Tuesday, September 30, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

In Gaza, emotional wounds of war remain unhealed

By
August 20, 2014 |

BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip — Shahed Quishta was curled up in an armchair one late afternoon during the Gaza war when a shell slammed into her living room. Shrapnel pierced the 8-year-old’s head and neck, and she died minutes after arriving at a hospital.

Her funeral was held before nightfall, in line with Muslim tradition. Her family couldn’t host a customary three-day wake, typically attended by hundreds of people, because streets remained dangerous during ongoing fighting between Israel and Gaza militants.

Almost a month after her death from what her father says was an Israeli tank shell, her family remains paralyzed by grief.

Sister Rojina, 14, can’t sleep in the room they shared, spending nights on a mattress in the hallway. Her mother Nisreen, 38, takes clothes from Shahed’s closet from time to time, crying as she inhales the lingering scent.

The Quishtas are among thousands who suffered a loss during the current Israel-Hamas war, the third in Gaza in just over five years. The emotional wounds, though sometimes hidden, can be seen in the grim statistics of the conflict.

Close to 2,000 Palestinians were killed, including 459 children, and more than 10,000 people were wounded since fighting began July 8, according to U.N. figures. About 20 percent of Gaza’s population of 1.8 million people has been displaced, including about 100,000 whose homes were destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

Based on these numbers, “the psychological effects (in this war) will be much higher than in the previous ones,” said Dr. Iyad Zaqout, who runs the community mental health program of Gaza’s main aid group, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

Children are especially vulnerable because they can’t put their experiences into context yet, he said.

The U.N. estimates that about 373,000 children in Gaza need direct psychological intervention because they’ve witnessed violence, lost a relative or have been displaced. Such children often display one or more of a range of symptoms, including bed-wetting, nightmares, irritability or clinging to parents.

In the last major round of fighting in Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009, about 18,000 of some 190,000 children attending U.N.-run schools required counseling, Zaqout said. Several hundred still haven’t recovered, he said, adding that repeated exposure to trauma — a given in Gaza — compounds the problem.

___

Some 100 U.N. trauma counselors now visit several dozen crowded U.N. schools that have been turned into shelters for those who fled or were made homeless by the fighting. Several private groups providing trauma relief have also sprung up in recent years, though the demand continues to outstrip available treatment.

The counselors offer psychological “first aid” to those at the shelters. Children are usually accessible, eagerly joining playgroups in school courtyards or picking up crayons to draw what they saw in the war. At least 30 percent of the children at the shelters will need longer-term treatment, Zaqout estimated.

Adults are often reluctant — especially men.

On a recent morning, counselor Kamel Kahlout from the Gaza branch of a U.S.-based group, the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, persuaded about a dozen men to join him in therapy session at the Abu Hussein school, a shelter in the Jebaliya refugee camp.

Kahlout led them through a simple breathing exercise and asked them to close their eyes. Many found it difficult to sit still, with the noise from the crowded courtyard outside. When asked to share their concerns, the men stuck to politics, avoiding the personal. The men need more time to open up, he said.

Those at the Abu Hussein school have gone through particularly rough times. On July 30, three Israeli artillery shells slammed into the school crowded with some 3,300 people, many of them sleeping. The shells, which Israel says came in response to mortar fire nearby, killed 17 people.

Among those who witnessed the attack was 11-year-old Moath Sweilem. Asked later to describe the shelling, Moath talked about dead donkeys near the main gate, also killed in the attack, and wounded children brought to his family’s sleeping area by his mother.

“I was scared when it happened,” Moath said.

Moath has become more aggressive, said his mother, standing on the edge of the courtyard filled with noisy children waiting to have their faces painted by aid group volunteers. Those near the front started pushing and shoving as adults tried to separate them.

Moath emerged from the scuffle with a triumphant smile. He had a goatee and the word Gaza, in Arabic, drawn on his face.

___

Shahed Quishta was the middle child of five. Shahed and her sister Rojina shared a room that now stands empty because Rojina can’t bear to sleep there alone.

Shahed’s school bag is still filled with notebooks from third grade, including those from English class with vocabulary lists written in a neat script. Her report card notes that she was third in her class.

During the war, Shahed was scared, like the others. Her aunt Dareen, who lives on the ground floor, designated a “war room” away from windows and doors to reassure the children. They often stayed there when they heard shelling from Israeli tanks.

Israel has fired thousands of tank and artillery shells toward what it said were targets linked to militants during the war, though a majority of those killed were civilians, according to Gaza health officials. Hardest hit were towns near the border with Israel, including here in Beit Lahiya. Gaza militants have fired more than 3,000 rockets and mortar shells at Israel in the same period.

Two weeks into the war, on July 22, Shahed was playing with her cousins downstairs. Around mid-afternoon, she returned to her family apartment on the second floor. She settled into the armchair with her tablet computer.

Her father, Mouin, was napping on a mattress nearby in the living room.

The shell hit at 4:15 p.m., her father said. He awoke to a huge cloud of dust and smoke that obstructed his view of Shahed critically wounded on the armchair. He grabbed his wife and children and ran downstairs, only to find that Shahed had not been accounted for. He raced back upstairs and found her. She still was breathing faintly, but died less than half an hour later.

Almost a month later, the living room remains almost unchanged. There’s no back wall. The other walls and the armchair are peppered with holes from shrapnel and debris covers the floor. The family keeps it locked most of the time.

