Love and the Ethics of Emotions

Bullying is an ambiguous term and can be understood as a low-level form of violence.[1] This includes a continuum of aggressive and inappropriate behaviour such as denigrating comments on appearance, intellect or lifestyle choices, ostracising or alienating, covert threats and harassment, deliberately enforcing meaningless or impossible tasks, or deliberately making competent persons appear incompetent, etc &c.[2] Bullying is commonly found in schools, online and in the workplace and it “may be the most prevalent form of violence in schools and the form that is likely to affect the greatest number of students.”[3] As a critical public health issue,[4] bullying can be either covert such as ostracising and slandering, or clearly perceptible and serious such as stalking. “A growing body of research has indicated that both bullying and being bullied can have extensive physical, social and mental health consequences, with a notable impact on academic achievement and social development.”[5] §55A (1)(a) of the Occupation Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986 states that bullying behaviour is, “repeated and systematic, and that a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would expect to victimise, humiliate, undermine or threaten”[6] that ultimately creates a risk to health and safety.[7] This risk can include physical, emotional and psychological harm leading to deterioration in health and wellbeing. A negative culture often purports the individual or individuals as “lacking a sense of humour”, being “too sensitive”, or “lacking the talent or intelligence” [which often results in their dismissal] rather than focusing on resolving the problems being raised.[8] Reflection is an important cognitive feature that elevates critically the analytical structure of the emotions and the contribution it may have to moral and ethical wellbeing. Martha Nussbaum discusses emotions, or in particular emotional-thoughts, as contributing toward a better understanding of the subjective human qualities that reconstruct a conception of moral virtue.[9] One aspect of her work that I appreciated was her ability to reflect on her own personal experiences as part of her seminal study of human emotions of which I will attempt to replicate, in doing so knowing that this is all merely a study and process of reflection for my own personal advancement and healing.

I myself was a victim of bullying from multiple sources at the same time and over an extended period and I can assure you that the impact emotionally and psychologically was quite profound. The violence ranged from one man who made comments that I was going bald and other vicious remarks about my appearance that attempted to make me feel very ugly, indirect threats such as stating that ‘women deserve to get bashed’ and recommending that I watch a movie Irreversible about a woman who is brutally raped. The same man involved others by slandering me as a way to protect himself from being caught in the act and wanting – at the time – desperately for him to just stop hurting me, I gave him justifications for his slanderous remarks so that he could feel satisfied enough to leave me alone as I was afraid that he was waiting for a moment to physically hurt me. At the same time I was being harassed by family members [including verbal abuse and threats] that eventually required police intervention due to the serious nature of some of the threats made against me. I never felt so alone and afraid. The bullying and my emotional state raised the past and my childhood to the surface, further adding to the emotional confusion and all this was topped by a loss of my savings and a severe car accident; to protect myself from the onslaught of hatred, I felt it necessary to fabricate strength out of the fear that my vulnerability would be used advantageously that added stress to my already dismal state of mind. The harassment continued online through cyber-bullying and involving others I was again tricked and deceived; my emotional disbelief at that point allowed me to paradoxically pity my subjugator and admittingly even developed feelings for him, feelings I now understand were a result of my vulnerability and confusion. I began to appeal to his conscience, illuminating my personal history to him where I informed him that I did not have a mother or a father as my father was exceedingly violent and my mother emotionally disassociated due to the mental health effects of the trauma he inflicted. I explained that I had never been in a relationship because I was so afraid of being hurt as I was continuously harassed – being the youngest child – by my siblings who consistently told me that I was worthless and ugly likely as a consequence from the upbringing we endured. I even went so far as to admit that I have been alone most of my life and since I was a child would stare out at the stars wishing I would meet someone who actually cared about me.

