“Depression” in the Territories, September 2006

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During the period 22-23 September, 2006, Near East Consulting (NEC) conducted a phone survey of over 1100 randomly selected Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem of which 794 were successfully completed. The survey covered a number of issues that examined the state of mind of Palestinians and how they perceive some aspects related to their life especially at a time of increasing unemployment, lack of prospects of a political settlement, a deepening hardship, etc. As such, NEC has used a “depression” indicator that was used in Kosovo by some international agencies. The level of “depression/low morale” was formulated and constructed based on the following five questions:

1) In the past two weeks, did you feel good spirited?
2) In the past two weeks, did you feel relaxed?
3) In the past two weeks, did you feel energized?
4) In the past two weeks, did you feel healthy?
5) In the past two weeks, did you feel that your life was interesting?

It is worth noting that the margin of error is +/- 3.5% with a 95% confidence level.

Main Findings

The recent socio-economic and political situation in the oPt has undoubtedly affected the morale of the Palestinian population as more than 3/4th of the Palestinian population is suffering from severe “depression” as 55% of the Palestinian population are very depressed and 22% depressed. These percentages point to an increase of 21% in just one year (from 56% to 77%). Meanwhile, 11% of Palestinians are on the borderline of a “depression”, and
the remaining 13% are either contented (9%) or very contented (4%). Last year, still 25% of Palestinians felt contented.

Level of “depression” in the oPt

Very depressed 55%
Depressed 22%
In between 11%
Contented 9%
Very Contented 4%
Very depressed 32%
Depressed 24%
In between 20%
Contented 16%
Very Contented 9%

“Depression” rates in the Gaza Strip resemble those of the entire oPt as 87% of Gaza Strip residents are either very depressed (66%) or depressed (21%) in comparison to the West Bank were less than half of Palestinians are very depressed (48%) and 23% are depressed. Meanwhile, around 19% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are on the borderline. Albeit a small percentage, more Palestinians in the West Bank (15%) than in the Gaza Strip(9%) are contented.

I imagine that the statistics regarding the percentage of Palestinians who perceive themselves as “contented” increases in direct proportion to how many Jews were murdered that day. Not a lot of Jews have been murdered lately – B”H – which must explain the high depression rate.

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