For the children of Gaza, prisoners of the narrow coastal strip surrounded by the Israeli Army, the outside world is nothing but fury, violence and tragedy – a menacing universe that they fear. Most of Gaza’s minors – 840,000 out of a population of 1.4 million – have never left their narrow piece of land stretched out on the Mediterranean coast, access to which is strictly controlled by Israel.
They grow up in frustration, anguish, anger and poverty.
Bassam Nasser, 37, director of the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution, was one of the rare Palestinians in Gaza allowed to study at a university in Tel Aviv.
“My generation knows Israel because we used to work in Israel, so we are ready to make peace,” he said. “We know Israelis are human beings.” “I remember Israelis visiting Gaza in the 1970s to have their cars fixed, or to buy furniture because it’s cheaper here. And I remember my friends working summer jobs in Israel.”
“The kids today never see Israelis as human beings. All they see are soldiers, in tanks or helicopters. For them, they are just killing machines.
“They are surrounded by violence, human rights violations, poverty. Put all this in a big box, close it, shake it up and imagine what kind of new generation is growing up here,” he said.