The NSDL organized in cooperation with the Catholic Relief Services a public meeting on ” the graduates’ issue between facts and challenges”. The meeting was held in Wednesday morning 31/10/2007 at the conference hall in Al-Quds Open University in Rafah Governorate. The presence comprised Dr. Muhammad Zaidan the director of Al-Quds Open University branch in Rafah, Dr. Salah Abu Khatleh the professor of political sciences, Ibraheem Moammer the head of board of directors of the NSDL, and Ahmad Abu Assaker the executive manager of the NSDL; in addition to the audience who comprised a great number of youths and university students.

The project coordinator Younis Abu Lebdah opened the meeting. He clarified that this meeting is a string of a chian of workshops and public meetings in the context of the project “building youth leadership in Palestine, which aims to enhancing the youth participation and raising their awareness concerning their rights and duties.

In his word, Mr. Ibraheem Moammar deemed it important that youth assume their role in society, for they are the underpinning of the process of construction and advancement and the productive society is the society who seeks to developing the capabilities of his youth. He considered the draduates’ issue one of the most serious issues that has become a source of suffering to graduates and their families, particularly under the current hard circumstances from which the Palestinian society is suffering. He emphasised on the role of the civil society institutions in pushing the youth issues to surface, particularly the graduates. He affirmed that the International Declaration of Human Rights, which came across all the human being’s rights, guarantees the youth freedoms. He also added that youths have duties as well as rights, and they should know how to use their rights and demand the realization of these tights by peaceful and democratic means.

On his part, Dr. Muhammad Zaidan talked about the Palestinian’s procession from infancy, childhood, and through the stage in which s/he begins to imagine his/her future through ambitions and dreams, until joining the university and then graduation, after which the graduates dreams clashes with the bitter reality of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. He considered the persistence of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip as a nightmare that chases the dreams and ambitions of the Gazan youths. He talked about the suffering of the graduates in their straitenedness for job opportunities and the hard economic situation in which the graduate and his family are living. Zaidan called upon the officials to not to tackle the graduates’ problems as any other case of unemployment, as they are key elements of building the homeland. He appealed to the Palestinian authority to intervene and coordinate with the Arab states in order to open labour markets for graduates. He considered the persistence of the state of unemployment as a time bomb inside the Palestinian society that we must defuse.

On his part, Dr. Salah Abu Khatleh exposed in his word the crisis of graduates unemployment since the coming of the Palestinian Authority, he consider that the Palestinian Authority received many graduates in its institutions and security apparatuses, but the crisis returned to appear to surface with the absence of any hope for a better future for youth. He stated that the crisis has returned with the bursting of Al-Aqsa rise-up in 2001, which led to the closure of labour market in Israel. The crisis exacerbated by not accepting the graduates in the Arab neighbour states; in addition to the absence of any strategies that direct the educational process to technical and professional training that conforms to the needs of the labour market. He emphasized that the persistence of the political partition in the Palestinian political system will exacerbates the hardships and renders the future completely ambiguous. The youth audience in their comments revealed their thanks and appreciation to those who organized the meeting, demanding the persistence of such meetings that help in guiding the youths and stimulate their problems.

The participants recommended the following :

1- adopting the principle of early retiredness to make space to the new graduates.

2- The Palestinian Authority should work for opening labour markets in the neighbour countries.

3- The official should adopt a realistic vision in tackling with the graduates’ issue.

4- Rejecting nepotism and favorism in employment.

5- Appealing to the Palestinian Authority and its institutions to car for graduates and help them to overcome the hardships of live.