Earlier this month Yehya Karaja, a homeless Palestinian living in Gaza City who set himself on fire in September near a crowded public park in an apparent protest over dire living conditions, died from his wounds. He was 26.
“We are stones standing in front of bullets”. That’s how 21-year-old Razan al-Najjar explained the situation to Mersiha Gadzo and Anas Jnena in April regarding the unarmed Palestinian demonstrators on the ground facing Israeli snipers from across the fence. Al-Najjar also told them that an Israeli soldier had threatened to kill her if she continued aiding protesters. “Soldiers tried to kill me so many times,” Razan explained. “I received some information that I’m targeted by the Israeli army and that I have to stay away from the field because of my activities [tending to the injured] but I ignore all of that.”
Young people in Gaza are at the end of their rope spiritually after three wars and 10 years of blockade. They want to find a sliver of hope in the news that the Hamas government is in talks with the Fatah faction in the West Bank, possibly ending Hamas’s isolation in global affairs.
The Palestine News Network announced this week that the suicide rate in the Occupied Territories jumped 68.4 percent last year. In Gaza, Al-Shifa Hospital said that at least one person attempted suicide every day. Gaza writer Anas Jnena shares one story of an attempted suicide in the besieged Gaza Strip that helps sheds light on the statistics.