In a July Haaretz article commemorating the first anniversary of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which killed more than 2,250 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in 51 days, journalist Khaled Diab quotes Palestinian psychologist Hasan Zeyada of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme: “Gaza has endured multiple losses – what we call multi-traumatic losses. People in other places usually endure a single loss: the loss of a home, or a family member, or a job. Many Gazans have lost them all.”
And while Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often the focus of discussions of the psychological repercussions of conflict, Diab summarises the observation by various experts that “talk of post- or pre-trauma is futile, since trauma is constant and ongoing”.
In addition to attending professionally to the victims of this Israeli-induced brand of eternal trauma, Dr. Zeyada is personally well acquainted with the phenomenon. Last August, the New York Times reported on his “challenging new patient: himself”. Six of the psychologist’s close family members, including his mother, had just been wiped out by an Israeli airstrike.
Operation Protective Edge came to an end on 26 August 2014. But the diagnosis of collective psychological suffering in the Palestinian coastal enclave is open-ended, and serves to compound the more tangible suffering that attends the regular Israeli release of large quantities of ordnance in the direction of human bodies.
Meanwhile, the concentrated mental and physical battering inflicted upon the population of the Gaza Strip can in itself be seen as a form of psychological warfare, designed to forcibly erode the Palestinian identity and the will of the Palestinians to exist as such. READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.