MISERY OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN

Amna Ghaben was wounded and lost her 8-year old sister when an Israeli missile hit her home

Children throughout the West Bank and Gaza have observed Palestinian Children’s Day, which aims to highlight the plight of children living under Israeli occupation.

To mark the day, the Palestinian Network for Children’s Rights issued new figures on Thursday showing how the Israeli occupation has damaged the lives of thousands of children.

“In 2007, the Israeli army continues to deploy the same violent policy towards Palestinian children with eight children being killed so far this year,” a press release from the group said on Thursday.

“This brings the total number of children killed since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000, by the Israeli army and illegal Israeli settlers, to 860.”

Additionally, 5,200 Palestinian children have been arrested by the Israeli army and about 400 are still being held in Israeli prisons and interrogation centres, the statement said.

Palestinian children also suffer unusually levels of stress and mental problems – largely as a result of living in a state of near-constant insecurity.

A child’s story

Typical of many Palestinian children is Amna Ghaben. Ten years old, her name in Arabic means to be safe and secure but she has enjoyed little of either.
A year ago an Israeli rocket landed on her family’s house in Gaza. Her eight-year-old sister, Hadeil, was killed and 11 other family members were injured in the attack. Amna suffered shrapnel wounds all over her body. But although the physical injuries have now healed, she remains mentally traumatised.

“During shelling, I’m with them and their father hugs them too, but they keep telling us this house could be destroyed on our heads,” her mother said.

Dr Ismail Ahmad, a psychiatrist, has been working with Amna since the attack, analysing her drawings.

He says her drawings are a window into how Amna has dealt with the tragedy.

“The smile is gone from Amna’s face, her academic level went down, and she feels insecure in her house,” Ahmad said.

Source: Al Jazeera

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