July 16, 2024

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Israeli air strikes hit Gaza City and reports of casualties: Latest news

Israeli air strikes hit Gaza City and reports of casualties: Latest news
A UN-run school in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, in May. Most of these schools are now being used as shelters.credit…Haitham Emad/EPA, via Shutterstock

Karim Al-Masry was supposed to begin his final exams on Saturday morning, a few weeks before his graduation. Instead, he spent his mornings filling bags of water to freeze them into ice, which he sold to support his family.

“I should have been studying and preparing for my final exams,” said Mr. Al-Masry, 18. But more than eight months into the war, “I spend my days working to support my family so they can adapt to the war.” Situation.”

Al-Masry was one of about 39,000 students in Gaza who were unable to take their final high school exams scheduled to begin on Saturday across the Palestinian territories and Jordan, and who will not be able to graduate, according to Palestinian Education. Ministry.

The war has devastated Gaza’s education system, which was already reeling after several wars and escalations since 2008. There are at least 625,000 children deprived of education in Gaza, according to UNRWA, the UN agency that helps the Palestinians, with schools closed since the war began. In October, just over a month into the school year.

UNRWA, which runs several schools in the Gaza Strip, says more than 76 percent of schools in Gaza will need major rebuilding or rehabilitation to be able to operate after the Israeli attack that lasted several months. The majority of these schools have been used as shelters to house many displaced families in Gaza, most of whom live in miserable conditions.

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Al-Masry said he dreamed of studying information technology at the Islamic University of Gaza or the University College of Applied Sciences, both of which were destroyed by Israeli bombing. All 12 of Gaza’s universities were severely damaged or destroyed by the fighting, according to the United Nations.

Instead of pinning his hopes on returning to school and graduating, he said the war has changed his priorities, and he now focuses on working to continue supporting his family. While selling ice in his hometown of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, Mr. Masri said he would often walk past his school, where “classrooms had turned into shelters,” and when he peeked inside, he would be “filled with agony.” “

Islam Al-Najjar, 18, who was supposed to take her first final exam on Saturday, said that her school in Deir al-Balah, to which many Gazans fled because of the Israeli attack on Rafah, had also been turned into a shelter.

“I cannot imagine returning to see my school, the place where we learn, turned into a shelter full of displaced people living in miserable conditions,” she said.

“When we come back, we will not see the same faces,” she said, referring to her classmate, teachers and principal who were killed during the war.

Mrs. Al-Najjar remains optimistic about the possibility of returning to school and graduating. Despite “the many obstacles to everything she wants to achieve in Gaza,” she said she dreams of studying abroad and has set her sights on Harvard or Oxford University to study business administration.

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“I was very excited for the final year of my studies and to start a new chapter,” said Ms. Al-Najjar, the eldest in her family, who was planning her graduation celebrations before the war began. But of course the war stopped everything.”

Why does the spring of our lives coincide with the fall of our country? Mrs. Al-Najjar said. “Is it our fault that we dared to dream?”

Abu Bakr Bashir He contributed reporting from London.