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PA announces creation of 4,000 short-term employment opportunities in Gaza

May 22, 2016 7:50 P.M. (Updated: May 23, 2016 1:46 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Labor said on Sunday that the government had opened applications for 4,000 three-month jobs as the first phase of a project to employ 10,000 youths in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Labor Minister Mamun Abu Shahla said in a press conference in Gaza that the program aimed "to empower youths and graduates of both genders to give them the needed knowledge, skills, and expertise to immerse themselves in the Palestinian market."

Abu Shahla said that the temporary jobs would target the sectors of health, education, municipal administration, and construction, adding that candidates would be chosen based on their qualifications, age, marital status, and the percentage of unemployment in their district of residence.

The minister attributed the staggering unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip -- estimated by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) to represent a staggering 41 percent of the working age population in 2015 -- to suffering caused by the crippling Israeli siege on the small Palestinian territory, the closures of crossings, and repeated conflicts, noting that unemployment was likely to increase if the siege continues.

Abu Shahla said that Gaza residents between the ages of 20 and 34 faced the highest level of unemployment at 45 percent.

Unemployment has been one of the most worrying issues in Gaza under the nearly nine-year Israeli blockade, with trade unions in the blockaded Palestinian territory estimating that the unemployment rate was in fact closer to 60 percent.

In February, the Association Of Women’s Work Committees said the unemployment of women in Gaza had reached "astronomical" levels at 63.3 percent.

The UN has warned that unless current trends are altered, Gaza could become uninhabitable for residents by 2020.
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