The Desperate Youth Of Gaza

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Whatever path the children of Gaza choose, their lives are affected by war.
CBS

Their world has been blasted to bits - and their options for the future are little better.

Whatever path the children of Gaza choose, their lives are affected by war, reports CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey.

Hamas provides one choice - and despite the fact that their equivalent of a Ph.D. is what they term "martyrdom" -- the latest round of fighting is seen by many as a recruiting tool.

Instead of turning the pages of a book, the fingers of a 22-year-old scoop what he says is C-4 explosive from an Israeli anti-tank mine.

A collection of unexploded Israeli shells, lined up in an olive grove, are the tools of his trade.

The man who collected the shells declined to be interviewed on camera. But he said he hopes to recover up to 250 pounds of high-explosive material from them. And then, as he put it, it will be sent back where it came from.

It will go in Qassam rockets. It's payback, the bombmaker says, for the destruction that has been a part of his life since birth.

Even the Islamic university was pounded by air strikes, putting students' chances of graduating in jeopardy.

"It's clear to us they want to attack every single thing in our life and every place in Gaza in order to destroy the whole community, not only the fighters, but the whole community," said business student Nasser Barakat.

And engineering student Iyad Baqla said: "By being an educated person, it's a gun itself, you know. So I prefer to be holding that gun, the knowledge gun."

The students think that no outsider really understands them - or their school.

Another student, Reem Omran, said: "To be honest I am looking forward to move from here because it's really dangerous to live any more."

Career choices here tend to be influenced by family circumstances and for many, revenge is a more likely path than education.