Israeli and Palestinian Children Growing More Violent, Study Finds
Palestinian youth hurling fire bomb at IDF position near the Qalandiya checkpoint, Sept. 21, 2011. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
A new study by a team of American, Israeli and Palestinian researchers identifies rising trends of violence among children in the Middle East, as a result of the protracted Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
The study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, examined reports of displays of violence among more than 1,000 children, and the findings show a correlation between children’s exposure to political violence and their own violent behavior.
The researchers examined a sample of 451 Jewish children, 450 Israeli Arab children and 600 Palestinian children (64 percent from the West Bank; 36 percent from the Gaza Strip ) during three points in time between 2007 and 2010.
The children were asked about their exposure to political violence, including on television. About 10 percent of the Palestinian children said a relative had died in an event tied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the figures among Israeli Jewish children and Israeli Arab children were seven percent and three percent, respectively.
However, when asked if a friend or acquaintance of theirs had died in the conflict, 55 percent of Palestinian children answered “yes,” compared to 13 percent of Israeli Jews and three percent of Israeli Arabs.