Saturday, December 03, 2005

Results of the "Sympathetic" Expulsion

A new report has come out regarding yet another aspect of the results of the expulsion from Gush Katif.

Here are some excerpts:

Persons evacuated during the disengagement are suffering from a variety of serious emotional problems, but are receiving little or no treatment, according to a report by the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel.

For instance, the report said, people with special needs who were assisted by social workers from the Gaza Coast Regional Council are currently not receiving any such help, in part because their case files are in storage and therefore inaccessible.

The report, which is based on testimony from psychologists, social workers and volunteers who have maintained contact with the evacuated persons, found that children under age 12 have suffered a variety of problems, including attention and concentration deficits and adjustment problems. Some children are still not in school; others are in school but doing poorly. Hundreds of children have started wetting their beds at night, having nightmares or experiencing other sleep disorders. Some show signs of panic whenever they see a uniformed policeman or soldier. Additionally, parental authority has been undermined: Many children curse, hit or sass their parents.

Among people aged 12 to 19, seven teens have been hospitalized due to evacuation-related trauma. One girl, for instance, was hospitalized after suffering an outbreak of schizophrenia caused by the trauma of having her dead brother disinterred and reburied; she now suspects everyone she meets of being a Shin Bet security service agent. Another girl was hospitalized following repeated suicide attempts, and a third due to a nervous breakdown.

Overall, there has been a sharp rise in alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, truancy and draft evasion in this age group. Eight teenage girls quit their national service jobs due to emotional problems. There have also been a number of hasty marriages - teens who married mainly in order to get out of their parents' houses. Additionally, many have experienced a crisis of religious faith.

Adults have suffered from rampant unemployment - some 2,000 evacuated people are still unemployed - and various emotional problems: depression, outbursts of rage, emotional withdrawal and low self-esteem. Many are having trouble functioning, and the crowded conditions in their temporary homes are creating serious problems of interpersonal relations.

As a result of all this, there has been a rise in the use of tranquilizers, an unusually large number of heart attacks and a rising divorce rate: Ten couples have filed for divorce since the evacuation. Additionally, three adults have died due to what family and friends claim were illnesses brought on by the trauma of the evacuation.

Please note: I have removed the term "settlers" from this story and replaced it qwith a more neutral, non-pejorative word.

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