More than 350 Israeli soldiers who took part in last summer's military onslaught on the Gaza Strip have since received psychiatric counseling for post-traumatic stress, an Israeli report has revealed.
The report, published Wednesday in the Israel Today newspaper said that soldiers had undergone treatment for symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress, including disorientation, low productivity and recurring nightmares.
The newspaper quoted a senior Israeli official as saying that the number of soldiers to receive psychiatric treatment following last summer's onslaught on Gaza was higher than those who did so following previous operations.
For 51 days this summer, Israel pounded the Gaza Strip by air, land and sea. More than 2,310 Gazans, 70 percent of them civilians, were killed and 10,626 injured during unrelenting Israeli attacks on the besieged strip this summer.
According to the UN, the Israeli military killed at least 495 Palestinian children in Gaza during “Operation Protective Edge.” The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights puts the number at 518, while the Palestinian Center for Human Rights puts it at 519.
All three figures exceed the total number of Israelis, civilians and soldiers, killed by Palestinians in the last decade.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that 3,106 Palestinian children were injured in the seven- week assault. The UN estimates that 1,000 children will suffer a permanent disability as a result of their injury.
Moreover, the UN said as many as 1,500 children have been orphaned by Israeli attacks that killed their parents, while 6,000 children will have a parent with a lifelong disability.
The besieged enclave has also seen widespread destruction of its infrastructure, reaching levels of devastation that UN chief Ban Ki Moon called “beyond description” in a visit to the Strip on October 14.
Some 100,000 people remain displaced while 450,000 don’t have access to running water.
Meanwhile, the official, who holds a senior position in the Israeli military's psychiatric department, said that "hundreds" of soldiers had sought psychiatric treatment for "severe stress.”
He said that 80 percent of the soldiers to have undergone treatment had since been "fully rehabilitated" and returned to service.
Treatment was carried out at southern Israel's Re'im military base where affected soldiers received up to eight hours of treatment each day, the official was quoted as saying.
A report published in January revealed that at least 10 Israeli soldiers committed suicide in 2014, including four who took part in the onslaught on the Gaza Strip.
In September, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that the three troops from the elite Golani Brigade had suffered psychological problems in connection to their participation in the recent offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Also in September, 43 reservists and former members of Israel's elite army intelligence unit have announced in a letter addressed to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that they refused to serve in the military, slamming "abuses" of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, annexed East Jerusalem and Gaza.
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