These young people in Gaza (19 – 24) are studying the English language 9 hours each week. I was invited to sit in their class today to give them an opportunity to speak with a native English speaker.
We talked about many things. They asked me questions about the U.S. and American culture. I asked them questions about Gaza and the Palestinian culture.
After explaining the term “wish” —- I asked each of them what they wish for. They replied:
- End the Israeli occupation of Palestine
- Travel the world
- Good job
- Study in America
- Learn to speak English very well
When class was finished and I was riding in the taxi back to Gaza City, I thought to myself —– “The only wish they have any control over is learning English, which they are very seriously pursuing. All of the other wishes are beyond their control.”
There are very few jobs in Gaza. I read that the unemployment rate for young people their age tops 60%.
Traveling the world is impossible because Israel will not allow them to leave Gaza. Palestinian men and boys under the age of 40 rarely get permission to leave Gaza. The Gaza Strip is their prison in every sense of the word.
Studying in America is wishful thinking. It might come true for a few but I wonder if the U.S. State Department approves Visas for Palestinians from Gaza since my country has cut off diplomatic relations with Hamas.
And these young people are probably the third or fourth generation to grow up under occupation. Israel has occupied their land for 65 years! When will this occupation end?
That’s my wish too.