Child Labor in Gaza

by annelaurenceb on November 12, 2014 - 11:38pm

In an article published in August 2014 in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs called "Under Israeli Siege, Gaza's Children Must Work Lest Their Families Starve", the subject of child labor in Gaza, Palestine is explored. Considering the current political situation with Israel, there are many restrictions in Gaza which brought lower standards for quality of life, such as the amount of food that can enter Gaza.

As a result of these policies, the children of Gaza must then work for their families’ survival. Even though there are Palestinian laws concerning child labor and that they are not supposed to work if the job has a high-risk level, they can’t be followed in the actual political and economic situation of Gaza. For example, Wael Mashrawi, who is 13 years old, has to work to support and feed his family (which contains 12 younger brothers) and because he is the oldest, he is the one who had to drop out of school and work twelve hours per day to earn about 9 cents per hour. Even though his conditions are horrible and he had no other option than work, he must continue to support his family that way.

Tens of thousands of children now need to work there to support their families, which brings up the question: "Is it ethical for children such as Wael Mashrawi to drop out and school and work in order to support their families which are in bad economic situations?" In conclusion, on a more general level, another ethical question, which is "When, if ever, is child labor ethical?" would be interesting to consider thinking about.

Here is a link to the article:


Hi Anne,

I will be commenting on your post for a class of mine. This assignment includes proposing a mental health connection a post that seemingly has none. I believe that the connection to mental health has to do with the environment these children are in. (When I say environment, I am talking about that part of the causal chain). The causal chain is about the thoughts and feelings of an individual, how an environment affects them, and the behavior they express. Due to Hamas, and their offensive against Israel, the population of Gaza is put in a tricky situation. Hamas is making Gaza their own missile storage space, and Israel is forced to defend itself. They are caught in the middle of something terrible, and as such, they must do what they can to survive. The environment they are in influences their thoughts and feelings, and when it comes to survival, the former is much more powerful. Psychologically, the behavior they express would be one much more numb than once Hamas is destroyed. Once the terrorists leave Gaza alone, things like education will never be thrown away, as survival would not be as much an issue as before. However, the lasting affect of all this? Probably PTSD and/or dissociation. The environment is the cause of all this.

I propose that Hamas cease to exist, as all this would never have happened. There would be less threats to mental health and safety in general.

Hi Anne,

I am commenting on this article for a mental health class. I am supposed to connect an article to mental health. I feel that child labor in general is something that is off limits. You can't make a children work in hazardous conditions where they can severely damage their health or even die. Although, children in Gaza work to provide for their family. Some families have only one choice to live; make their children work. The problem is that children are vulnerable, it could lead to stress. Other than living in Gaza and feeling fear everyday, you go to your job and work for 12 hours. That could easily get an adult stressed, imagine a 13 year old child. That will lead him to get GAS (General adaptation disorder), which is the body's short-term and long-term reaction to stress. The children there are not getting the eduction they should be getting from whatever reason. Nations around the world should be more aware of what is happening to the children of Gaza, they are the next generation. If this generation grows up in these conditions, with no education, and with the mind-set they have, it might be even worse than it is now. I thank you for posting this article because child labor is a problem nowadays and it needs to stop.

Thank you,
Fadel Sultan

I agree with you that it’s sad that poor child labor laws get unlooked in these countries. It’s terrible to see this kids in poor conditions for little pay to support their families. I liked how you used the example of Wael Mashrawi to show what really what kids go through when they work in these poor countries. This post made me think about if there are any corrupted child labor laws in America. If you want a way to improve our essay is you could maybe talk about if there are any ways that these countries are trying to improve child labor laws now their exposed through this article.