Psychosocial causes for factional war

Eyad El-Sarraj, Jun 14, 2007

In this piece, Dr. Eyad El-Serraj examines the deep-seated issues that have lead to the current situation in Gaza and within the Palestinian Authority. This article was originally published by the Palestine Chronicle and is republished with permission.

Our people have suffered for 59 years from displacement, homelessness, discrimination, impoverishment and expatriation, but they withstood that suffering and never killed each other; so what happened to us? The late Arafat rejected a plan to kill Abu Nidal, who had already killed a number of Palestinian leaders, and said, “If we start this series of killings, we will never stop.” So what happened? I have heard stories about new forms of cold-blooded and callous murder, and about Palestinians denigrating and holding as infidel other Palestinians or accusing them of heresy and bigotry as a prelude to ostracizing or murdering them. I have also heard numerous stories about children who have been horrified and traumatized and have fallen victims to nightmares, loss of appetite, insomnia and fear of street-walking. What is happening to us? How could things amount to assaulting homes, mosques and universities?
Politics and political difference alone do not provide the answer. There are several additional social and psychological factors for what is befalling this society. A safe and stable environment is one that produces normal children, while the environment we have been living in since the occupation is one in which violence proliferates and becomes rampant.

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