I used methods of writing that would compel him to read particular topics of moral interest either theologically such as the Book of Proverbs or philosophically, particularly of existential themes to try and motivate a sense of compassion and wisdom. What I really wanted was for him to find the means to acknowledge his previously committed wrongdoing, to apologise to me and allow me to move on from the pain. That an apology and friendship would make him more of a man by truly representing moral strength. I knew that such an apology from my family was impossible as with each attempt at reconciliation they would instead search for and justify their actions by attacking me, usually through psychological manipulation and claim that the fault lies within me. The greatest difficulty was seeing past that, that bullies often blame the victim and make it seem as though it was their fault or that something was wrong with them. And that was how he finalised our encounter by stating that it was me who was ‘crazy’ and that the only reason he was communicating with me was due his sexual desire, words that became the very bullet in my heart knowing that his denial of any wrongdoing was the source of my hurt along with the added humiliation that sharing with him my personal story fell on deaf ears. I had no choice but to abandon the hope that he cared more for the life of an innocent human being over himself and his own ego, that the social ‘show’ he performs is of more importance than the honesty of obtaining a moral heart.

As the sciences define categories to distinguish and relate as part of a process that schematically represent key analytical labels in order to rationally approach and advance a particular topic, the human mind and our experiences function in the same manner. The only flaw in this process is that it is individually up to ourselves to traverse this cognitive dominion and any identification is dependant on a range of factors, more importantly the honesty that we study the biological, environmental, social and a range of other features including emotional and psychological responses with critical evaluation. This is not an easy feat, for instance whether one is an atheist or religious, both are beliefs and to question the nature of that belief and the certainty of conviction often entails a broad epistemic and phenomenological analysis; a mature mind is able to transcend ‘belief’ – broaden their horizon – and ascertain the subjective ingredients that reflect the causal nature prompting emotional responses and moral considerations, or the lack thereof. According to Kant, a moral agent is one who acts on maxims that attune moral judgements toward guiding and motivating virtuous principles and values: “[t]he moral law is for itself the motivation in reason’s judgement and those who make it their maxim are morally good.”[10] This is under the basis of a law of autonomy, the capacity to reflect and identify information, decisions and experiences accessible only to an individual separate from any dispensation to others whether it is institutionally, socially, religiously or even personally including family and friends; one capable to self-govern as an authority over his or her own existence. While many people believe themselves capable of such authority, it is clear that this individualism merely cloaks what is a strict adherence to social constructs that provide the falsification of an ‘individual’ – like in the United States there exists rhetoric that loudly speaks of individualism when a majority blindly follow in masses.

One particular element I found intriguing in Nussbaum’ argument is the nature of emotions being subject to a world that we cannot control, that our emotional responses become the impetus that compels a better understanding of value and of well-being. “Nussbaum argues that an emotion is constituted by judgements that we make in relation to objects that are of importance to our world and wellbeing. Commonly these evaluations pertain to things we cannot fully control.”[11] An important aspect to this argument is the impact this lack of control or separateness has on the individual – perhaps causally the reason for someone to become the ‘bully’ – as this separateness from the world around us provokes an emotional disarray, leading to such confusion and anxiety that one is compelled to repress or act in a manner that is damaging to others or themselves, becoming dishonest or deceitful in nature and incapable of confronting their own wrongdoing. As Nussbaum shows, the loss of a family member confirms that we lack any control. When I say separateness, I take the Frommian approach to the term:

“Man is gifted with reason; he is life being aware of itself; he has awareness of himself, of his fellow men, of his past, and of the possibilities of his future. This awareness of himself as a separate entity, the awareness of his own short lifespan, of the fact that without his will he is born and against his will he dies, that he will die before those whom he loves, or they before him, the awareness of his aloneness and separateness, of his helplessness before the forces of nature and of society, all this makes his separate, disunited existence an unbearable prison… the experience of separateness arouses anxiety; it is, indeed, the source of all anxiety.”[12]

The anxiety stems from the fact that we are alone and separate from the world around us that we create symbiotic attachments at personal and social levels to falsify a fictional connection, sometimes being brutal in our attempt to control our environment due to this unbearable anxiety. My emotional collapse following the extremity of the preceding experience enabled me the capacity to study and reflect on my own existential position in a world where aloneness became clearly perceptible that – slowly but surely – I became aware of the importance of my own health and body, my mind and my capacity to achieve that I suddenly realised my own significance; I transformed from a miserable, hollow person to a Kantian moral agent standing fearlessly in an eternal and universal form of love. I now find myself in the Maslow sense meta-motivated where I am strengthened by a motivation to consistently improve my state of mind and wellbeing and that I choose who I have in my life and who I refuse in addition to fortifying my professional and ethical position. Love and developing my moral stance has become the substance that fills the void, the universal and eternal sense of wholeness that nothing else, no fleeting or pleasurable feeling or relations with others could substantiate. Viktor Frankl discusses this deep emotional challenge following his experience during the holocaust where he transcended the suffering to illustrate the importance of finding meaning in his life. “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”[13] That the underlying and unbearable truth is that we lack a purpose.

