Almost eight years after Israel’s unilateral evacuation of 8,600 Jewish
residents from the Gush Katif settlements of the Gaza Strip, significantly
higher rates of hypertension, ischemic heart disease and type II diabetes have
been found among men who resettled with their families inside
These findings have been reported by three Israeli physicians,
Dr. Sody Naimer (who lived and worked as a family doctor in Gush Katif),
Dr. Ronen Kory and Dr. Alon Carney. It has been published in the March
edition of the Israel Medical Association Journal (IMAJ).
As reported in
an article titled “Health Ramifications of the Gush Katif Evacuation,” the
researchers examined the health condition of 2,692 people at Clalit Health
Services’ clinic in Gush Katif in 2004 and subsequently in the
evacuation-destination town of Nitzan, north of Ashkelon, in 2007 and
Although the evacuated families received government compensation to
help them make a new start after August 2005, their unemployment rate was as
high as three times the general figure in Israel, and more illness and divorce
was reported among those required to leave under the disengagement. The authors
suggested that personal psychological trauma can affect physical health in
addition to undermining psychological well-being.
The team compared the
health condition of the Gush Katif evacuees with those of a similar group of
Israelis of their ages and socioeconomic status who lived inside the Green Line
and were not evacuated against their will.
Gush Katif residents felt that
they went from a status of financially independent pioneers in their society to
one of dependent and neglected displaced persons, the authors wrote. Men aged 45
to 65 were especially affected, and men of all ages were more affected than the
women. Naimer said he and his fellow researchers believe the men’s “bread-winning
role” caused them to decline in health more than the women.
men from Gush Katif “should be considered at high risk, and an intensive
education program should be initiated to inform the patients of the trends and
minimize progression to heart disease. Most of all, a continued effort
should be made to pursue the permanent resettlement and reemployment of the Gush
Katif community as soon as possible,” the doctors urged.
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