These songbirds come with a price tag in Gaza. 16 year old Hamza
catches them for a living. He had to leave school at the age of nine to make money as his father couldn't afford to send him to school.>> I wake up in the morning. I carry my sticks and a cage then go hunting.
I come here and set my net to catch some birds, which I sell to buy food to eat.>> He can make $30 for a gold finch in the market, but has only ever caught one, so has had to make do with lesser catches.>> This bird you see here, I sell for between 27 and 54 cents,
>> His spot for finding the songbirds, Gaza's airport. Here he sits in the VIP lounge. It once hosted Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela and was a symbol of hope for Palestinians, but is now deserted land. Israel destroyed the runway, deeming it a security threat in the wake of the second Palestinian uprising in between the years 2000 and 2005.
Israel has since maintained tight control of Gaza's borders which it says is to stop weapons from entering the strip, and to isolate the Islamist group Hamas, while Egypt controls access from the South. A recent World Bank report said Gaza's economy was collapsing due to war, isolation, and internal division.
And with unemployment at 70%, it's hard for Hamza to break out through bird catching. But for now he says he dreams that the airport would reopen so he could find a ticket out or a way back to school.