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Wednesday Sept. 26, 2012 1:51 PM (EST+7)
Spate of Gaza suicides raises red flags
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RAMALLAH, September 26 (JMCC) - After seven suicides were reported in the Gaza Strip in two months, Al-Akhbar looks into the circumstances surrounding the deaths. Residents say that the absence of economic opportunities for young people is creating despair.
EnlargeNumerous broken dialysis machines at Gaza's Shifa hospital mean that kidney patients do not receive the dialysis that they need. (WHO)

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Churchill White Paper
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Poll No. 14, March 1996 - On Attitudes of East Jerusalemites on the Recent Hamas Bombings
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“Health Funds to Take Responsibility for Mental Health Services,” Jerusalem Post, July 2, 2007.
The Palestinian Counseling Center official website
UNICEF Occupied Palestinian territory website

Al-Akhbar examined several of the suicide cases and found many factors that could have contributed to these young men, mostly between the ages of 16 and 25, deciding to end their lives.
"He asked me to forgive him for not being able to provide for us.”
Their families, neighbors and friends are in a state of severe shock. They reject rumors that the youths who killed themselves had mental disorders and had tried to commit suicide more than once. The parents instead insist that their children were living a socially normal life.

It is worth noting that all those who committed suicide performed their religious duties regularly.

18-year-old Ehab Abu Nada wanted to send a message to officials in Fatah and Hamas by setting himself on fire in order to draw attention to the despair afflicting young people. His brother, Nour, insists Ehab did not intend to kill himself.

“Lighting himself on fire at the gate of al-Shifaa Hospital clearly shows that he knew what he was doing and that he did not intend to die,” he said. “After setting himself on fire he went quickly to the clinic to get help.”

Ehab’s father, Sufian, says that his son prayed, fasted and was loved by his family and friends, but that difficult living conditions led him to commit suicide.

Ehab was a good student, his father said. He lived with his parents, four brothers and one sister in an old house consisting of two small rooms.

Sufian worked in one of the security agencies belonging to Salam Fayyad’s government, but his salary was barely enough to feed the family and provide for the children’s daily needs, let alone the rent they owed on the house.

Eventually, Sufian said he had to leave work due to his diabetes, so Ehab decided to quit school and get a job to help support the family. Despite his persistence in looking for a job, the only work Ehab found was selling potato chips in the street. Over time he tried many jobs, including working as a dishwasher in a restaurant, but the family’s situation did not improve.

Finally, Ehab decided to work in the smuggling tunnels that connect the Gaza Strip to the Sinai, despite the danger of the work. He was supposed to be paid 100 Shekels ($25.59) a day for four 18 hour days in a row.

On the fifth day he discovered that the tunnel owner did not intend to pay him. His family said he returned home looking as if he carried the weight of the world on his young shoulders.

His mother tried to console him, but he would not utter a word.

“He was late so I called to see where he was,” his mother said, the heartbreak clear in her voice. “When he answered he said that he was tired and that he was going to another world, away from Gaza. He asked me to forgive him for not being able to provide for us.”

The story of Gomaa Ourouk,19 years old, is equally tragic.

His body was discovered on the roof of the house with a rope around his neck by his aunt who was coming up to feed the pigeons they raise. Her screams echoed through the neighborhood.

Gomaa’s mother was inconsolable, unwilling to believe that her son, who was known for his sense of humor, would kill himself just a month before he was supposed to wed his fiancee.

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Numerous broken dialysis machines at Gaza's Shifa hospital mean that kidney patients do not receive the dialysis that they need. (WHO)

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