I came to see that what we have developed to overcome this is the distraction of a consumer, perhaps a sociopathic society – that is a society with an impaired understanding of morality – characterised by egotistical traits under the fraud of material and fleeting physical considerations where meaning is merely the social position that one replicates for approval that only rapidly disintegrates the possibility of attaining individual autonomy. Imagine it like this; a person is listening to headphones and singing along to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams while dancing down the street, completely oblivious to a war going on around them, hopping over dead bodies and patting the heads of crying children. There are terrible things going on in this world, what are you doing? People have become worried about their bodies and appearances, afraid of what other people may think as though this neuroticism now coerces people to participate, enticed with sexual pleasures rather than intellectual pursuits and viewing people – even themselves – as a commodity. Lacking the capacity to reason with compassion is an exposure of what I stated once before – that society has become sociopathic – namely that moral virtue and wisdom is the basis for a genuine or honest individual and that acting according to an image is living in a state of delusion that disconnects one from their own emotions and thus from attaining any genuine sense of moral well-being. If the anxiety of being alone provokes such intense feelings of subjective anxiety, people mould themselves to environments and adapt to people that they are not genuinely happy with as though they would rather have noxious people in their lives than be alone [for instance, women who stay in relationships that involve domestic violence].

It is by being alone that one can embrace and retain the integrity that could define the conditions of an ‘individual’ and the strength to survive the anxiety is only possible by embracing love, whereby I interpret ‘love’ as being moral consciousness. While the pain occasionally arises where I do hope that I receive a genuine apology or as said by Aaron Lazare, “[a]pologies have the power to heal humiliations and grudges; remove the desire for vengeance, and generate forgiveness on the part of the offended parties,” I have come to accept my circumstances and no longer have the same intense emotions as I slowly advance toward a better understanding and appreciation of myself. An apology is taking responsibility for a mistake and as such reflects the same causal response or emotional reaction a victim would experience; that is, repentance allows one become aware of themselves. Emotions and being vulnerable are not a reflection of weakness, on the contrary they play an evaluative role that exposes an incompleteness that we feel but are yet to understand. The nature and role intuition – the oft elusive tool that I believe utilises an emotional reaction to an unconscious belief such as feelings of doubt, fear, or confusion arouses a reactionary response without conscious awareness – becomes an epiphenomena or by-product of an experience and the very stimulus that develops a perceptual examination of a moral or ethical quandary. That is, we may have experienced something we do not consciously understand or even remember objectively and thus when we encounter a situation that prompts an intuitive reaction, it is as though an epistemic mental representation without an explicit logical structure is speaking to us something that we already know but that we do not yet understand at conscious level. I have come to view my emotions as my strength as the heartache I endured enabled me to reflect on my past experiences with objectivity, to attempt to find forgiveness despite the consistent opposition.

Although I have been alone for most of my life, I now have the capacity to choose to find and commit myself to a mature love, one that distinguishes itself from symbiotic attachments and that involves honesty, genuine care and humility. That as a little girl, I looked up at the stars wanting to be cared for only to now see that I am still that little girl and was right all along. All we need to do is remove the mess of everything that happens from childhood until now and remember that innocence and that love within ourselves.

As said by Frankl: “For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”

[1] Glennis Hanley, “Don’t Do What I Do – Just Bloody Well Do What I Say! The Workplace Bullying Experiences of Australian Academics” Monash University Working Paper 63/03, September 2003.

[2] Clare Mayhew and Duncan Chappel, “’Internal’ Violence or Bullying and the Health Workforce” NSW Department of Health, Taskforce on the Prevention and Management of Violence in the Health Workplace.

