Gaza blockade hinders reconstruction aid
PALESTINE: Most of the property and infrastructure damaged in
Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip was still unrepaired 12 months
later and aid efforts have been largely ineffective, a UN report said
The survey, published by the UN Development Programme, said that much
of the repair work that has been carried out has used materials smuggled
in through tunnels from neighbouring Egypt to circumvent Israeli and
Egyptian blockades. Constrained by those sanctions, the report said,
traditional international aid donors find themselves severely
"Many members of the international community, including the United
Nations, have refrained, thus far, from utilising materials identified
as coming through the tunnels, subsequently limiting their role in
reconstruction," it said. "While some recovery is taking place, the
realities on the ground show that the international community is, by and
large, rendered ineffective in addressing the needs of people in Gaza."
The United Nations says that at least 6,268 homes in the densely
populated and impoverished Palestinian enclave were destroyed or
severely damaged during the fighting between December 27, 2008 and
January 18, 2009.
About 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the conflict and 13 Israelis
died in combat or from militant rocket attacks on Israel.
Gaza's 1.5 million people have largely relied on a web of tunnels
beneath the border with Egypt since Israel and Egypt tightened frontier
controls after the militant Islamist group Hamas seized power there in
June 2007. The World Bank estimates that 80 percent of Gaza's imports
arrive by tunnel.
Jerusalem, Sunday, AFP