‘Who said that I have to be a refugee forever?’–Palestinians in Gaza reflect

October 10, 2018
Voices of young people in Gaza

Amira Abu Shrar, Gaza strip (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Ahmad Kabariti writes in Mondoweiss, “Young Palestinians often describe their upbringing in the Gaza Strip as serving a sentence in “the world’s largest open-air prison.” Many struggle to imagine conditions improving after experiencing more than a decade of blockade that began in 2007 as Hamas came to power.

Over recent years, movement in and out of Gaza has tapered off with the number of exit permits into Israel for healthcare and all travel through Rafah dropping to around half of the 2012 levels. Alongside this, frustration and despair became rampant after successive failures between Israeli and Palestinian leaders to reach a lasting peace agreement to end decades of conflict.

One Palestinian told Mondoweiss, he believes the decade long siege that restricts travel in and out of the Strip is “eternal.”

For a generation of young people raised under these harsh conditions, they see themselves as trapped between Israel’s refusal engage in a process that would support Palestinian statehood, and an inactive international community. Many lament Gaza has become an aid project and one that is now under economic pressure from the Trump administration. Of the nearly 2 million who live in the besieged strip, 70 percent are refugees.

In recent months Palestinian youth have protested by the tens of thousands along the fence that separates Gaza from Israel that has locally reopened a conversation about return to their historic cities and villages now part of Israel. During the 26th consecutive week of demonstrations, I asked Palestinians in Gaza what does it mean for them to live in Gaza.” (More…)

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