[3] George M. Batsche & Howard M. Knoff, “Bullies and their Victims: Understanding a Pervasive Problem in the Schools,” School Psychology Review, 23 (1994), 165 – 175.

[4] John Blosnich and Robert Bossarte, “Low-Level Violence in Schools: Is There an Association between School Safety Measures and Peer Victimization?” Journal of School Health, 81:2 (Feb 2011), 107-113. The Mental Health Reforms through the Gillard Government has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to better mental health care to Australians due to the rising problem of mental health issues such as depression and suicide.

[5]Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study, “Covert bullying: A Review of National and International Research” Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Australia, pp12-62

[6] §55A (1)(a) of the Occupation Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986

[7] §55A (1)(b) of the Occupation Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986

[8] Op.Cit., Glennis Hanley

[9] Please see Martha C. Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions, Cambridge University Press, (2003)

[10] G. Felicitas Munzel, Kant’s Conception of Moral Character: The “Critical” Link of Morality, Anthropology, and Reflective Judgment, University of Chicago Press, (1999) 68-69

[11] Chris Barker, Emma A. Jane, Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice

[12] Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving: The Centennial Edition, A&C Black (2000) 8

[13] Itai Ivtzan, Tim Lomas, Mindfulness in Positive Psychology: The Science of Meditation and Wellbeing, Routledge (2016) 228

 

Deterrence of Punishment Against Palestinian Children

The preamble to the Convention on the Rights of a Child states: “Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” To include the rights of children as members of this human family and as having equal and inalienable rights is a topic of more complexity than what one would assume, considering questions such as consent vis-à-vis cognitive capacity and whether children are capable of making or even understanding decisions and choice. But human rights are not merely about our individual rights and entitlements, on the contrary it also represents our obligations toward those who may not be capable of protecting or understanding their own rights, to safeguard and protect equality by refraining from actions that could undermine the indivisibility of our moral duty to humanity. It is intriguing that the Convention on the Rights of the Child – whilst signed by the United States – remains unratified alongside countries such as Somalia and South Sudan. Notwithstanding the ridiculous political climate with Donald Trump ready to be inaugurated as the new president, the USA has – among a plethora of reasons for the failure to ratify – over 20% of children living below the poverty line, though it spent a mammoth $598.5 billion just on military expenditure in the last year alone. It is not the only nation-state that emphasizes security above the lives of children. In 2012, the Human Rights Council brought forth a statement on behalf of Defence for Children International (DCI) that Israeli patrol boats were stripping, blindfolding and tying children who were fishing along the Mediterranean Sea in Gaza and violently interrogating them in violation of its international legal obligations. Yet, it was only several weeks ago that reports confirmed Israeli naval forces confiscated several fishing boats and arrested fisherman including a child.[1] While it is clear that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has perpetrated the heightened level of security particularly following events such as the Ma’a lot and Mercaz HaRav massacres that involved the deaths of children, justifications that purport such extreme behavior that betrays the dignity of Palestinian children and international law itself is simply unfounded. The question raised here is how can Israel maintain its level of security without violating the Convention of the Rights of a Child?[2]

Following the Six-Day War[3] in 1967, Israel captured what is referred to as the ‘occupied territories’ of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip when war with its Arab neighbors Egypt, Syria and Jordan broke out. While relations with Egypt and Jordan have to a degree since normalised, territorial disputes particularly relating to the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights remain. The Oslo Accords – agreements between Israel and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – became an attempt to develop negotiations that would establish peace and an opportunity for Palestinian self-determination, drawing several border areas known as A, B and C with PNA authority over A and B with cities such as Bethlehem, Jericho and a majority of Hebron; the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), however, continue to conducts unauthorized entry into the regions.[4] Area C remains in control by Israel and the allusion of ‘occupied’ refers to United Nation resolutions[5] regarding both settlement policies but also the Palestinian territories of the West Bank. It is clear that there exists gross discrimination against the Palestinian population residing in the West Bank – and why references to the apartheid are made – since the same geographical area contains two separate legal systems, namely the military legal system administered by the army against the entire Palestinian inhabitants whilst the Jewish settler population – now at almost half a million – living within the same jurisdiction are subject to Israeli law, denoting clear segregation and discrimination and a composed flagrance to international law. The Accords intended that Area C will eventually be transferred to Palestinian authority and with the rise of Jewish settlements and the restrictions permitting Palestinian construction of homes, it is clear that the intention is otherwise with ludicrous propositions that Israel is somehow immune to international law since the world is “dedicated to destroying Israel”[6] and therefore anti-Semitic in addition to the right for Israelis to settle in Judea and Samaria through historical and biblical romanticizing that nevertheless strengthens ideological nationalism. Not only are there clear, discriminating restrictions but martial law prohibits freedom of expression and association through the Israeli Defense Force’ Order Regarding Prohibition of Incitement and Hostile Propaganda Actions[7] that forbids any gathering in a public space, holding or displaying political symbols and showing support to what is deemed a hostile organization, providing the authorization for military personnel to exercise powers as vested in the order.

