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Shaban writes: "I have lived and grown up in the Gaza Strip, one of the most dangerous places in the world. Despite only being 16 years old, I have seen death and destruction, and lived through tough experiences that are full of painful memories."

A movement among the youth in Gaza is saying no to Israel and Hamas. (photo: adjusters)
A movement among the youth in Gaza is saying no to Israel and Hamas. (photo: adjusters)


War and Peace: The Youth of Gaza

By Nour Omar Shaban, Fair Observer

02 August 14

 

Palestinians and Israelis cannot keep fighting for the rest of their lives; they must make peace.

have lived and grown up in the Gaza Strip, one of the most dangerous places in the world. Despite only being 16 years old, I have seen death and destruction, and lived through tough experiences that are full of painful memories. I wanted to write this so I can show the world a different view of people in Gaza, especially the youth.

The struggle between Palestinians and Israelis has been going on for over 60 years. However, I believe that nothing is permanent — one day, there will be peace. Actually, I think it’s possible to make peace at any point, if the will is there.

I have left Gaza only once in my life to visit Europe via Israel and Jordan. On route, I went to have lunch in an Israeli restaurant. When I paid the bill, the cashier, who was Israeli, couldn’t believe I came from Gaza. The look on his face made me feel like I was an alien or something, but I shook his hand and we shared some laughs. It made me feel so relaxed because, at the end of the day, we are both human and have the same simple desires of life: We want to grow up, have a job and live a peaceful life full of joy. This encounter made me feel hopeful that one day peace will be achieved.

But the problem is the Israeli blockade of Gaza as it doesn’t allow Palestinians to go outside the territory, especially the youth. What the entire world sees in Gaza in terms of resistance and extremists is a consequence of the siege — and occupation — because the situation in the Strip is extremely difficult.

Gaza has a population of almost 2 million people who are crammed into a tiny stretch of land. In the coming years, Gaza will be the most densely populated area in the world. Some 43% of the population are 14 or below and 21% are between 15-24 years old. In addition, we have one of the highest unemployment rates worldwide. When these young people reach working age and the economy doesn’t provide opportunities and emigration is blocked, the consequences will be dire: social tension, violence and extremism as possible outlets, due to a lack of meaningful prospects and brain drain. The youth will become radicals and they won’t care about their future or anyone else’s, because they have not seen any other place than Gaza.

This means that Palestinians and Israelis will continue to live in fear and insecurity. Israel must end the siege of Gaza and make everyday people interact with one another. Without a culture of peaceful coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis, peace is not possible.

The siege is causing Palestinians in Gaza to suffer as a result of political decisions. In my opinion, the resistance is just a temporary phenomenon to achieve particular goals: to end the blockade and allow Palestinians to live in freedom and dignity in a state of their own.

But we cannot keep fighting for the rest of our lives. As a Palestinian teenager, I want to make peace. I want to live a normal life like millions of people around the world in places such as London, New York and Tokyo.

At the end of the day, Israel controls its future and ours. If Israel wants to make peace, then it should end the siege and make Israelis and Palestinians interact with one another. I am not saying it is going to be easy because both sides are full of hatred, but we cannot let our past control our future. Forgiveness starts today.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

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+15 # Activista 2014-08-02 20:40
"But the problem is the Israeli blockade of Gaza as it doesn’t allow Palestinians to go outside the territory, especially the youth."
Israel made Gaza like a Warsaw Ghetto - and named Hamas resisting responsible?
www.holocaustresearchproject.org/ghettos/warsawghetto.html
the resemblance to the present Gaza is scarry.
 
 
-16 # Seadog 2014-08-02 22:23
Peace is a good thing. Tell Hamas then to stop already with the rockets and mortars and tunnels. Nobody in Israel will trust your desire for peace while a gun is being pointed at their heads.
 
 
+19 # Activista 2014-08-03 00:30
Tell Apartheid Israel then to stop boycott/blockad e of Gaza - tear this wire/wall down.
 
 
+13 # riverhouse 2014-08-03 05:19
Occupied people have a right to resist. Israel is illegally occupying the Gaza Strip. Americans would resist just as fiercely if we were under occupation by a foreign country. It was a terrible error to ever transplant European Jews into Palestine. It is an error of historical proportions.
 
 
+13 # seeuingoa 2014-08-03 02:22
seadog:

They are occupied, stupid!
 
 
+8 # riverhouse 2014-08-03 05:16
Israel has created a torrent on hatred that I fear can never be erased from these young people who have suffered so much deprivation and humiliation at the hands of Israel. And that hate will apply to us, as well, because it is America that allows Israel to so brutally occupy and oppress these people. Palestinians have no rights in their own land, land which is being stolen from them. The land the Israelis don't take, they destroy. Orchards and farms have been torn asunder and a huge apartheid wall erected that locks these people into a concentration camp. We have already suffered through the horror and deaths of September 11 because of Israel. How many more September 11s must we suffer because of our support of Israel?
 
 
-5 # think4once 2014-08-03 06:05
OMG Riverhouse!
911 = controlled demolition
Please do some research.
Neither Israel nor or support for Israel had anything to do with 911.
If you can prove an airplane hit the Pentagon I might consider listening to your nonsense..
 
 
+5 # reiverpacific 2014-08-03 08:41
Quoting think4once:
OMG Riverhouse!
911 = controlled demolition
Please do some research.
Neither Israel nor or support for Israel had anything to do with 911.
If you can prove an airplane hit the Pentagon I might consider listening to your nonsense..

