Gazans sign up for jobs in post-Gaddafi Libya

Reuters , Monday 24 Oct 2011

Five thousand unemployed Palestinians register at a trade union office in Gaza for jobs in Libya, hoping the country's reconstruction will afford them with opportunities for work

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Celebrations for the liberation of Libya in Quiche, Benghazi October 23, 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

Some 5,000 unemployed Palestinians have registered over the past week at a Gaza trade union office for jobs they hope will materialise in post-Gaddafi Libya, local labour officials said on Monday.

UN figures put unemployment in the Gaza Strip, a sliver of territory run by the Islamist group Hamas and blockaded by Israel, at 45 percent. "They told us there is a registration for job opportunities in Libya so I came to register like other people," said Ashraf Abu Halloub, 25, a farmer, at the office of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions.

Hundreds of Palestinians who worked in Libya returned to the Palestinian territories after the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi's 42 years of one-man rule erupted in February. Now, many in the Gaza Strip hope Gaddafi's death last week will lead to stability in Libya and the launching of reconstruction projects in which they can take part.

Umm Ashraf, a 50-year-old woman, said she had come to the trade union office to renew her medical insurance but had also taken the opportunity to register her husband for any future jobs in Libya. "He used to work in Israel and now he is unemployed," she said.

Tens of thousands of people in the Gaza Strip worked in Israel before a Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000. "I set no conditions over what kind of work it will be, I just hope there will be jobs," said 49-year-old taxi driver Sami Abu Sitta, who registered at the office on Monday.

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