Geopolitics

As young Gazans die at sea, anger rises over leaders’ travel

January 6, 2023
FILE, Mourners gather around the coffins of four out of eight Palestinian migrants who died off the Tunisian coast, during their funeral at a mosque in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. As a rising number of Gazans are drowning in the sea en route to a better life in Europe, Gaza's Hamas rulers are moving to comfortable life in upscale Middle East hotels, prompted a rare outpouring of anger at home, where the economy collapses and 2.3 million people remain effectively trapped in the tiny, conflict-scarred territory. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)
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FILE, Mourners gather around the coffins of four out of eight Palestinian migrants who died off the Tunisian coast, during their funeral at a mosque in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. As a rising number of Gazans are drowning in the sea en route to a better life in Europe, Gaza’s Hamas rulers are moving to comfortable life in upscale Middle East hotels, prompted a rare outpouring of anger at home, where the economy collapses and 2.3 million people remain effectively trapped in the tiny, conflict-scarred territory. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Khaled Shurrab had been waiting more than half his life to get out of Gaza.

The 27-year-old had never left the coastal enclave, which has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt since 2007. He couldn’t find a job — the territory’s youth unemployment rate is over 60%. Like a growing number of Gazans, he packed his life into a suitcase and eventually made it to Turkey, where he set out on a treacherous sea voyage to Greece last October. When his rickety boat went down, his body disappeared into the sea.

A rising number of Gazans, seeking better lives abroad, are drowning at sea. The devastating procession has prompted a rare outpouring of anger against the territory’s militant Hamas rulers, a number of whom are making their own — very different — exodus.

In recent months, high-profile Hamas officials have quietly decamped to upscale hotels in Beirut, Doha and Istanbul, stirring resentment among residents who see them as leading luxurious lives abroad while the economy collapses at home and 2.3 million Gazans remain effectively trapped in the tiny, conflict-scarred territory. Four wars against Israel and dozens of smaller skirmishes over the years have taken their toll in casualties, damage and isolation.

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