Decades of Damage: The Psychological Effects of War on Youth in Israel and Palestine

By: Joanna Moley, `14

My research examines what type of psychological effects war has on the youth of Israel and Palestine, and how these psychological effects affect their attitudes toward the Israeli Defense Forces or terrorist groups.  I reached the conclusion that the conflict has had negative psychological effects on the youth of Israel and Palestine that leads to the Israeli children  feeling a low level of enthusiasm and the Palestinian children

Joanna Moley, `14
Joanna Moley, `14

feeling a high level of enthusiasm about becoming involved in the violence of the conflict.  This thesis was derived from the analysis of dozens of direct testimonies from Israeli and Palestinian children.  I read interviews with Palestinian children who were abducted and tortured by the Israeli Defense Force, from Israeli children who are afraid to leave their homes because of the threat of Palestinian suicide bombers, and many other similarly traumatic accounts.

The four most common categories of psychological trauma found within the testimonies were that the frustration surrounding the conflict led to violence, that the knowledge that parents and adults were unable to offer protection caused anxiety within the children, that the youths believed that leading a virtuous life would not protect them from the violence of the war or improve their futures, and the firm belief that the blame for the war fell on the enemy territory (which is an example of extreme nationalism  from both sides).  This presentation will explain the origins of these themes and the potential effect they have on the children whose accounts I analyzed.

Decades of Damage: The Psychological Effects of War on Youth in Israel and Palestine

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