Coerced migration mobility under siege in Gaza

Caitlin Procter

This article, based on field research conducted between 2018 and 2019 centres the role of Israeli state coercion in the migration of young Palestinians from Gaza. In recent years, migration from Gaza has been described by journalists and policy analysts as an ‘emerging phenomenon’, with many Palestinians leaving with the intention to seek asylum in Europe and beyond. In this article, I map existing data on international migration from Gaza, which has been under siege since 2007. I then draw from qualitative data gathered during fieldwork in Gaza to explain how migration in a context of a siege can best be understood. I apply a framework of coercion to explain the migration decisions of young people in Gaza, arguing that the siege has created an environment so coercive that it forces them to leave, while limiting them primarily to dangerous routes in doing so. Circumstances for leaving remain key to accessing international protection regimes. This article therefore contributes to the current debate of definitions and ways of understanding migration, in the context of Gaza.