Palestinian youths examine damage at the site of an overnight Israeli army airstrike in Gaza City. After graduating from university, young adults have failed to get employed and in order to find work elsewhere they have to jump through hoops just to leave Gaza. Image Credit: AP

Gaza: Young people in Gaza are desperately trying to leave the blockaded enclave. The blockade has raised unemployment to one of the highest rates in the world, putting it at about 60 per cent.

After graduating from university, young adults have failed to get employed and in order to find work elsewhere they have to jump through hoops just to leave Gaza.

As it stands, it is nearly impossible to legally leave Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, which must be approved by Egypt. Special cases include medical treatment or students who study abroad.

Young graduates believe they can make a better life for themselves in the West, as their parents who have lived in other Arab countries have yet to get citizenship or residence rights.

Certain advantages

In some Western countries, Palestinian refugees have certain advantages.

For example, US President Barack Obama has allocated $20.3 million (Dh74.5 million) to ease the immigration process from the Gaza Strip to the US.

Mohammad Sowerki is an unemployed youth who is trying to emigrate. "...The cost doesn't matter as long as I leave because I know I will have a job and social security," he said.

"Its not a phenomenon, but the fact is that some people are looking for jobs and some are going abroad to study," Dr Ahmad Al Kurd, Minister of Social Affairs told Gulf News. He blamed the lack of jobs on the siege.

Yousuf Al Hanafi's company closed down after the siege due to lack of access to building materials. He was left with no choice but to move his family to New Zealand. But for Al Hanafi, it wasn't the golden opportunity he thought it would be.

"I spent all of my savings to immigrate and now I can't find a job here either. I sold everything I have and now I'm going to sell my house," he said.

Still, Al Hanafi will not move back to Gaza. "It took me over a year to leave Gaza, so I can't risk going back. I want my children to be able to have good lives here," he said.