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Human rights report: 91% of Gaza children suffer psychological trauma following Israel's aggression

July 3, 2021 at 11:46 am

Palestinian children are seen playing in a car wrecked by the Israeli attacks in Beit Lahia, Gaza on June 07, 2021 [Ashraf Amra / Anadolu Agency]

Nine out of ten children in the Gaza Strip currently suffer some form of conflict-related trauma after the Israeli military attack ended over a month ago, according to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med Monitor).

A human rights report published on Friday revealed that 91 per cent of children in the Gaza Strip had suffered psychological trauma following the latest Israeli aggression last May.

In addition to more than 260 martyrs claimed by the aggression, including entire families, hundreds were injured, thousands of homes were completely and partially destroyed, and drastic damage to the economy and infrastructure was done during the 11-day aggression.

A report issued by the organisation entitled One War Older documents the most prominent statistics of the violations suffered by “the two most vulnerable groups in the besieged strip”, women and children. Around 50 per cent of the population of the Gaza Strip – more than two million people – are children under the age of 15, and 49 per cent are women.

The report pointed out that during the recent war against Gaza between 10-21 May, which the occupation called “Operation Guardian of the Walls”, the Israeli forces carried out disproportionate attacks against densely-populated residential neighbourhoods with a majority population of children and women (75 per cent).

In addition to the large numbers of fatalities and injuries among children and women, the Euro-Med Monitor disclosed that 241 children lost one or both parents as a result of the bombing, around 5,400 children lost their homes, and 42,000 children had their homes partially damaged.

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Sixty-six children were killed in the Israeli bombing of Gaza across 11 days, while 470 children and 310 women were injured.

The report comes after more than five weeks of field research conducted by Euro-Med Monitor’s team, which documented hundreds of cases of direct targeting against civilian homes housing large numbers of women and children.

Around 72,000 children were displaced to UNRWA schools or relatives’ homes during the Israeli attack, while more than 4,000 children currently remain displaced, according to the Euro-Med Monitor.

Mariam Dawwas, a Euro-Med Monitor field researcher, stated that she and the field team documented hundreds of cases of direct targeting of civilians in their homes in the unprecedented, large-scale and ferocious attack on the Gaza Strip.

Dawwas, who was displaced with her child after Israeli fighter jets targeted her apartment building, explained: “There is not much difference from the three previous attacks on Gaza, except for one thing; Today I was among those whom I documented. I ran with them and screamed in search of my little daughter and left my home after an airstrike targeted the building.”

She expressed that she and her three-year-old daughter are looking for reasons to live and going through: “Post-traumatic stress disorder, like the vast majority of Gaza residents.”

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The report also indicated that nearly 2,500 pregnant women due to give birth in the next three months could suffer complications during childbirth as a direct or indirect effect of the attack.

The Euro-Med Monitor issued its first report on the Israeli military attack on Gaza, entitled Inescapable Hell, which documented cases of mass targeting of families and infrastructure.

The organisation is expected to issue a new report in the coming days on the economic losses incurred by the besieged Gaza Strip due to the attack.