Israel impedes reconstruction in Gaza: Palestinian official


A senior Palestinian official has accused Israel of impeding the process of reconstruction in the besieged Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Hamas.

Naji Sarhan, undersecretary of the ministry of housing and public works, told a news conference in Gaza city that the reconstruction plan “is going very slowly”, and Israel is “fully responsible”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Palestinian side had earlier accused Israel of not showing any commitment to reconstructing what had been destroyed in an offensive by Israel in May.

On May 10, Israel and Hamas engaged in an 11-day large-scale aerial offensive on the Gaza Strip.

During the conflict, more than 250 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

The wave of conflict ended after Egypt brokered a ceasefire agreement between the Hamas-led militants and Israel on May 21.

According to the official figures, around 1,800 housing units in the Gaza Strip were destroyed, and 16,800 units had been damaged during the 11-day attack.

“Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip, home of more than 2 million Palestinians, exacerbated the humanitarian, economic and social crises,” Sarhan said, adding that the latest wave of tension caused a direct loss of $420 million.

“Qatar and Egypt have pledged a financial grant of $500 million each for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip,” Sarhan said, adding that Germany donated $9 million and other states donated $20 million.

After the conflict, Egypt sent engineers, construction equipment, and Egyptian workers to help remove the rubble of the destroyed buildings. But Israel tried to ban the shipment of raw materials to Gaza “to pressure Hamas to lessen its demands for reaching a permanent truce agreement. But under international pressure, Israel allowed the shipment of all materials for the first time in years”, Sarhan told Xinhua in November.

The progress of Gaza’s reconstruction, which may last for several months, depends on the political situation and field conditions, he added.



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