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Half of homes destroyed in 2014 Gaza war still not rebuilt, local group says

July 30, 2017 9:04 P.M. (Updated: July 30, 2017 10:51 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Some 4,000 housing units have yet to be rebuilt in the besieged Gaza Strip three years after the devastating 2014 conflict with Israel, the head of the popular committee against the siege said on Sunday.

Jamal al-Khudari said that only half of the 11,000 homes destroyed during the war had been rebuilt, adding that work had yet to start on 4,000 units, while 1,500 more housing units needed additional construction.

He attributed the slow reconstruction process in large part to Israeli obstacles to important construction materials into the Gaza Strip, and also pointed at the slow disbursement of aid promised by international donors during the Cairo funders conference following the war.

Al-Khudari called on funders to fulfill their ethical and legal commitment to the Palestinians still homeless three years on, and stressed the necessity of lifting Israel’s decade-long siege of Gaza to lessen the humanitarian crisis in the besieged coastal enclave.

Three Israeli offensives since 2008 have caused extensive damage to Gaza’s water, sanitation, energy, and medical infrastructure, and destroyed thousands of homes, whose reconstruction has been seriously stalled by the Israeli limitations put on the import of material, as well as the slow disbursement of international funding.

Israel has also maintained stringent restrictions on goods allowed inside Gaza as part of its blockade, arguing that construction material such as cement could be used by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups for military purposes.

As of August 2016, some 50 percent of the buildings that were completely destroyed during the devastating 2014 war were still awaiting reconstruction, while an April 2016 UN report estimated that 75,000 Palestinians were still homeless nearly two years after the latest war.

Earlier this month, United Nations Coordinator for humanitarian aid and development activities in the occupied Palestinian territory Robert Piper told Ma’an that the international community needed “to move fast” to stave off an already dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, five years after the UN warned that the small Palestinian territory would be “unlivable” by 2020.
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