Gaza’s Youth: Suspended Lives, Fading Opportunities

ICRC

Gaza – A new online survey conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) found that 9 out of 10 young people from Gaza who took the survey believe their lives are abnormal.

Two thirds of the respondents said they are dependent on their families for income, whilst 40% reported having no hope of finding a job opportunity in the next 15 years.

One-fifth of the Gaza population are youth aged between 18 and 29 years old. The majority of the youth who responded to the ICRC’s survey believe that the next phase of their lives will continue to be defined by the same critical challenges they have faced in recent years.

“Wars and closure have negatively impacted all youths in Gaza, not just me. War is just bad enough as it is, adding the closure to that makes it too much to bear,” Laith Rashdan, a 25-year-old university graduate, told the ICRC.

Fifteen years of restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement of goods and People in and out of Gaza have significantly contributed to a steady deterioration in the economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza. This has limited access to essential services, jobs and opportunities outside of the occupied Palestinian territory.

“The needs of youth go beyond the economic dimension in Gaza, as half of the young people say that they have endured significant mental health issues and one-third of them face social problems. Youth residing in Gaza desperately need a pathway towards hope and opportunity away from pain and suffering driven by hostilities and movement restrictions,” said Nicolas Geeraert, the deputy head of the ICRC’s sub-delegation in Gaza.

A sustainable and long-term solution that provides youth in Gaza with dignified opportunities lies in the hands of the authorities responsible for the multiple rounds of hostilities and movement restrictions. The ICRC calls on them to immediately address the deepening humanitarian consequences that prevent access to essential services as well as contribute to mental health challenges and rising unemployment amongst youth in Gaza.

All we ask for is to live normally like others worldwide. We want to be able to move freely, travel, and have decent jobs,” Nouran Al-Zaeem, 23, told the ICRC.

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