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2 years after the 2014 Gaza war, UN agencies call for increased humanitarian funding

Aug. 26, 2016 9:08 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 16, 2016 6:15 P.M.)
destroyed buildings in front of a mosque in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun on August 3, 2014 � AFP Marco Longari, Mahmud Hams
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- As Friday marked two years since the 2014 Gaza war, when at least 1,400 Palestinian civilians were killed -- 60 percent of whom were women and children -- and some 100,000 more made homeless during the devastating Israeli offensive, 16 heads of UN agencies in Palestine released a statement urging an increase of humanitarian aid in order to assist the economy for Gaza's 1.9 million residents.

The UN agencies called for “the uninterrupted and predictable flow of material and increased funding to address humanitarian needs and boost economic prospects for Gaza’s 1.9 million residents.”

The UN agencies described the achievements made in the besieged enclave since the devastating assault, stating that a third of the destroyed homes have been rebuilt and that 79 hospitals and 252 schools which were damaged by Israeli airstrikes have also been completely repaired.

The UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities Robert Piper emphasized the importance of developing the Gaza Strip beyond repairing damages from Israel’s assault, saying that “we must reverse Gaza’s de-development trajectory and address the needs of a population that has gone through three rounds of conflict, nine years of an Israeli blockade and the consequences of the Palestinian internal divide which, combined, have affected every aspect of their daily lives.”

The statement also said that the production sector in Gaza has had a particularly slow recovery, including agriculture, as a result of lack of funding and Israel’s near decade-long siege on the small Palestinian territory, adding that only 40 percent of promised international aid has been disbursed to Gaza as of April this year.

The statement expressed the UN’s concern over the 65,000 Palestinians who are still displaced from the war, living in temporary shelters while continuing to wait for their homes to be rebuilt.

“Accountability for violations of international law by duty bearers on both sides during the war also remains elusive, denying victims and survivors the justice and redress they deserve,” the statement added, while two days ago Israeli authorities exonerated themselves of any wrongdoing in numerous attacks in the 2014 war that left scores of Palestinian civilians killed.

The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas became the de facto ruling party in the territory. Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008.

The UN has warned that the besieged Palestinian territory could become "uninhabitable" by 2020, as its 1.8 million residents remain in dire poverty due to the nearly decade-long Israeli blockade which has crippled the economy.
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