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Israeli siege of Gaza pushes youth unemployment up to 70%

A young boy carries food aid distributed UNRWA at Al-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on 15 January 2018 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]
A young boy carries food aid distributed UNRWA at Al-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on 15 January 2018 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

The Head of the Popular Committee against the Siege in the Gaza Strip said on Monday that the Israeli siege of the Palestinian territory has pushed the youth unemployment rate up to 70 per cent.

Jamal Al-Khudari, MP, pointed out in a media statement that the ongoing Israeli siege has entered its fourteenth year and resulted in the closure of dozens of factories, companies and workshops.

“This miserable reality has had a serious negative impact on the unemployment rate,” explained Al-Khudari. There are now more than 300,000 unemployed workers in Gaza and tens of thousands of unemployed university graduates. “There are no real solutions for the ailing economic situation as long as the Israeli siege is in place.” The young Palestinians in Gaza are being led to a dark future, he added.

The Palestinian legislator called for support for work programmes and the opening of the Arab and international markets for Gaza’s youth.

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They can, for example, be employed remotely; such “long distance” employment schemes have started to prosper in Gaza. However, he stressed that the best way to reduce unemployment is to end the Israeli siege.

“Ending the Israeli siege, opening border crossings, connecting Gaza with the West Bank, allowing exports from Gaza and allowing free movement of people and trade,” insisted Al-Khudari. “This is the only way to bring about a real solution for the unemployment problem in Gaza.”

Bringing an end to the siege, he concluded, is the responsibility of the international community and this could only happen through putting “real pressure” on the Israeli government and taking “decisive measures” against it.

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