The Effects of Home Demolition on Palestinian Children and Families: Scholarly Analysis

In 1997, mental-health researchers Samir Qouta, Raiji-Lena Punamäki, and Eyad El Saraj interviewed 85 Palestinians, including 38 children, who experienced or witnessed the Israeli army’s demolition of private homes in the Gaza Strip. The researchers concluded that the demolitions produced negative psychological consequences for 84% of children who lost their homes and 36% of children who witnessed the demolitions. The most common effects of the demolitions included night terror, clinging behavior, and increased quickness to anger. The Israeli army demolishes homes in the West Bank  for military-security purposes and because owners did not receive official permission to build. According to B’tselem, Israeli soldiers and civilian authorities demolished 520 private housing units in the West Bank between 2005 and 2011.

The full text article is available to subscribers through the SpringerLink database and in the print archives of the Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness. Full citation:

Samir Qouta, Raija-Leena Punamäki and Eyad El Sarraj, “House Demolition and Mental Health: Victims and Witnesses,” Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness 6.3 (1997), 203-211.

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