GAZA CITY - A young Palestinian has died after setting himself on fire in the Gaza Strip in protest at the economic ships in the enclave, which has been under a crippling Israeli blockade.
"He left to seek work and he did not come back, the weeping father of Ehab Abu Nada, told a local radio station, Reuters reported.
My heart was shattered.
The 18-year-old Gazan left his home on Thursday after an argument with his father, who urged him to find work to feed his poor family.
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Frustrated in his job hunt, Abu Nada doused himself in petrol and set himself alight inside Gaza's main Shifa hospital.
"I asked my son to go and look for a job, because I don't have a job and we don't have any source for living, the bereaved father said.
"We live in a miserable condition. We live in a rented house and I hardly can afford the rent.
Hamas police cited unemployment as a possible motive in the young man's death.
Last year, a Gazan man set himself ablaze in despair over his economic hardships, but survived.
Livelihood in the Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million, has badly deteriorated since Israel imposed a crippling siege on the enclave in 2006.
The siege leaves most of Gazans cut off from the outside world and struggling with desperate poverty.
A UN report said last week that poverty stood at 40 percent among Gaza population, of whom 80 percent depended on outside aid.
The report said nearly 30 percent of Gazans were jobless and that eight out of 10 households are dependent on some kind of aid.
Human rights groups blamed the Israeli blockade on the growing frustration in the Gaza Strip.
"This case illustrates so tragically the wider sense of desperation which the blockade has engendered," Chris Gunness, spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA told The Guardian.
"The humanitarian situation in Gaza is becoming increasingly dire, with the prospects of a prosperous and dignified life dwindling with every day."
The situation in Gaza has further deteriorated after Israel launched a three-week deadly offensive in 2009, killing more than 1,400 people and injured thousands and left the strip in tatters.
Overcrowding, lengthy and frequent power cuts, unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation and inadequate medical care are features of daily life in Gaza.
"It is not the first time. In the past there have been several suicides for the reason of economic hardship," said Hamdi Shaqqura of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
"The ongoing chronic closure imposed on the Gaza Strip has had a devastating impact on all aspects of life."
The Palestinian activist opines that the tragic situation was particularly hard for young Gazans."There are thousands and thousands of new graduates in the streets with no hope of finding a job, no hope of travelling abroad and no hope of building careers and lives."
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net