Saturday, August 12, 2017

Despair dominates youngsters amid deteriorating conditions in Gaza

Gaza Strip
Mahmoud Taha, a man in his mid-20s from the Gaza Strip, is dominated by despair due to the deteriorating conditions in the blockaded territory.

The young man said he would drop out marriage as a life choice given his bad financial situation, adding that he sees no horizon for a better future.

Working 15 hours a day, Taha's daily income is below 20 New Israeli Sheqel (NIS), or about 6 US dollars, which forced him to abandon many aspirations.

He works in a rented small booth selling hot drinks, with the income barely covering his daily needs.

The work is hard and time-consuming, he said, but is the only job available for him, while the minor financial return almost blocks all his ambitions for a good future, as his six-year work has not saved him any money.

"Our good days have passed and the future is dark. I wish I could travel abroad to have a better job and life," he said on the eve of International Youth Day, which falls on Saturday.

Gaza has been placed under a tight Israeli blockade since Hamas seized the territory by force after routing forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

Poverty has been notably apparent among most of the Palestinians, who have been suffering from the decade-long economic embargo.

In the past eight years, Israel and Hamas rulers of Gaza have been engaged in three major wars that claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis.

The Israeli blockade and wars have forced most of Gaza's populations into poverty, making the resourceless costal enclave one of the poorest areas in the world with an unemployment rate of 42.7 percent.

Official statistics estimate the number of young people in the Gaza Strip at about 542,000 in 2015, among which 275,000 are males and 267,000 females.

Figures also show that 23.6 percent of young Palestinians want to migrate for better living conditions; the figure is 37 percent in the Gaza Strip, and 15.2 percent in the West Bank.

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