When I was in Eilat walking one warm evening along the coast, I saw a child probably about four or five years old holding a toy gun. As one who lives in a country where guns are illegal,[8] when I think of a child holding such a ludicrous toy, I visualise the toy being carelessly suspended and maybe making noises like ‘pow pow’ perhaps mimicking a movie or show on television. This child, however, held the gun with his elbows up and one eye closed as though he were a sniper or holding an AK51 and made spraying bullet sounds; to see a small child do that was frightfully shocking, I can assure you. He was symbolically a child soldier. It would be astounding to know that child recruitment during armed conflict is not uncommon in both Israel and Palestine and though rightly prohibited by international law, through a scarcity of documentary evidence it has been noted that Israel recruit Palestinian children to obtain information, particularly following their arrest and interrogation.[9] The level of child fatalities in Palestine is alarming, whereby a majority of these deaths are caused particularly by military offensives in Gaza. Statistics show that since 2000, a total of 1417 Palestinian children have died as a result of air and ground attacks, clashes and random gunfire among others.[10] These attacks can also be sporadic. On the 25th November, Israel shot and killed sixteen-year-old Mohammad Zidan for allegedly attempting to stab a group of Israeli security officers, a narrative so unbelievable that consideration of Israel having the worlds most ‘moral army’ is dubious to say the least, perhaps such rhetoric the very ideological fibre used to justify the brutality. Notwithstanding the death toll, the rate of children who have been detained, arrested or interrogated is far worse with the situation in East Jerusalem more complex to say the least. A report in 2011[11] showed that whilst reforms for Law 5731-1971 (‘Youth Law’) were comprehensively adopted to “greatly improve the treatment of minors in criminal proceedings,”[12] Israeli police consistently violate the provisions of the reforms. “In East Jerusalem, 860 Palestinian children were arrested, including 136 between 7 and 11 years of age, under the age of criminal responsibility.”[13] Recently enacted Order Number 1745 by the Israeli Armed Forces purports documentation and language used during the interrogation process of a minor suspected of committing an offence must be done in the language understandable to the minor and recorded with audiovisual documentation. However, 136d(b)6 states, “This article does not apply to minors suspected of committing security offenses,”[14] which clearly makes the rationale of the directive null and void, undermining the overall attempt to adhere to international norms of protecting minors.

Children are subject to martial law if they throw a stone. The Knesset had recently passed legislation that amended the Penal Code to increase the sentence of stone throwing with a minimum imprisonment of three years, claiming a ‘rock’ as a harmful tool.[15] Without any shame, the Knesset had the audacity to state in its press release on the subject of this legal change that “[i]f a child is convicted of a security crime or of rock-throwing, his parents will not receive NII benefits while he is serving his sentence,”[16] with Constitution and Justice Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky purporting that throwing a rock is an attempt to murder. Whilst it is clear that the endeavour is to use harsh force as a deterrent and perhaps targeting children to generate a consciousness of the threat of punishment for misbehaviour, discouraging terrorism through acts of terror only breeds further hostilities, which is clearly shown by the statistics that prove an increasing number of violence in the occupied territories. This would be difficult for a highly militarised nation to understand, particularly with Netanyahu in a leadership role who consistently utilises historical narratives and other forms of right-wing ideological validations in similar vein to revisionist Zionism that excuse breaches of human rights and humanitarian laws; any attempt to challenge this hardline approach falls on deaf ears since they have the ideological reason to believe otherwise. This extreme Jewish nationalism is the greatest barrier for peace with the Palestinians, clearly shown by the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin murdered by ultra-Orthodox Jew Yigal Amir. The U.N Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the occupied Palestinian territory reported on ‘price-tag’ strategies of Israeli settlers in certain regions, attacks carried out against Palestinians by Israeli satellite settlements built without official authorization by the government and usually on Palestinian-owned land as a way of deterring authorities from removing them.[17] Thousands of settler attacks have occurred and there is no discrimination against Palestinian children during the violence. In addition, retaliation against Palestinian families who have been accused in some way of attacking Israelis have their homes demolished by authorities as yet another excessive deterrence method, clear by the fact that neighbours are also punished to generate a sense of communal avoidance of hostilities.[18]

