Crisis in the Middle East: Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza City;  The victims are reported

Crisis in the Middle East: Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza City; The victims are reported

Crisis in the Middle East: Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza City;  The victims are reported
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A UN-run school in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, in May. Most of these schools are now used as shelters.Credit…Haitham Imad/EPA, via Shutterstock

Karim al-Masri was due to start his final exams on Saturday morning, a few weeks after graduating. Instead, he spent the morning filling bags of water to freeze into ice, which he sold to support his family.

“I was supposed to study and prepare for final exams,” said al-Masri, 18. But, more than eight months into the war, “I spend my days working to provide for my family to cope with the situation.”

Al-Masri was one of nearly 39,000 Gaza students who failed to take their final high school exams, scheduled for Saturday in the Palestinian territories and Jordan, and who would have failed to graduate, according to Palestine Education. Ministry.

The war has devastated Gaza’s education system, which had already been in difficulty since 2008 after several wars and escalations. According to UNRWA, the United Nations agency that assists the Palestinians, at least 625,000 children have no access to education in Gaza, with schools closed since the war began. in October, just over a month before the start of the school year.

According to UNRWA, which runs many schools in the Gaza Strip, more than 76 percent of Gaza’s schools need reconstruction or major rehabilitation to return to operation after the months-long Israeli offensive. Most of these schools have been used as shelters to house the many displaced families in Gaza, most of whom live in miserable conditions.

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Al-Masri 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. According to the United Nations, all 12 universities in Gaza were severely damaged or destroyed in the fighting.

Instead of pinning his hopes on returning to school and graduating, he said the war changed his priorities, and he is now focused on work to continue supporting his family. While selling ice in her town of Deir al Balah, in central Gaza, al-Masri said she often walked past her school, where “classrooms have turned into shelters,” and when she peeked inside, she was “full of agony . “

Islam al-Najjar, 18, who was due to take his first final exam on Saturday, said his school in Deir al Balah, where many Gazans have fled Israel’s Rafah offensive, had also been turned into a refuge.

“I can’t imagine going back to see my school, a place where we learn, transformed into a shelter full of displaced people living in miserable conditions,” she said.

“When we come back, we won’t see all the same faces,” he said, referring to his classmate, two teachers and his principal, who were killed during the war.

Ms. al-Najjar remains hopeful that she will be able to return to school and graduate. Despite the “many obstacles that stand in the way of everything you want to achieve in Gaza,” she said, she dreams of studying abroad and has her sights set on Harvard University or Oxford University to study economics.

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“I was very excited for my last year of school and the beginning of a new chapter,” said Ms. al-Najjar, the eldest in her family, who had organized her graduation celebrations before the start of war. “But obviously the war stopped everything.”

“Why does the spring of our life coincide with the fall of our country?” Ms. al-Najjar said. “Is it our fault if we dare to dream?”

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