Shahed’s parents find comfort in their faith, saying every death is preordained and that they will meet their daughter in heaven. Still, Shahed’s mother can’t shake off her sadness. She cries when she holds Shahed’s clothes or watches a video of her prancing in a white dress for her kindergarten graduation. Rojina said she tries to stay strong to avoid burdening her mother.

On Saturday, Shahed’s younger brother Mohammed and several cousins attended a playgroup with some three dozen neighborhood children put on by World Vision, an international Christian aid organization.

As a warm-up, they sang a version of “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” finishing each verse with clapping, fist pumping or stomping.

Mohammed, who had witnessed the explosion that killed his sister, was reserved at first, but eventually got swept by the enthusiasm.

Majd, an 11-year-old cousin, said he enjoys going to the group, but misses Shahed. “She was our leader,” he said.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Fairfield police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Suisun City police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Police search for missing man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
 
Measure A committee plans weekend precinct walk

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Voters who have moved urged to check registration

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

Caltrans cancels nighttime Highway 37 closures

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
.

US / World

5 more bodies found at Japan volcano; toll now 36

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Group: Wildlife populations down drastically

By The Associated Press | From Page:

45 dogs dead, 48 alive after North Las Vegas fire

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Police link 2nd case to missing Va. student arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Netanyahu: Hamas, Islamic State group share creed

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Cancer doctor given 10 years for poisoning lover

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Afghan president sworn in, paving way for US pact

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Police ease tactics in Hong Kong protest standoff

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Study: Recessions can postpone motherhood forever

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
White House intruder got far past front door

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Obama efforts to oust Assad pushed to back burner

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamic State closes in on Kurdish area of Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sacramento police seek suspect in dog’s drowning

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Shooing birds from Bay Bridge could cost millions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Governor signs bills to help those in foster care

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Mountain View police ID gas victims as father, son

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 30, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
President Obama will go out with a war cry

By Doyle Mcmanus | From Page:

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
I’m unhappy with Phil and playing ‘happy family.’ What should I do?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page:

Community Calendar: Sept. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Amanda Bynes arrested for DUI in Los Angeles

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

 
They did. They do. Clooney/Alamuddin wedding No. 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Football commands highest TV ad prices

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
TVGrid Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
.

Sports

Developer asks for more time for LA football plan

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Monday’s sports transactions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders fire coach Dennis Allen

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Prep boys soccer: VCS still looking for 1st win of season

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Charles sends Chiefs to 41-14 rout of Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Clippers return focus to team post-Sterling

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Giants have ample experience facing elimination

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Dover installs catch fence for 2015 NASCAR season

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Warriors happy to have core back, build on success

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

All-women sports show debuts with perfect timing

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Autopsy shows Chiefs LB Belcher had CTE damage

By The Associated Press | From Page:

AJ Hinch hired to manage Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Phil Mickelson saves best shot for his captain

By The Associated Press | From Page:

MLB batting average lowest since 1972 – before DH

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Wild, wild SEC West set for historic day

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Kershaw 1st to lead majors in ERA 4 straight years

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
AP source: 7 umpires rotate at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Pagenaud joins Penske for 2015 IndyCar season

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Texas’ Strong tells Goodell colleges can do better

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hornets await NBA investigation into Taylor

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Trout, Strasburg giving playoffs a fresh look

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
NC State coach: No. 1 Florida State faked injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page:

A’s Lester, Royals’ Shields in AL wild-card focus

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders’ season spinning out of control

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Harbaugh dismisses reports of 49ers discord

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
3-way race for NL MVP; Trout takes his turn in AL

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Stewart never considered retiring after Ward death

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Twins fire manager Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Business

Bank of America paying $7.65M to resolve inquiry

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Microsoft to offer early look at next Windows

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

US stocks head lower, following drops overseas

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
US consumer spending up 0.5 percent in August

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

ATM fees keep climbing, survey says

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Wizard of Id Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Baby Blues Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Rose is Rose Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Discover Solano Fall/Winter 2014

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sonoma County

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: DIS2

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Winters

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS3

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Historic Downtown Winters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS3

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Napa County

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS20

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Western Railway Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS23

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Yolo County

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: DIS23

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS29

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Downtown Benicia

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Fire Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Plein Air Gallery

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Marina

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS32

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Dixon

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS33

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: DIS35

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano Town Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS36

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Jelly Belly Candy Co.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS36

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Fairfield Aquatics Complex

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS37

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS37

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Suisun Valley

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS39

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Glashoff’s Studio

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS40

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Wine Tasting

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS41

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Manka’s Corner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS41

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Rio Vista

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS42

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Foster’s Bighorn Bar

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS43

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Suisun City

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: DIS45

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Rush Ranch

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Suisun Wildlife Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Grizzly Island

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS47

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Downtown Vacaville

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS47

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville Premium Outlets

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS48

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS49

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Nut Tree Plaza

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS50

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS52

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo Symphony

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Mare Island Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Children’s Wonderland

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo Baylink Ferry

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Empress Theatre

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Flyway Festival

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Bay Area Ridge Trail

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano County

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS55

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano County Golf Courses

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS56

Discover Solano Fall-Winter 2014 Calendar

By Glen Faison | From Page: DIS57

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sterling Winery

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Safari West

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: UC Davis Mondavi Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Calistoga Hot Springs

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Bale Grist Mill

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Petrified Forest

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Winters Opera House

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Robert Louis Stevenson Park

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sonoma Train Town

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vintage Aircraft Company

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Casinos

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Scientopia Discovery Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Old Faithful Geyser

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Sonoma Raceway

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Hot Air Ballooning

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60