35,000 Arabs departed Gaza Strip in 2018

Thousands are leaving the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.

By World Israel News Staff

It’s estimated that 35,000 people left the Gaza Strip last year.

According to data from U.N.-affiliated organizations, 60,907 Arabs departed the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing into Egypt, of which 37,075 came back. But looking at other sources, Israel estimates the number of departures last year was 35,000. That means that one of every two people who leave Gaza doesn’t return.

This is in keeping with the statistics from the first four months that the Rafah crossing was reopened (May-Sept. 2018) in which 36,000 people left and only 17,000 came back.

Those leaving are reportedly young and better educated. There were 150 doctors among them. Hamas has since banned doctors from leaving the Strip.

The Hamas rulers first saw the opening of its southern border crossing as a way to earn revenue through charging for passports and other fees, Haaretz reports. But it now wants to curb the emigration as its sees its more educated take the opportunity to flee the impoverished, war-torn terror stronghold.

According to the paper, most of those leaving Gaza head to Turkey, where they take boats to Greece in an effort to get to European countries. Germany and Sweden are the preferred countries.

The trip is expensive for the typical Gazan, costing $4,000. The average wage in Gaza is 63 shekels ($17.60) for a day’s work, Haaretz reports.

The paper also reports that economic problems in the Strip has led to a rise in social ills, such as prostitution, hard drug use, and begging.