 1,500 km2 area is located in the Loliondo Division of Ngorongoro District, Arusha Region. Known as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) it is home to many locals who do not want to leave. 

If the leasing plan is passed, it will displace around 70,000 indigenous Maasai people and more than 200,000 livestock, according to an urgent alert by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). The Maasai were told of this plan in January of this year by Regional Commissioner for Arusha, John Mongella. The forceful eviction is also being condemned by the Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI) organization. 

But the land of the NCA is also under threat from other international organisations such as UNESCO and safari businesses. Allegedly posing a threat to ecological sustainability and wildlife tourism, the government of Tanzania believes that the area is overpopulated which could impact surrounding wildlife. The Multiple Land-Use Model (MLUM) was previously developed so the land could be used for more than one purpose. However, there is evidence that in the past this plan has led to serious problems for the locals. 

Current protests against the proposed evictions and demarcation of land for conservation have been met with violence. On June 10th police fired on at least 18 men and 13 women, and 13 were wounded with machetes with one person confirmed dead. The protests began back in January. 

The eviction of the indigenous peoples is illegal according to Tanzania law and international law and a violation of the Village Land Act of 1999. According to international law, forced evictions are a violation of human rights and can only be allowed in extreme conditions whilst strictly complying with specific standards and legal processes. However, a representative of the Tanzanian government, Malik Hassan Shafi refuted claims of enforced evictions stating that the government would “never hurt its own people it has sworn to protect”, and that anti-government agitators were to blame for the discord.

But a local Maasai leader attending the protest insisted, “We have nowhere else to go. Losing this land will mean the extinction of our community. We have taken care of our environment and lived in harmony with other living and nonliving things. And we are not ready to lose our traditional lifestyle we have lived for times immemorial. ”He added, “Over 70% of our homelands has been taken for conservation and investment reasons. We are appealing to human rights organizations, media and other citizens who value Indigenous human rights to share our plight and put pressure on the government of Tanzania to respect the rights of its citizens, and particularly indigenous people.” 

As well as protesting, the Maasai community has also written a letter to appeal to Western leaders for support to stop the forceful eviction, but so far there has been little response. There are fears it could mirror the forceful eviction of Palestinians which was approved by an Israeli court earlier this year.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Politics

Israeli Blockade Causes Depression in 80% of Palestinian Children

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A recent report put out by Save the Children, titled “Trapped”, shows that four out every five children living in Gaza suffer from depression, sadness and fear. The report followed 488 children and 168 parents and caregivers in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Blockade of the Gaza Strip began in 2007. Not only did The Israeli government prevent items such as livestock, shampoo and musical instruments from going into Gaza, but they also blocked aid groups from sending basic learning items such as paper and crayons. The blockade severely impacted the area’s economy and restricted travel of its citizens. 

800,000 Palestinian children have only ever known life within the blockade, living through traumatic violence by Israeli military and living in constant fear for the duration of their whole lives. 

Building upon past research, the latest report by Save the Children shows that the mental health of not only children, but also youth and caregivers, has deteriorated severely since their last report four years ago. The number of children with emotional distress increased from 55% to 80%. The report also showed an increase in children feeling fearful, sad, nervous, depressed and in grief. 

More than half of Gaza’s children have had thoughts of suicide, with three out of five children thinking of self-harm.

Many factors have been contributing to the poor mental health of Gaza’s children due to the blockade, such as  lack of basic services such as healthcare and other needs. Another study published in 2020, showed high levels of anxiety disorders and PTSD in Palestinians. It reported that they were at a higher risk for these mental illnesses due to continuous exposure to polital violence, prolonged displacement, and limitations of education, professions, financial opportunities and mental health services. 

Before the blockade even started, a study was conducted in 2004, under Israeli occupied Gaza, of 403 refugee children living in four camps on the Gaza Strip. The study included that children living in occupation and blockade zones were at high risk of suffering from PTSD.

According to the Save the Children report, 59% of children show signs of speech, communication and language difficulties, even temporary reactive mutism, a sign of trauma or abuse. In the last few years, 79% of children have suffered from bed-wetting.

The effect of these symptoms on the children’s learning, development and social interaction is immediate and long term, warned Save the Children. Jason Lee, Country Director in Palestine for Save the Children, said “The physical evidence of their distress – bedwetting, loss of ability to speak or to complete basic tasks – is shocking and should serve as a wakeup call to the international community.”

Save the Children called on Israel to take immediate steps on lifting the blockade on Gaza and ending the ongoing occupation. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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