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TV cameras may have succeeded in capturing a great deal of the images that reflect the barbarism of Israel's one-sided war against Palestinians, but much of the brutal war's impact on its youngest victims has largely gone unnoticed.
If we look beyond the death and injuries we'll find many more victims with scars that may never heal, families who have become impoverished, and children with growing fears.
Indeed, the Israeli government's campaign to squash the most recent uprising has had a negative psychological impact on the Palestinian population. Ninety-seven of those killed and 4,116 of those injured since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising were Palestinian children, according to a recent report conducted by UNICEF. But the harm on children goes deeper than that.
According to a study carried out by the Defense of Children International/Palestine section and sited by the Palestinian News Agency (WAFA) on December 02, "the psychological impact resulting form the violence is as equally damaging as damage inflicted by missiles and bombs." The study showed that nearly all the children examined suffered from "severe stress, fear, rounds of panic, and worries from what's coming." Many Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza are said to be suffering from lack of sleep and weight loss, evidently caused by psychological disturbance, according to the report.
In a public recent poll conducted by Bir Zeit University in which nearly 1,300 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza were surveyed, nearly 85 percent said "yes" when asked whether they felt an "adverse psychological impact on the children in their family."
Another factor that is indirectly impacting Palestinian families is the stranglehold Israeli authorities have placed on their economy. As it deliberately obstructed the establishment of a meaningful Palestinian economic infrastructure, the Israelis have exploited nearly 125,000 Palestinian laborers who had little choice but to work in Israel.
During the current uprising, laborers were often times prevented from traveling into Israel to work. According to a report recently released by UNISCO, the number of Palestinians employed in Israel dropped by 53 percent in the early days of October. "This resulted in an average daily loss of about USD 1.8 million in direct household income," stated the report.
Compared to other studies, UNISCO's report appears modest. On November 29, a Reuters news article titled "Israel blockade strangles those who survive" cited economists who said that nearly all Palestinians working in Israel are being barred from reaching their jobs.
The Bir Zeit study reveals families are feeling the pinch. Nearly seventy percent of respondents said they felt they were feeling a decline in their economic standard of living.
But despite all, Palestinians are steadfastly holding to their demands for self-determination and justice. The Palestinian University study revealed that 90 percent believed peace with the Israelis was unattainable unless a fair settlement on Jerusalem was achieved and the issue of refugee right of return was seriously addressed.
Ramzy Baroud is a freelance journalist in Seattle, Washington and a regular contributor to iviews.com.