UN: 70% of Palestinian Youth Oppose Violence to Resolve Conflict With Israel

Study of 1,200 Palestinians finds 80 percent of youth in West Bank and Gaza depressed due to situation.

Nearly 70 percent of Palestinian young adults believe the use of violence to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not very helpful, according to a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) study released Tuesday.

Only 8 percent believe violence is an important tool, the study, based on interviews with 1,200 Palestinians over the age of 17 in the West Bank and Gaza.

The study also found out that more than 80 percent of young Palestinians are depressed, and 47 percent identify themselves as Muslim rather than Palestinian.

It found that 39 percent were "extremely" depressed and 42 percent were depressed by their conditions. Depression was more marked in the Gaza Strip where 55 per cent said they were "extremely" depressed.

When asked to define their identity, 47 percent identified themselves as Muslims, 28 per cent as Palestinians, 14 percent as humans and 10 per cent as Arabs.

"Young people are exceptionally vulnerable in a conflict situation. They are more likely to be injured, arrested or sucked into harmful situations," said Jens Toyberg-Frandzen, special representative for UNDP's Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People.

"At UNDP we have always understood that you cannot develop an economy or a nation without developing its youth, particularly when the economic and political environment appears to offer limited hope," he said.

Unemployment rates for Palestinian youth range from 35 percent in the West Bank to 51 percent in Gaza, said UNDP.

The survey of attitudes of Palestinian youth was part of a report commissioned by the UNDP and presented to a workshop designed to plan a strategy for youth development for the Palestinian Authority.