Blockade, Bombings, and Continuing Trauma: Assessing Mental Health in Gaza
Aug 2 2023
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023
featuring Dr. Yasser Abu-Jamei (Gaza Community Mental Health Programme), Ghada Majadli (Physicians for Human Rights Israel), and Razzan Quran (George Washington University) in conversation with Dr. Yara Asi (FMEP Non-resident Fellow)
More than 15 years into Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, and after rounds of devastating Israeli bombing campaigns, life in Gaza continues to become more difficult and traumatic for the two million Palestinians who live there.
What is it like to live under such conditions, with no end or reprieve in sight? Join FMEP for a conversation among experts about the current state of mental health in the Gaza Strip, and what it might mean for the future of Gaza’s residents. We will look at the findings from a recent study conducted over two years by Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) and the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP).
Dr. Yasser Abu-Jamei MD, MSc, a psychiatrist, is Director General of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. He was born in 1974 in Saudi Arabia and has received degrees in the mental health field from universities in the UK, Germany, Lithuania and Gaza. He has lived in Gaza-Palestine since 2000 and has been working at the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) since 2004, during which time he occupied different supervisory, clinical and research roles. On July 21, 2014, during that year’s Israeli military offensive, 28 members of Dr. Abu-Jamei’s extended family – including 19 children – were killed by a missile strike as they were sitting down to their Iftar dinner to break the Ramadan fast. His research has focused on the impact of ongoing violence and the 15-year-long blockade of Gaza on the physical and psychological health of children and their caregivers, and the connection between public health and human rights.
Dr. Yara M. Asi, Non-resident Fellow at FMEP, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida in the School of Global Health Management and Informatics and a Visiting Scholar at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University in her capacity as Co-Director of the Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights. She is also a Non-resident Fellow at the Arab Center Washington DC, a 2020-2021 Fulbright US Scholar to the West Bank, and the co-chair of the Palestine Health Justice Working Group in the American Public Health Association. She has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Nation, +972 Magazine, The New Arab, and The Conversation, and has been featured on Al Jazeera, The World, and other outlets. Her forthcoming book with Johns Hopkins University Press will examine war as a public health crisis.
Ghada Majadli is a researcher, human rights activist, and the director of the Department of The Occupied Palestinian Territory at Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI). She holds a master’s degree in Human Rights and Transitional Justice from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her work focuses on policy and humanitarian work in Palestine, with particular attention to the Israeli regime’s multilayered system of control and management of Palestinians’ health, including access to medical care, socio-political determinants of health, and health infrastructure. She has published papers in peer-reviewed journals, including the Health and Human Rights Journal, The Lancet, BMJ Paediatrics Open Journal, Developing World Bioethics & The Journal of Jewish Ethics. Her work has been featured in +972 Magazine, Haaretz, Local Call, and other outlets.
Razzan Quran (she/they) is a Palestinian organizer, psychologist and facilitator. Razzan is currently a doctoral candidate at George Washington University (GWU) and a pre-doctoral intern at Boston Medical Center. She is a co-founding member of the Psychoanalysis in the Arab World Lab at GWU the intention and orientation of which pertains to utilizing decolonial, and feminist praxis towards cultivating collective liberation and transformative justice in the mental health field. Razzan received their counseling training at the Palestine Counseling Center. Additionally, she held process therapy groups, parent groups and play therapy with Palestinian and Syrian refugees based in Beirut, Lebanon.
Resources shared in the webinar include:
Follow our speakers and their work:
- Yara Asi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Yara_M_Asi
- Ghada Majadli on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GMajadli
- Physicians for Human Rights Israel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PHRIsrael
- Physicians for Human Rights Israel: https://www.phr.org.il/en/
- The Gaza Community Mental Health Program: https://www.gcmhp.org/
- Palestine Program for Health & Human Rights at the FXB Center at Harvard for Health and Human Rights: https://fxb.harvard.edu/racial-justice/palestine-program/
- Health & Human Rights Journal: Special Issue on Palestine, December 2022: https://www.hhrjournal.org/volume-24-issue-2-december-2022/#palestine
- (Open source: all articles are available)
- Razzan Quran’s work: MANIFESTO: At the Intersection of Impact: Willful Refusal & Sumud, By Khadija Salim & Razzan Quran: https://usapalmhn.org/portfolio-item/voices-from-the-diaspora/
On obtaining medical permits from Gaza:
- PHRI’s report: “The Arduous Journey to Obtain a Medical Exit Permit” : https://www.phr.org.il/en/long-term-permits-eng/
- Additionally, the WHO has data on the impact of the permit regime on the Gazans in need of medical treatment: https://www.emro.who.int/images/stories/palestine/documents/15-Years-Gaza-Blockade-Factsheet.pdf?ua=1
Scholars Razzan Quran mentioned: