Unemployment in Gaza doesn’t only affect those having no jobs, but it also has a very negative impact on those having simple jobs. Being a butcher, a grocery or a vendor is not that job that you can really depend on during in your daily life in the Gaza Strip.
The rate of unemployment among the youngstersin this Palestinian territory rose to more than 42%, while it’s 27% in the West Bank. On the other hand, the number of the unemployed graduates in Gaza is more than 150,000, which means this young generation’s future is already at stake.
We had a short tour in the Gaza markets, especially Al-Zaweya market, which for Gazans is considered an old market in the Palestine Forum. Al-Zaweya does not have that much of buyers, which made the general atmosphere of this ancient market very dim.
We interviewed a grocery who told us that there is a difference between selling fruits and vegetables nowadays and in the Past, before the start of the political division between Fatah and Hamas.
“In the Past, the fruits were expensive and I used to sell tremendous amounts every day,” the grocery said, “but now people don’t buy much although fruits are cheap.”
Right in front of this grocery, we saw this vendor who is considered, by the people of this old market, the spokesman of Palestine Forum. He is always ready to talk to any news agency coming to interview him. He usually talks about the economical and the political situations in Gaza.
“I have been in this place for 52 years. I started this job exactly when I was only 10 years,” the vendor told us. “I know all of these generations you can see right now in this place. I have experience in everything.”
This “spokesman” has witnessed the Egyptian army, the Israeli occupation, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas government when governed Gaza, which strengthened his knowledge in knowing most of the situations of the Gaza Strip.
“The economic situation is very difficult. In the past I sold amounts of goods, but now most of my goods get rotten because people cannot buy anymore.” He continued while it was raining.
The vendor’s children are graduates but with no jobs. They have an engineer, a math teacher and an English teacher, but none of them are employed.
“The reconciliation is the only hope we have now. Unlike other times, we really depend on it this time, and we are very optimistic.” The vendor imagined.
Butchers are also victims of this political division that lasted for more than a decade. A butcher saw us holding a camera walking in the market, so he rushed to us asking to be interviewed. We wondered why, and he said that he wanted, “the world to know the small details media doesn’t tell the world.”
“In the past, the price of one kilo of meat was more than 60 NIS (17 USD), but now it’s about 30 NIS (8USD) and people can’t buy it.” The curious butcher continued.
This butcher was the most famous in Al-Zaweya market, but this division and the siege affected his whole life, and he became just a simple seller people see as an item.
The bottom line? Eyes of Palestinians residing in the enclave are open waiting to see the reconciliation and its results on the real life in Gaza. Women, men, kids and elders have been waiting for this moment, which first step will appear on November 1st, when the Palestinian Authority will hand over the Gaza crossings. Apparently, this reconciliation became the only dream Palestinians have to start a new life full of happiness and joy, just like the rest of the world.