This is why I hate the expression: “The ends justify the means”. No…They don’t. Ever!

The Guardian: Children of Conflict

Fifteen-year-old Nour Aidi has hardly spoken in seven years since Israeli soldiers bulldozed the olive trees around his home, barricaded his family in a room and turned the house into a base, fortified with sandbags, camouflage netting, barbed wire and machine guns.

The soldiers stayed 12 months and then moved into barracks next door where, for another four years, they continued to control when Nour and his family could leave and enter the house.

Israel withdrew its army and settlers from Gaza in 2005, but the soldiers still occupy Nour’s life. Nour is introverted, angry, sometimes violent, and without friends.

In the Israeli border town of Sderot Raziel Sasson, 13, sleeps huddled next to his mother and father. Raziel retreated to his parents’ bed four years ago after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza exploded in a playing field, knocking him from a tree. He eventually returned to his own bed only to later move with the entire family into the lounge downstairs where they have slept for the past year, sheltering from the escalating attacks.

Raziel has watched rockets fired into his front yard and seen explosions cause serious injury. He has nightmares about the rockets and lately he has taken to sleeping in the reinforced steel box that his brother built in the living room for added protection.

The distress of living under military rule in Gaza caused Nour’s younger sister to stop eating. Now 12, she has the body of a six-year-old. His mother developed a stomach disorder that activates when she is nervous, and his eldest brother is clinically depressed.

As a result of Israeli army ground invasions and air raids the average child had experienced 13 traumatic events. Thirty-four per cent had been threatened with a gun, 30% had witnessed a close relative die and 62% had seen someone killed by a missile. Many had seen their homes demolished, suffered injuries or witnessed the kidnapping of a friend or relative.

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