altA taxi driver or a doctor? A question that has come to my mind right after I noticed ,by coincidence, Ali, 31 years-old, from the Gaza Strip refugee camp of Maghazi, while parking a taxi he was driving near a taxi park in Gaza City.

Ali was searching for passengers to carry them back to the Maghazi refugee camp , about 12 kilometers away from the Gaza City.

Surprised about what I saw, I took the opportunity and got in Ali’s car back to Maghazi, where we both were born and raised in the same neighborhood. During the journey to Maghazi, my tongue could not utter the word [doctor], that I used to call Ali with as I felt he would be embarrassed in front of his ‘odd’ patients.

I remained silent until all the other passengers got out of the taxi in the nearby refugee camp of Alburaij, then I began to talk with Ali, wondering about his new image, which I have never thought I would see one day.

‘Actually my neighbor, I have been unemployed since I have graduated from a Russian university as a general practitioner in 2000. I have used to work temporarily over the past years. Yet, my financial responsibilities got bigger than before as I got married and had a child but still no real work yet’, Ali told me.

Ali went onto saying, with sighs of bitterness, that due to being unemployed along the past years, in which he hasn’t given up looking for a suitable job in any governmental, UN-based or private hospitals, he had to work as a driver eventually.

‘What to do? Should I beg people for money or to stay idle at home?, Who will bring my baby the milk he needs?’, Ali questioned with more sighs coming out hardly from his mouth.

Dr. Ali voiced the hope that the latest unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as well as the Palestinian elections would create new job opportunities for him and for dozens of thousands of other graduates.

When we arrived at my destination I got out of the taxi, saying good bye neighbor and praising such a courageous move, but blaming such harsh economic conditions that lead such doctors to do jobs that would have saved much more money, time and effort.

Dr. driver is one of many other Palestinian doctors who have been graduated from different worldwide universities, graduates who have been steadily accumulated in the Strip with no openings in the horizon.

According to latest figures by the Washington-based World Bank, the prolonged Israeli closures of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have contributed to severely depressed economy, creating a crisis, where half of the Palestinian population lives in poverty.

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