The question thus raised is whether these extreme actions have or will have in the long run any influence to reduce the rate of Palestinian terrorism in Israel? The broad definition of terrorism, while undefined in international law with the intent that in doing so one can isolate and address specific or multiple factors causal to an incident, nevertheless is generally considered an “[a]ct intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, when the purpose of such an act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organisation to do or to abstain from doing any act,”[19] taking into consideration that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. To understand the complexity of terrorism or when discussing the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, I often consider the following problem:

If one is incapable of providing formal proofs concerning a decision often moral in nature, what is the nature of their certainty and to what degree can one achieve this certainty in order to sufficiently justify the conviction?

It has somewhat become a formula of mine when I subjectively reach a point that I can no longer trespass without the content becoming dubious, requiring relativistic flexibility in an attempt to traverse their frame of mind, cultural position, historical and environmental influences etc &c., to reach an appreciation of the conviction that may or may not make much sense otherwise. This includes an understanding of the Israeli psyche and the rationalization behind decisions.

It is clear that the situation is having a devastating impact on Palestinian children, the lifelong effects from consistent intimidation and harassment in an environment plagued by the fear of continuous violence or the threat of violence, poverty, restrictions to movement and employment opportunities and therefore a sense of hopelessness for a better future cannot – according to the logic of the IDF – break their will for self-determination to form what could be considered an enslaved people – but rather develop the very core issue; it only creates the need to fight back. In Australia, for instance, the impact of the Stolen Generation[20] on indigenous communities resulted in widespread substance abuse, poverty that hinders achievement in education, and neglect that ultimately fosters the failure to attain equal opportunity. The experience of being stripped, blindfolded and detained without reason or an offence not only violates the inherent dignity of the child due to the emotional and physical harm, but the neurological caused by the stress, fear whereby brain development due to their response to such a threat is impaired can cause lifelong interpersonal difficulties, delays and injury to emotional and interpersonal wellbeing such as aggression and anger.

“Children living under occupation have been found to experience significantly more traumatic events than Palestinian citizens of Israel, and report higher levels of post-traumatic symptoms, more pessimistic future orientation, and less favorable attitudes toward peace negotiations… living in proximity to the Separation Wall has led to feelings of sadness and fear amongst women, to a lack of motivation to perform daily activities among men, and is associated with feelings of loneliness and physical ailments. Children have shown increased aggressiveness, and have developed a fear of the night.”[21]

Children do have dignity and have a right to be respected for this indivisible, inherent right that is often overlooked. In the case of domestic violence, for instance, it is assumed that by only supporting the mother during the traumatic experience and helping her recover, she would in turn be capable of supporting her children and whilst this may perhaps be true, during the period of her trauma [where she becomes incapable] the stress this may have on the child is often overlooked. That is, to have potentially witnessed violence against the mother and to witness their mother distressed and incapable of emotionally supporting them consequently isolates and impacts on the development of the child; even when the mother recovers, a continuation of neglecting any dialogue of the incident as a way of overcoming it could potentially and perhaps even permanently leave the child emotionally displaced and confused. The emotional unavailability of parents living under Israeli occupation and the lack of communal, cultural and social inclusiveness encouraged by a hope for a better future dismantles their capacity to develop a healthy, moral construction and development of their own identity and self that the damage could easily be irreversible. It is not just their own physical experience with trauma, the effects just as damaging when witnessing. “[I]t it possible that the symbolic or “imprinting” effects of trauma (e.g., witnessing violence being inflicted on family members) is more traumatic to children than suffering injuries themselves.”[22]

