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Fatah official: Turkey expected to donate $10 million to reconstruct homes in Gaza

Aug. 30, 2017 4:09 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 30, 2017 4:33 P.M.)
A Palestinian boy rides his bicycle July 3, 2015, past the rubble of buildings destroyed during the 50-day war in the summer of 2014 in the Beit Hanun, northern Gaza Strip (AFP, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Turkish government is expected to provide the besieged Gaza Strip with a $10 million grant in order to reconstruct hundreds of homes that remain destroyed owing to Israeli military offensives on the small coastal enclave.

Azam al-Ahmad, member of the Fatah Central Committee, said during an interview with state-run Voice of Palestine on Wednesday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would authorize the funds to rebuild 300 homes in the Gaza Strip that had been destroyed by the Israeli army.

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 Israeli limitations put on the import of construction material, as well as the slow disbursement of international funding.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said last month that some 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza have continued to be displaced due to damages from Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza, which left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead, including at least 1,462 civilians, a third of whom were children, according to the United Nations.

NRC added that a little over one-third of the 11,000 homes that were completely demolished during the war have been rebuilt, forcing many Palestinian families to reside in tents since 2014.

According to NRC, 160,000 homes were also partially destroyed during the 51-day army offensive.

Meanwhile, al-Ahmad demanded that Erdogan put pressure on Hamas, the de facto leaders in Gaza, to end the longstanding national conflict between Hamas and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA).

The PA has been the target of fierce condemnation in recent months for advancing policies that have had a devastating effect on the already dire humanitarian situation, in an attempt to wrestle control over the small Palestinian territory from its rival Hamas. Both groups have been embroiled in a more than a decade-long conflict after Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections in 2006.

Al-Ahmad added that a meeting was planned before the end of the year between the Turkish and Palestinian ministerial committees to discuss collaboration between the governments.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also visited the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The UN head demanded that Israel’s decade-long blockade on the territory be lifted, describing life in the besieged coastal enclave as "one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises" he had seen.
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