Palestine: The invisible mental health crisis plaguing the West Bank

28 Oct 2019
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Occupied Palestinian Territory

Rahaf, 14, has experienced severe psychosomatic symptoms such as insomnia and trembling hands for the past two years following the arrest and detention of her father and three brothers.

“We were sleeping and we woke up to find them standing over our heads,” she says of the Israeli army, who have routinely raided the family home for as long as she can remember. “In one month, they raided the house twice.”

Rahaf’s breaking point came when they detained her fourth brother, Hamzeh, while he was at work.

“I never thought they would take Hamzeh,” she says. “When they detained him he was at work at the gas station. There was a video recording, and we saw them beating him. We didn’t hear anything about him until they brought him home 60 days later.”

Rahaf’s is a familiar story. Palestinians across the West Bank, and in particular in Hebron, suffer similar experiences every day. Some are persecuted by settlers wishing to establish ownership over the land, while others receive news that their home will be demolished.