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NGO says Palestinian children feel abandoned during house demolition

On May 21, 2021, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, a Palestinian child stands among the rubble of a building destroyed by an Israeli strike.

  • Four-fifths of Israeli children demolishing houses in Jerusalem and the West Bank have lost confidence in getting help and protection.
  • A teenager asked them why they bother to dream of a better future.
  • A report also found that 76% of parents felt powerless and unable to protect their children after losing their homes.

The children’s rights organization Save the Children found that among the children whose homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem were demolished by the Israeli authorities, four out of five said they lost confidence that anyone could help or protect them, and Feeling “abandoned by the world”.

This Report released on Monday When the Palestinians were living Sheikh Jala with Silvan Before the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling, residential areas in occupied East Jerusalem were facing expulsion from their homes in order to make way for Israeli settlers.

The report, entitled “Hope under the Ruins: The Impact of Israel’s Demolition Policy on Palestinian Children and Their Families,” consulted 217 Palestinian families in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem who had houses in the past ten years. All were demolished by the Israeli authorities. year.

Among the children surveyed, 80% said they have lost confidence in the ability of the international community, the authorities and even their parents to help and protect them. The report found that they felt powerless and hopeless about the future.

Fadi*, 16, told Save the Children:

No one can stop them-or can stop them again-destroy our homes, our lives. So why should I bother to dream of a better future?

The report also found that 76% of parents and caregivers felt powerless and unable to protect their children after losing their homes. Most people also said they felt ashamed, angry, and angry, while 35% said they were emotionally alienated from their children.

Most of the children interviewed showed a high rate of suffering, including feelings of sadness, fear, depression, and anxiety.

The report found that the children described that they often had nightmares, felt that no place was safe for them, and were paralyzed by fear.

“I only have sad memories. I still feel traumatized by soldiers and their dogs attacking and hurting my father. [during the demolition],” 15-year-old Gasan* told Save the Children.

“I have a nightmare, dreaming that the bulldozer tore off every stone in our house, and the sound of the explosion still haunts me.”

‘Steal their future’

Jason Lee, director of the State Save the Children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told Al Jazeera that the psychosocial impact of demolition on these children is “unfathomable.”

“Three-fifths of the children affected their education when their houses were demolished. They found it difficult to resume their studies and studies, which means they have very limited opportunities to find jobs in the future,” Li said.

The report also found that seven out of ten children said that after their homes were demolished, they felt socially isolated and had no contact with the community.

“A staggering number of children no longer have any contact with their land and their communities. They are basically wandering,” Li said.

“In fact, these forced demolitions and such a coercive environment have taken place for decades. We have basically affected an entire generation of children and, to some extent, have effectively stolen their future.

Li said:

If your child feels stressed, depressed, anxious, sad, insecure, does not participate in learning, does not interact with friends, communities and families, what kind of future will we create for the entire generation of Palestinian children?

According to Save the Children, the Israeli authorities have demolished 28,000 Palestinian houses since 1967. In the past 12 years, approximately 6,000 children and their families have been affected by the demolition.

Children’s rights organizations pointed out in a press release on Monday that according to international law, dismantling operations are illegal, and Israel, as the occupying power, must protect the rights of people living under occupation, especially children.

Children’s rights organizations urge Israel’s new government Stop demolishing houses and properties in the occupied Palestinian territories, and “remove policies that help create a coercive environment and increase the risk of forced transfers by Palestinian communities.”

*Name has been changed

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