Suicide rate said to spike among West Bank Palestinians

PA police worried about the trend; highest rate was among people aged 18-25

Palestinian security officers in the West Bank city of Nablus (Wagdit Ashtiyeh/Flash90)
Palestinian security officers in the West Bank city of Nablus (Wagdit Ashtiyeh/Flash90)

The rate of suicides and attempted suicides among Palestinians living in the West Bank swelled during 2014, in what Palestinian police say has become a worrying trend that must be combated.

The Palestinian Authority’s police force listed 32 suicides in 2014, compared with 19 in 2013 and just eight over 2012 — a 400-percent increase over three years, the Ma’an news agency reported Sunday.

The number of attempted suicides and the number of suicides that were not investigated by police weren’t disclosed.

Police statistics showed that the highest rate of suicide in Palestinian society was among young adults aged 18-25 — 34.3% — while the lowest was among those older than 46.

Of those suicides listed in police records over 2014, 21 were males, while 11 were females. Hanging was by far the preferred method, with 22 people committing suicide by rope, while six jumped from tall buildings, two overdosed on medication, one ingested pesticides, and one took poison.

The Hebron district featured the highest rate of suicide, followed by Nablus. The majority of those that took their own life came from countryside towns and villages. United Nations-administrated refugee camps had the lowest rates of suicide.

Police say that psychological disorders were a key factor in the motives behind most suicides across the West Bank, followed by family disputes and emotional troubles.

Human rights groups also want to see officials fight misconceptions in Palestinian society involving honor killings, in which a woman is murdered, often by relatives, in order to preserve the dignity of her family.

Over 27 women were slain in honor killings across the West Bank in 2013.

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