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On air at 1100GMT: What's it like to be unemployed in Gaza?

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 09:50 UK time, Tuesday, 14 June 2011


This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 14 June, 2011. Listen to the programme.

Gaza is one of the unemployment hotspots of the world. A UN report shows that over 45 percent of people of working-age are jobless and real wages have fallen 34.5% since the first half of 2006. That's when sanctions were imposed by Israel after Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, won a Palestinian legislative election.

The BBC's Jon Donnison, in Gaza, says he notices the tremendous number of people in the coastal strip sitting around with time on their hands. He says in one of the main park areas running through the heart of Gaza City, young men sit at virtually every bench smoking, chatting and shading themselves from the sun.

Speaking on release of the report, the UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness says,

"It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution."


Life has got slightly easier this year after the fall of President Mubarak from power in Egypt. Since then restrictions at Gaza's border with Egypt have been eased, seeing the southern border crossing at Rafah opened daily for civilian traffic, but not for trade.

The blockade of Gaza was eased by Israel last year in response to international pressure, after nine Turkish activists were killed in an Israeli raid on a convoy of aid ships attempting to enter the territory with supplies.

On our programme at 1100GMT we'll aim to get an insight into the lives of two people, one on either side of the divide, a Gazan and an Israeli to speak about the realities they face.

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