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|Title||Trauma, violence, and mental health: the Palestinian experience|
It is widely accepted that in contemporary conflicts civilians have emerged as the primary targets and victims of hostilities. The conflict arising from the Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (which denote the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem) is no exception. As the statistics clearly demonstrate, Palestinian civilians have been, by far, the primary victims of the conflict (Nixon, 1990). Moreover, Palestinians have been subjected to protracted and systematic suppression and brutality that traumatizes the entire community. Just how such political violence affects what children experience as their psychological reality and their well-being is not fully understood. Although significant studies have been carried out in many parts of the world over the past few years, there remains a marked lack of information. In fact, most of our knowledge about the psychological consequences of political violence originate from research carried out on mothers and children in world War II, and on the survivors of concentration camps (Shanan, 1989). Such research has aided my own work and emphasized the need for continued study.
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