Gaza photographer captures images of desperate isolation

  • Zo’orb Family in their house in Naher Al Bared area of Khan Younis. Poverty and unemployment push people to seek opportunities outside Gaza.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Abdel Rahman Zagout
  • Young men idling in the cold weather in Naher Al Bared, one of the poorest areas in Khan Younis. Unemployment in Gaza has reached 47%.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Abdel Rahman Zagout
  • With few economic opportunities, young Gazans place all their hopes in traveling abroad.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Abdel Rahman Zagout
  • Young men waiting anxiously for the borders to open.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Abdel Rahman Zagout
  • A young man waiting for his turn to cross before the closure of the borders.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Abdel Rahman Zagout
  • People spend long waiting hours at Rafah crossing hoping to be able to exit.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Abdel Rahman Zagout
  • People at Rafah Crossing looking for their luggage to make sure it gets transferred to the Egyptian side once the borders open
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Abdel Rahman Zagout
  • A young Palestinian looking through the fence considered the crossing line between Egypt and the Gaza strip, waiting for the borders to open.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Abdel Rahman Zagout
  • People pushing through with their passports, hoping they will be able to exit. Travelers can never be sure they will be able to exit on a particular day
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Abdel Rahman Zagout
  • Feelings of isolation and hopelessness prevail among Gaza youth.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Abdel Rahman Zagout
24 December 2018

“I am thirty-three years old and I have never been on an airplane,” says Abdel Rahman Zagout, a Palestinian photographer from Gaza. For over ten years, Gaza has been living under severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods that paralyzed its economy.  Almost seventy percent of college graduates are unemployed.

Connected to the world by internet and social media, Gaza youth are separated from it by movement restrictions.  The majority of them feel that suffocating economy of Gaza has little to offer for their future and place their hopes in finding opportunities abroad. For most of the young Gazans, however, travelling remains an unattainable dream.   

Abdel Rahman earned a bachelor’s degree in media from al-Aqsa University in 2008 and has worked as a freelance photojournalist and photography educator for the past ten years. He dedicates his work to documenting bitter realities surrounding daily life in Gaza. The project that won the International Committee of the Red Cross 2018 photo competition tells a story of dreams and hopes shattered by poverty and closure. 

The majority of the photographs were taken at Rafah Crossing that connects Gaza to Egypt. Rafah, that is considered the main gateway out of Gaza, opens only sporadically. Abdel Rahman’s work offers an intimate look at the life of Gaza youth, while his images transmit a feeling of desperate isolation.