While the concluding observations by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child express dismay at the lack of willingness that Israel displays vis-à-vis the implementation of the convention,[23] it is clear that from the report – submitted by Israel seven years after its requested due date – that an exploration of different strategies to encourage and enforce the application of international human rights and humanitarian treaties is required. In Australia, for instance, Victoria has implemented a Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 along with the ACT’ Human Rights Act 2004 as a stepping stone toward the implementation of human rights at federal level. The practice by local municipals to adopt international human rights treaties was approached by the Ashdod City Council in 1997, affirming that it will adhere to and respect the principles as set out by the Convention of the Rights of the Child. If more continue, it could influence a voice that will pressure that hardliners to approach the Palestinian question with more compassion particularly if a future between both is imminent. As a way of facilitating and strengthening a commitment toward measures that seek to prevent and protect children from the damaging effects of living under occupation, implementing compliance to international law by councils could strategically influence national adoption of human rights principles. The voice of the Israeli population who are in support of peaceful relations with the Palestinians could also become the impetus to build a structure of change. Other measures, including rehabilitation, healing through education and other approaches that will strengthen the inherent dignity of Palestinian children is absolute. It is to remember that violence, aggression or fear will not resolve the loom of terrorism, on the contrary it will only breed it.

There is NEVER a justification for violence against children.

[1] http://imemc.org/article/israeli-naval-forces-continue-to-chase-palestinian-fishermen-in-gaza-sea-6-fishermen-including-child-arrested-and-2-fishing-boats-confiscated/
[2] Article 44 (2) of the Convention
[3] The 1967 war took place between 5-10 of June in 1967 between Israel and its surrounding Arab neighbours Egypt, Syria, and Jordan with casualties and crippling losses on the Arab side. Whilst the victory confirmed the state of Israeli military power in the Middle East, it also resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
[4] See Operation Defence Shield in the introduction to Norman G. Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Verso, 2003
[5] Resolutions 465 and 446
[6] Thomas G. Mitchell, Israel/Palestine and the Politics of a Two-State Solution, McFarland (2013) 40
[7] Israel Defense Forces, Order No. 101 Order Regarding Prohibition of Incitement and Hostile Propaganda Actions 
[8] Simon Chapman, Over Our Dead Bodies: Port Arthur and Australia’s Fight for Gun Control, Sydney University Press, 2013
[9] Also see Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (A/70/836–S/2016/360) 
[10] http://www.dci-palestine.org/child_fatalities_according_to_circumstances_of_death
[11]acri.org.il/en/2011/06/01/police-violations-of-rights-of-minors-in-east-jerusalem
[12] Second Periodic Report Concerning the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of a Child (2010) 14
[13] https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/countries-caac/occupied-palestinian-territory-and-israel/
[14] http://www.militarycourtwatch.org/files/server/Military%20Order%201745_ENG%20(2)(1).pdf
[15] https://www.knesset.gov.il/spokesman/eng/PR_eng.asp?PRID=11736
[16] Ibid
[17] http://www.ochaopt.org/theme/casualties
[18] See (A/69/926-S/2015/409)
[19] Art 2, par 1.(b) Convention on the Suppression of Financing Terrorism
[20] Learn more about the Stolen Generation in ‘Quarterly Essay 1: In Denial: The Stolen Generations and the Right’ by Robert Manne
[21] Bruno Charbonneau, Genevieve Parent, Peacebuilding, Memory and Reconciliation: Bridging Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches, Routledge (2013) 150
[22] Stanley Krippner, Teresa M. McIntyre, The Psychological Impact of War Trauma on Civilians: An International Perspective, Greenwood Publishing Group (2003) 288
[23] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), UN Committee on the Rights of the Child: Concluding Observations: Israel, 9 October 2002, CRC/C/15/Add.195, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df587210.html %5Baccessed 18 December 2016]