"Trauma in Hebron"

Established in 1983, the Al-Shefa'a Building for Rehabilitation and Care provides housing and health care needs for Hebron's disabled community. Most of the 120 residents who live at this Al-Ihsan Charitable Society-funded project on a permanent basis have some form of disability such as schizophrenia, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, autism, muscular dystrophy, or down syndrome.

According to a report produced by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2000, 46,000 Palestinians (1.8 percent of the total population) are disabled. The Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP) estimates that up to 15 percent of Palestinians living in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank suffer from some form of mental disability, and that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is particularly high among children who have been raised in families affected by the protracted war with Israel. Given the current gap in funding to the newly-elected Hamas government, the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Welfare relies on community-based organizations like Al-Ihsan to meet the health and rehabilitative needs of conflict-affected communities throughout the Occupied Territories.

In 2005, however, the United States Treasury Department designated Al-Ihsan as a "charitable front" for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a terrorist organization based in Damascus, Syria,  and froze its assets in the U.S. financial system. Managers at the foundation, which has offices throughout the Gaza Strip and West Bank, denied the accusation and said they are only concerned with helping the disabled community. In spite of its terrorist tag, this organization is equipped with state-of-the-art rehabilitative technology and operates one of the few private health facilities in the volatile city of Hebron.

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