Around 90 percent of young Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip consider that their lives are not under “normal” circumstances due to the war and the blockade imposed by Israel, according to a survey by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The results of the survey, conducted between July 18 and August 3 among 385 Palestinians between the ages of 18 and 30, reflect that two-thirds of Gazans depend on their families for income, while 40 percent say they have no hope of finding a job for the next 15 years.
Thus, 88.8 percent of participants said that life in Gaza is “abnormal” compared to other areas, mainly due to the impact of fighting, the blockade, internal differences between Palestinian factions, and climate change.
In addition, 95.6 percent believe that they are negatively affected by the humanitarian situation due to lack of work and low income, lack of access to basic services including power outages, poor water quality, lack of garbage removal and malnutrition, and the impact of hostilities.
Moreover, 49 percent of Gazan youth suffer from stress, anxiety and depression, while 34.5 percent report experiencing social problems with friends and 12.4 percent choose to avoid marriage.
38.7 percent of respondents point to a decline in access to quality medical services due to the limited capacities of health facilities, while 33.6 percent cannot afford to pay for health care and 27.7 percent cannot receive treatment due to restrictions on foreign travel.
Added to this, 39.2 percent of young Gazans have missed out on job opportunities abroad and 20.6 percent were unable to leave the enclave for a business opportunity. Likewise, 16.2 percent were denied access to better treatment, 12.9 percent lost a scholarship abroad and 11.1 percent have suffered a reduction in their chances of establishing a family.
Regarding the future, 42.9 percent believe that they will not be able to find work in the next 15 years, while 67.5 percent believe that there will be new hostilities with Israel in the future. An additional 19.2 percent believe there is a 50 percent chance of new clashes.
Likewise, 47.8 percent say they have little hope for an improvement in travel mechanisms to and from the Strip, while 33.5 percent say they have no hope at all in this regard.
Finally, 66.2 percent believe they will not have electricity throughout the day and 38.4 percent expect new generations of Internet services to reach Gaza, with 23.4 percent expecting just the opposite.
One-fifth of Gaza’s population is between 18 and 29 years old, and 15 years of Israeli-imposed restrictions on the movement of people and goods have contributed to a deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation in the Strip, according to the ICRC.
“The wars and blockade have negatively impacted all young people in Gaza, not just me. The war is bad enough on its own and added to the blockade makes it too much to bear,” recounted Laiz Rashdan, a 25-year-old college graduate.
Nuran al-Zaim, 23, stressed that “all we are asking for is to live normally, like others around the world.” “We want to be able to move freely, travel and have decent jobs,” he explained in statements to the agency.
In this regard, the deputy secretary of the ICRC sub-delegation in Gaza, Nicolas Geeraert, has stated that “the needs of young people go beyond the economic dimension of Gaza, as half of the young people say they have suffered significant mental health problems and a third of them suffer from social problems.”
“The young people residing in Gaza desperately need a path to hope and opportunity away from the pain and suffering caused by hostilities and restrictions on movement,” Geeraert has argued.
The ICRC has therefore called for long-term solutions that provide dignified solutions for young Gazans and called on the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to address the humanitarian consequences that prevent people from accessing essential services in the enclave.