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For children of Gaza, trauma can be worse than war itself

July 29th, 2014
03:07 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

For many children in Gaza, war is all they know.

“In the past six years, three wars happened in Gaza,” Rifat Kassis, director of Defence for Children International told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Tuesday. “So we are talking about a generation who only experienced war and violence.”

And there are a lot of children in Gaza – about 43% of the population is under the age of twelve. The United Nations says that more than two hundred children have been killed in this conflict, now three weeks old.

“When there is no place in Gaza where you can feel secure, when you lose your parents or one of your parents – this loss of the protection, this loss, the separation feeling from your parents, this is actually worse than the war activity itself,” Kassis said.

UNICEF says that about 200,000 children “are in need of immediate psychosocial support.”

“Most of these children, they will live up with depression, anxiety, hopelessness, grief, resentments, anger and fear,” Kassis said.

“My biggest fear [is that] these children will live up with hatred, with violence, with all these feelings, which should not continue, it should not last, it should be treated. And this is where we are calling upon all international organizations that such a trauma needs to be dealt with immediately.”


Filed under:  Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. ashok

    If some of these children grow up with hatred in their hearts and a desire to do something about it, should anyone be surprised ?

    July 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • RLTJ's

      Yes, people are still surprised. They have no idea why Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev brothers bombed people.

      So, they just say there are people who simply love to bomb people for the sake of bombing people, then forget about it.

      July 29, 2014 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  2. humaid

    Poor coverage of @lastine genocide "Children cought in cross fire" there is massive shielg and not cross fire as alwasy put by CNN supporting -the Isreal massacre of inocent people.

    July 29, 2014 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  3. humaid

    Very limited time coverage to american tv on gaza massacre

    July 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Reply
    • barrytm

      CNN has fairly extensive coverage from reporters actually in Gaza. The reporters (@KarlPenhaulCNN, and Ben Wedeman (@bencnn)) are risking harm being there and their coverage can’t help but be influenced by all the children dying and the entire tragedy around them. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer is reporting from Jerusalem.

      July 29, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  4. barrytm

    The Gaza Strip has been a virtual prison ever since refugees fled to it when it was part of Egypt and the Arab nations attacked the newly declared Israeli state in 1949. Egypt didn’t allow refugees entry into the rest of Egypt and created the refugee tent camps that later were replaced with permanent buildings. (Egypt later ceded Gaza to Israel in exchange for the Sinai desert.) So many children born in Gaza despite the ordinary hardship living there tragically compounded by the wars fought there. I’m curious if the cause is known.

    Is it because unemployed have nothing else to do? Does UN refugee agency that supports the Gaza population encourage and fund birth control measures? Is unrestricted population growth encouraged by Hamas for international political purposes? Does Islam have a religious mandate to procreate?

    July 29, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Reply
    • Veronique

      And whose fault is that? I think that if the world really wants to help Palestinians, the world has to tell them to make peace. All the dollars sent to them to help them develop an economy, rebuild, and so on, goes to the deep pockets of the upper layer of Hamas, and finances the construction of tunnels. Tunnels could be used to protect their people, but no, they are used to wage war. Our children have been in bomb shelters for 3 weeks!!!!! hearing alarms every 5 minutes. They are not hurt – thank God – because we spend a huge amount of money to build bomb shelters. Tell the Palestinians to disarm. We will not harm them any more if they disarm. We only want peace and quiet but they force us to fight back.

      July 29, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  5. RLTJ's

    War trauma. That's interesting. And in there blood debt – which is sky-is-the -limit for Israel now as nobody, except the Americans, is throwing any towel in there.

    And, blood debts will have to be paid, by whoever, sooner or later – the after shocks in war.

    July 29, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Reply
  6. RLTJ's

    “My biggest fear [is that] these children will live up with hatred, with violence, with all these feelings, which should not continue, it should not last, it should be treated. And this is where we are calling upon all international organizations that such a trauma needs to be dealt with immediately.”

    I'm not sure about cure for war trauma. Blood debts are not easily written off. Not even Abas and Hamas can write them off.

    July 29, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Reply
  7. RLTJ's

    War trauma and blood debts? Check the Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev brothers.

    July 29, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Reply
  8. Liz Herdman

    Will your chief international correspondent...Christiane Amanpour...be commenting on Gaza? Is the massacre in Gaza too mundane for the likes of Amanpour...Zakaria...maybe they don't want to risk antagonizing the jewish lobby...

    I used to think there was a difference between CNN & Fox....Blitzer is an utter disgrace ...an apologist for the slaughterers....

    July 31, 2014 at 7:12 am | Reply
  9. DSGR

    Israel will ask the people of Gaza to evacuate areas in which its army will go in.
    I would like to ask Mr. Rifat Kassis, director of Defence for Children International, why is it that since they know where and when there will be violence, why don't the Gazans and the Hamas leaders and the UN authorities don't evacuate the children from dangerous areas? Why is it that they leave them on purpose so they can witness and suffer the atrocities of a war? And so they can use them for publicity purposes? They can avoid at least, some of the suffering for the children in Gaza.
    Why is it that the Gaza population and the Hamas leaders, with the money they get from other Arab countries as well as European and western countries as aid, invest so much in armament, rockets, a sophisticated net of tunnels and invest so little in taking the population of Gaza out of their misery and have a better infrastructure, better services, better quality life?

    August 4, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  10. shibakate

    The children here have no childhood, the emotional trauma will follow the lives of the children. They are miserable and innocent! http://www.friv2on.com

    August 5, 2014 at 11:20 pm | Reply

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