As well as the death toll and obvious physical damage, Israel's attacks will leave a severe psychological mark on Gaza's surviving children. Three months after the last period of bombing ended, in January 2009, Abdelaziz Thabet, a child psychiatrist at Al-Quds University in the Gaza Strip, studied the effects of the bombing on Palestinian children.
The Gaza war lasted three weeks and saw 1100 Palestinians killed and 13 Israelis. Of the 358 teenagers Thabet studied, 30 per cent were left with full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder. Most other children presented some PTSD symptoms, and only 12 per cent had no symptoms. The study was published in the May issue of the Arab Journal of Psychiatry, just a month before the current campaign.
The rates of full-blown PTSD may be worse this time due to the intensity of the shelling, warns co-author Panos Vostanis at the Greenwood Institute of Child Health at the University of Leicester, UK. "I'd expect them to be at least 60 to 70 per cent in the three to six months afterwards," he says. - New Scientist