Palestinian and Israeli children learn to cope with the aftermath of war.
Five year-old Mohammed al-Najar sketches the scene of an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza.
Nearly three weeks after Israel's devastating military offensive in Gaza and Palestinian children are struggling to cope with the psychological impact of the 22-day conflict.
More than one thousand Palestinians were killed during the fighting - about a third of them children.
Observing the children is mental health nurse, Inas Jouda.
She's part of a team of mental health professionals trying to identify children who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress.
She says the signs are not always obvious.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) A MENTAL HEALTH NURSE, INAS JOUDA, SAYING:
"Those who drew flowers and trees don't necessarily show they were normal, without any trauma. The nice drawings could reflect what the children hoped to see, and hoped to have."
The U.N.'s Children's agency, UNICEF, says exposure to constant violence and inability to leave Gaza have massively increased the level of trauma in children who were already suffering high-levels of stress due to occupation and conflict
Across the border in southern Israel, children at the Hagar pre-school and kindergarten are also readjusting to life.
The school in Beersheba is located within the range of Palestinian rocket fire and was forced to close during the fighting.
But this school has a rather different approach to healing: the children here are Arab and Jewish.
They're being taught to value one another as individuals, not as cultural stereotypes.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) HANITA HADDAD, TEACHER IN HAGAR SCHOOL, SAYING:
"They do get along, and they see each other as [most] friends, and not as Arab, or as Jews."
One of the school's founders is Dr. Neve Gordon. He says the school isn't trying to eliminate cultural differences; rather, it's an attempt at fostering mutual respect.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. NEVE GORDON, FATHER OF ARIEL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF SCHOOL, SAYING:
"We think the difference is important. We think they should learn about their unique, historical background - about their traditions and so forth. But they should learn about the other, and respect the other."
The students are taught Arabic and Hebrew. They learn about both Jewish and Muslim holidays while each class has a Jewish and an Arab teacher.
The kindergarten is one of only four multi-cultural Jewish-Arab schools in the country and is a small but no less significant attempt to salving the divisions that have led to decades of hatred and bloodshed in this corner of the world.
Helen Long, Reuters
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