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How Does It Feel To Be A Palestinian Growing Up In Gaza?


Roughly 2 million Palestinians living inside of Gaza are confined to a strip of land that stretches 25 miles long and anywhere from 3 to 7 miles wide. People are unable to travel outside of the territory, either into Israel or into Egypt, making it difficult for anyone who wishes to start a life elsewhere. To give us an idea of what it is to grow up in Gaza and to be there now, we're joined by Adnan Abu Hasna. Welcome to the program.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're in Gaza City right now, Adnan. Can you give us an idea of how Palestinians are feeling after this very difficult few weeks?

HASNA: Yes. People actually here are very angry. They are very disappointed also. They did not expect that 62 people were killed and nearly 2,500 people injured - some hundreds of them were severely injured. It's adding, you know, more suffering in the Gaza Strip that no electricity is coming only for hours - the undrinkable water. So besides that, you know, the psychological pressure here. And people actually didn't know what to do.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I want to ask you - we saw from the protests last week that many of those who were there were young people. And you've just described these conditions - no electricity, water, no jobs. How are people feeling - the younger generation?

HASNA: There's no tomorrow in Gaza, you know? People who are under 30 - you talk about the young generation - you know, more than 90 percent of them - they're not working. They're jobless. It's very dangerous, especially in this generation, in that age (unintelligible) that are citizens of this war. But actually, in fact, they are not. And because of that, they feel hopeless. And with all respect to all political reasons, you know, I can say that what is going on in Gaza - it's not only politics, but it's also about life, about dreams, about circumstances.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I was told you have two children who don't live with you in Gaza. Can you tell me where they are and when you saw them last?

HASNA: Yes, I have two kids outside Gaza, one of them in Spain and the other in Algiers (ph). And I did not see them for four years. One of them - just today, he called from Spain. And he heard about the Rafah terminal - that it will be open for, you know, one month...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Rafah terminal is the border post between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

HASNA: ...And Gaza Strip, yes. He called me, asking me that, you know, that he'd love to come because of Ramadan month. You know, I told him, look. OK, you can come, but there's no guarantee that you will get out of Gaza forever. There is no guarantee. Who can guarantee that? If they close the terminal, you know, tomorrow morning and, you know, stay for one month or two month, he will lose his job. And the same for my son in Algiers. He's an engineer there. And they said no, we will not come.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: For people who don't understand, the Rafah terminal opens and closes infrequently. You never know exactly when it's going to be opened and closed. And you don't know who will be granted permission to leave or to come in, right? So that makes it very difficult.

HASNA: Yes, it's very difficult for people. And so if you decide to come to Gaza - OK? - it means that you enter the jail.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This is Ramadan. I'd like to say happy Ramadan to you. But this is also, you know, a time of prayer and fasting. How are people feeling this Ramadan?

HASNA: I think it is the most difficult Ramadan month that Gaza ever saw, you know, because of lack of everything, actually. And also, we noticed that it's not like, you know, the years before - that the churches that used to distribute food and iftar during Ramadan you cannot find nowadays in Gaza because of so many things. So I think that it's one of the most difficult months that Gaza ever survived before.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Adnan Abu Hasna is a representative with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine. Thank you very much.

HASNA: Thanks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.