News Analysis: Gaza reconstruction plan faces political, economic challenges as winter approaching: analysts

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 17, 2021
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by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly

GAZA, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- The current political and economic complications are blocking the real start of the Arab-funded reconstruction plan in the Gaza Strip, which had been severely destroyed during the 11-day conflict with Israel in May, Palestinian analysts warned.

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 days.

Gaza officials warned that the delayed disbursement of the donated money for reconstruction and the current political tensions between Hamas and Israel "are blocking the actual and real start of reconstruction."

Meanwhile, Palestinian activists explained that delaying the reconstruction plan, especially the reconstruction of destroyed homes, would cause more suffering of the people, especially in winter.

Naji Sarhan, undersecretary of the Hamas-run Ministry of Public Works and Housing in the Gaza Strip, told Xinhua that his ministry has completed the process of removing the rubble scattered in the Gaza Strip with Egyptian support, adding that the technical plans and the labor force for reconstruction are ready.

After the conflict ended, Egypt, which has pledged a grant of 500 million U.S. dollars for the reconstruction plan, sent engineers, construction equipment, and Egyptian workers to help remove the rubble of the destroyed buildings.

Sarhan said that after the tensions ended, 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."

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

"There is no guarantee for the shipment of construction materials to Gaza, despite the fact that the movement of the commercial crossing is better than before," Sarhan said.

He added that the real dilemma remains regarding the arrival of the funds to the Gaza Strip due to the donors' lack of confidence in the political situation between Israel and Hamas.

"No one would accept to put their donated money at risk, especially if another wave of conflicts would erupt between Israel and the Palestinians," Sarhan said.

Salama Ma'rouf, head of the Hamas-run government press office, told Xinhua that the reconstruction plan has become the primary concern among all parties in the Gaza Strip, as hundreds of homes and buildings haven't been built yet.

He said that there is an urgent demand made by all parties in Gaza "to speed up starting the reconstruction plan amid the current state of large destruction, mainly for the infrastructure, while the suffering of the people would increase, especially in winter, which is very close."

He warned that any halt or delay of the reconstruction plan "would destabilize the calm along the Gaza Strip's borders with Israel."

Hosni Muhanna, a media official of the Gaza municipality, told Xinhua that the conditions in the Gaza Strip are difficult, as winter is approaching.

Winter is the main challenge for all government agencies in the Gaza Strip, which will lead to a rise in the water level in low-lying areas, he added.

He warned that there are also concerns about the possibility of landslides if the reconstruction delays, adding that the municipality has not received any confirmation about the start of the infrastructure reconstruction in Gaza.

Husam al-Dajni, a Gaza-based political analyst, said that Israel is the primary cause of the crisis in Gaza.

"Ending the 14-year blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip and speeding up the reconstruction plan would be the solution to prevent any military deterioration soon," he told Xinhua. Enditem

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