- Planet Erstwild - 20090101- Dr. Eyud Sarraj in Gaza

James Moore speaks with Dr. Eyad Sarraj from his home in Gaza City.Dr. Eyad Sarraj

Dr. Sarraj is the founder and president of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program and a commissioner of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights.

Read his recent editorial for the Los Angeles Times titled: Catastrophe in Gaza: An Israeli blockade curtails food, fuel, medicine and travel.

Here's a link to an incredible 1996 NY Times piece on Dr. Sarraj by Anthony Lewis: Darkness in Gaza. His criticism of Yassar Arafat and the Palestinian Authority would land him in jail.

Israel's assault on Gaza is now in its 6th day of day and night bombing. Gaza's morgues, cemeteries and hospitals are full to overflowing, reports Dr. Sarraj. More than 400 Palestinians have now been killed with a quarter of those civilian casualties, according to UN figures. The wounded number 2000. Gaza City, with its 400,000-plus residents, is a ghost town, says Dr. Sarraj. Rockets fired by Hamas have killed 4 Israelis to date.

The onus is on Hamas to stop firing rockets, says the Bush Administration. Israel has rejected international calls for a 48-hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid and medical supplies into Gaza, though some trucks have been allowed in, they say. Tanks continue to mass on Gaza's borders. Israel has vowed to take this fight to the bitter end and have declared anyone connected with Hamas a target.

A whole new generation of young people is being radicalized, Dr. Sarraj fears, as Gazan children watch their fathers unable to provide for them or protect them in the face of Israel's military superiority and excessive, savage attacks, adding, this will prove counterproductive to Israel's goals in the long run.

A senior Hamas political leader, Nizar Rayyan, who called yesterday for a resumption of suicide bombings--something Hamas has had a truce on since 2005--was killed in an extra-judicial assassination with a missile strike to his home, killing Rayyan along with two of his wives and a number of his children.

Assault on Gaza

While yet another wave of trauma is visited en masse on the Palestinians, Israel may end being the bigger long-term loser with this all out assault. Even before the bombing began a week ago, some Hamas leaders may have welcomed another reason to justify suicide attacks and other terroristic behaviors, but now as mentioned in the interview with Dr Sarraj, more radicalization of the youth will result and a new breed of those dedicated to the destruction of Israel will be born. Do mature adults really believe that a finite number of terrorists are hatched from the womb and if only one can kill them all that somehow the problem of terrorism will be solved? Behavioral research in Palestine has shown that most suicide bombers had previously lost family members in this painful unending conflict.

Moreover, beyond the confines of Israel and the occupied terrorities, the passions of Islamists worldwide are being inflamed by Israel's actions. Many in the Arab and Muslim world will have more reason to hate the Israelis and more and more of us non Arab/Muslims will stop believing the twisted rhetoric that somehow with a 100/1 ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths that Israel is still the "real victim". Victims of horrors of the holocaust in the past yes, but just as some abused children grow up to "identify with the aggressor" as a way of dealing with the insanity of abuse, any and all aggression becomes justified in the mind of the new victimizer. So with many wars or perhaps most, the "terrorized" becomes the "terrorist". This is not unique to the middle east---just look at the tutsis and hutus in Rwanda as one of many examples. Violence begets violence or as Jesus said: he who lives by the sword will die by the sword. Seeing the same thing happen over and over again but continuing to the do same thing fits everyones definition of insanity. I for one will be actively searching for ways out of this madness.

James Fleming, M.D.
Psychiatrist and President, Western Missouri Psychiatric Society
Kansas City, MO
Note: the views expressed above are my own personal ones, informed by common sense and 20 years of psychiatrist practice.


thanks james
u bring this to the radio. and have new view to ppl in iowa and usa .
me and u friend was fraed few years back if u remember thats will happend.keep this way and lets show the world that the victm is palastaine .
keep the good work. bro....

Thank You James! Great

Thank You James! Great interview ..
You bring up some good points!