Shehadeh, Said. “The 2014 War on Gaza: Engineering Trauma and Mass Torture to Break Palestinian Resilience.” International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 12.3 (2015): 278-94.
This paper discusses the psychological sequelae of the recent Israeli war on Gaza, codenamed Operation Protective Edge, and its detrimental impact on the mental health of its Palestinian population. The author contends that deliberate measures by the Israeli military to induce feelings of helplessness, uncontrollability, horror, persistent life-threatening fear, and sleep deprivation against an entire besieged population for 50-days, constitutes mass torture. This policy of engineering mass trauma and torture through war to achieve political subjugation is framed as a paradigm shift in the Israeli colonial occupation of Palestine. Ramifications of this policy are discussed with regard to its potentially caustic effects on Palestinian resilience, and the serious mental health risks it poses, including complex traumatic reactions, identity distortions, severe psychopathology, and multigenerational transmission of trauma. Recommendations emphasize the need to fortify Palestinian resilience to protect individuals and communities from political violence and further mass trauma.