I think you misunderstood "Riverhouse's" comment in that LIKUD-run Israel's aggression and antagonization of the Arab/Islamic Middle East backed by Big Bro' US and it's presence there (mostly the latter) was an irritant to whoever the attackers were -whilst of course, concurrently arming, trading with and sucking up to some of the most repressive and Feudalist Sheikdoms on Earth like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in a typical two-faced approach to global affairs intended to enrich the already stinkin' rich, keep the arms trade flowing profitably and everybody else in line with the Military/Corpor ate behemoth's empirical goals.
Actually advanced warnings to the CIA about the 9-11 attacks emanated from both Israel and Iran, two totally opposite sides of the coin, which the Dimwits/Rice/Ru msfeld/Cheney cabal of criminals chose to either ignore in their hubris or disregard them and let it happen.
BTW, I'm one of these pesky Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth and it's general agreed that the building collapses WERE controlled demolitions including Building 7. Check out the website for much visual, calculated, and structural evidence.
'Scuse strayin' from the subject but just inserting some interpretive facts.
 
 
-3 # daruten1 2014-08-03 12:00
The world doesn't seem to distinguish between Hamas /Hezballah and the Gazans. Israel, in 1967, after being attacked by their neighbors on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, acquired Gaza, The Sinai from Egypt, and The Golan Heights from Jordan. During WW1 Italy acquired The Auosta Valley from France and to this day it has not been given back to France. Is it occupied? The US acquired Texas from Mexico during the Mexican-America n war...is it occupied?
Further, with the hope of exchanging land for peace Israel returned the Sinai desert to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Jordan. Egypt and Jordan have kept their word and not further attacked Israel. But Gaza is a different story. Israel returned Gaza in 2005 with the hope of peace. But Israel has been continually bombarded by rockets since that fateful day. If Gazans want peace they must find the courage to organize resistance to the Islamic militants that make up Hamas and Hezballah....th ey need to realize that it's not Israel who is the aggressor but Hamas/Hezbollah who keep launching rockets with the hope that the more Gazan blood that is shed the world will blame Israel.
So far Israel has taken the bait. If there is another way to respond to secret invasion tunnels set up by Hamas and rockets sent to kill Israelis and wipe it off the face of the map, I wish all the Israeli critics would share their defense ideas. Gazans want the same peace as the Israelis but are both used by Hezbollah to further their radical agenda.
 
 
+2 # Activista 2014-08-03 12:33
"Israel, in 1967, after being attacked by their neighbors on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, acquired Gaza..."
1967 war was STARTED by Israel ...
The Six Day War Sparked Forty Years of Strife - History Net
www.historynet.com/the-six-day-war-sparked-forty-years-of-...
History Net
Aug 16, 2009 - Israel's 1967 surprise attack obliterated the Arab forces arrayed against it, ... The truth is Israel started the war and it was not a defensive one ...
Israel's attack on Egypt in June '67 was not 'preemptive ...
www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/.../israels-attack-on-egypt-in-june-67-wa...
by Jeremy Hammond - Jul 4, 2010 - It is often claimed that Israel's attack on Egypt that began the June 1967 “Six Day War” was a “preemptive” one. Implicit in that... etc.
look at shrinking map of Palestine why Israel started the war - it was war of choice ...
 
 
+2 # Activista 2014-08-03 12:34
"Are you in favor of giving back most of the occupied territories?

Yes. The majority of Israelis are. I'm not a fringe, isolated opinion. More and more people realize we cannot have peace and occupation or peace and settlement. We have to opt for one or the other. We realize that, as dramatic as it may be, the only possible way to go ahead with the peace plan is the end of occupation and the evacuation of most settlements. All the questions of security — that will be the aftermath, that will be the result of peace. We can not put it as a precondition these days."
www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2011/05/10/a-conversation-with-israeli-peace-activist-yael-dayan-daughter-of-moshe-dayan
 
 
+5 # unitedwestand 2014-08-03 12:33
My sympathies go out to this thoughtful young man, he sounds way older than his years. Would anyone in the free world be able to tolerate the kinds of restrictions that the Gazans were placed under, without scheming and planning on how to undo the oppressors? What choice would you have other than building secret tunnels to be able to go from one place to another safely, or to transport food that has restricted to basic survival amounts.

I think that Israelis think that in a war only their side gets to control and destroy what they want. Rocks are way more dangerous than sophisticated missiles and U.S. financed domes.

The other day, I encountered an Israeli women visiting the U.S. and she mentioned how "precious" every Israeli soldier's life was. I answered: "And Palestinian children's lives are not?" She looked shocked that I might have that thought at all.
 
 
+3 # Activista 2014-08-03 12:35
"Are you in favor of giving back most of the occupied territories?

Yes. The majority of Israelis are. I'm not a fringe, isolated opinion. More and more people realize we cannot have peace and occupation or peace and settlement. We have to opt for one or the other. We realize that, as dramatic as it may be, the only possible way to go ahead with the peace plan is the end of occupation and the evacuation of most settlements. All the questions of security — that will be the aftermath, that will be the result of peace. We can not put it as a precondition these days."
www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2011/05/10/a-conversation-with-israeli-peace-activist-yael-dayan-daughter-of-moshe-dayan
 

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