As a national minority the Palestinian citizens of Israel suffer from a long history of discrimination, marginalization, and violation of human rights, lack of resources and poverty as a result of the state’s oppressive policies and lack of development in the Arab localities. The Palestinian people are constantly under a threat of house demolitions, land confiscation, police brutality, lack of security in Palestinian towns and village and government ministries’ neglect in housing, planning, education, welfare and industries. These factors create a stressful environment for the Palestinian citizens of Israel and as a result, the community, especially the children, are more susceptible to the effects of trauma, have a weakened resilience, suffer more from poverty and neglect.
We selected 10 locations and customized the working sessions to meet the needs of each location, concentrating on increasing the knowledge and skills of adults living and working with children on mental and physical well being of children as well as creative tools to utilize with children to enhance their resilience so that in times of crisis, their anxiety and trauma experiences are lessened. The incidences of violence in the community, schools, on the streets and in neighborhoods are increasing. Research conducted in 2019 on Violence, Crime and Policing in the Arab Society revealed an increase of insecurity where 70.4% of Arab women are concerned about violence. The increasing discrimination from civil society authorities towards the Palestinian population citizens of Israel is translating into increasing violence in the community. One example of such discrimination is the lack of support received by the community when they contact the police. The slow response of the police in an emergency, if any, means that people take matters into their own hands. Another example, is the discrimination of the police towards Palestinian youth men who have become targets of arrests, also incites violence among the community for the injustice behind the arrest. Combined with the discrimination is the lack of tools, skills and capacities to resolve conflict, results in an increase of violence incidence in the community.
In the past few years, violence in the Arab community has become “cold blooded” and persons are being murdered at gun point regardless of the hour of the day. Furthermore, violence against women is also increasing and unfortunately, in some of these incidents, children are witnesses of such violence and in many cases children experience stress and trauma as they may be related to the person killed (Father, mother, brother, uncle, cousin, neighbor) or at least hear the daily news and witness the stress and anxiety of their parents. The government of Israel has ratified the CRC (Convention of the Rights of the Child) and as such it is obligated to protect all children’s rights in Israel. However, this is not the reality of the Palestinian children’s citizens of Israel and as a result they are suffering from many violations of their rights at the hands of the state and the community. The rights of Palestinian children’s citizens of Israel are rarely acknowledged or monitored. The community continues to bear the negative impact of long years of discrimination and for a long time, completely failed to address systematic violations of the rights of children. This includes the rights to a safe and secure living environment free of stress and trauma. Although the education system is under the control and responsibility of the government’s Ministry of Education, the discrimination in budget allocations translates into lack of adequate services to the Palestinian school children (ages 3 to 18years). This project aim to increase the resilience of children through the empowerment of their mothers, caregivers and educators, and to strengthen the cultural and heritage knowledge through the distribution of kits and resources to be utilize with children as well as publishing new children’s books to strengthen acceptance to differences, social solidarity and responsibility.