Reconstruction of Gaza to begin in October after billion dollar pledge | Gaza News
Gaza city – The first phase of the reconstruction process will begin soon in the Gaza Strip, four months after Israel’s murderous offensive.
The reconstruction plan was drawn up by the Gaza Ministry of Public Works and Housing, the Qatar Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza and other international parties.
Naji Sarhan, undersecretary of the ministry of public works, told Al Jazeera that several countries have pledged to contribute to the reconstruction process in Gaza and that work will begin in October.
“Qatar has pledged US $ 500 million to rebuild residential units destroyed in the recent Israeli offensive, where Egypt pledged US $ 500 million which will go to destroyed infrastructure and streets,” he said. .
The 11-day offensive in May, which killed more than 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, was marked by its intensity, targeting civilian homes and infrastructure.
About 2,000 houses were destroyed, in addition to 22,000 other units that were partially damaged, leading to the displacement of tens of thousands of Palestinians. At least four high-rise buildings have been demolished and 74 public structures have been targeted.
According to Sarhan, losses from the recent war are estimated at $ 497 million.
âThe 14-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the Strip has imposed many obstacles on the reconstruction process. Israel bans construction materials at its border crossings, which worsens the living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza, âSarhan said.
The reconstruction agreement has three phases. The first includes the reconstruction of residential houses by the Qatari committee, which will rebuild 1,000 destroyed units, 800 of which suffered partial damage.
According to Sarhan, Egypt will begin the first phase in a few days. Arrangements for the entry of construction material into the Gaza Strip are underway through the Rafah border post.
Kuwait had previously pledged to build the bombed towers in the latest offensive, but the deal has not been officially approved, he said.
“We hope that more donors will join the reconstruction process over the next three months, including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the European Union, and help support the industrial and agricultural sectors in Gaza,” Sarhan said.
Gaza government spokesman Salama Marouf told Al Jazeera that Israel has agreed to lift restrictions on the entry of construction materials into Gaza.
The Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (MRG) is a temporary agreement created by the United Nations and approved by the Palestinian Authority and Israel in September 2014.
The mechanism was designed to address Israeli “security concerns” while allowing the entry of construction materials (aggregates, cement and steel bars only) into the Gaza Strip for use in construction projects.
âThere are a lot of materials banned from entering Gaza because they are on Israel’s ‘dual-use’ list. This list includes many necessary materials such as water pumps, elevators, iron, etc. “Said Marouf.
However, the main obstacle feared by the Gaza Reconstruction Committee is Israel’s blocking of goods despite the deal.
âThis is the major challenge with the continued siege imposed on Gaza. Israel can prohibit the entry of construction materials through its passage at any time, âMarouf said. “We hope that donor organizations and all partners will ensure a stable entry of building materials as agreed.”
The economic cycle in Gaza is at an impasse because it depends entirely on the start of the reconstruction process, added Marouf.
âGaza’s youth unemployment rate stands at 50%, and the reconstruction process would help create employment opportunities, inject money and create a state of stability in the country.
Marouf also warned that any pause or delay in the reconstruction plan would destabilize the current calm in the region.
âIf the pressure continues on Gaza, there will be an impending explosion, the consequences of which will be borne by the Israelis. The situation in the Gaza Strip cannot continue like this.
According to Marouf, if all donors honor their commitments and things go as planned, reconstruction will be completed by the end of 2022.
Hosni Muhanna, head of the Gaza media office, said the municipality warmly welcomes the reconstruction efforts.
âThe infrastructure in Gaza has been badly affected by the Israeli bombing during the latest offensive,â Muhanna said. âTargeting roads, streets, sewer lines and rainwater drainage has resulted in enormous destruction. “
Muhanna said the weather is now a problem as temperatures drop.
âWinter is now a major challenge as it will cause the water level to rise in the lowlands, and there are many destroyed streets in the densely populated areas and vital centers of the city. There are fears of landslides and infrastructure collapses if reconstruction is not accelerated, âhe said.
“Until this moment, we have not received confirmation of the start of the infrastructure works, but we hope that they will start very soon.”