Widespread Skepticism over Gaza Reconstruction


idf-gazaMore than five weeks after the Israel-Hamas war, tens of thousands of Gazans live in classrooms, storefronts and tents pitched next to the debris of their homes. Reconstruction efforts appear stymied by a continued Israeli-Egyptian border blockade of Gaza and an unresolved power struggle between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas is to ask for $4 billion for Gaza at an international pledging conference in Cairo today. Under a UN deal, Israel would gradually ease restrictions on building materials, while Abbas is to regain some control there and make sure cement and steel meant for reconstruction aren’t diverted. However, Abbas told confidants as recently as last week that he doesn’t trust Hamas and is nervous about returning to Gaza without full control over the territory.

Skepticism about rebuilding efforts is widespread in Gaza. The recent 50-day war was the third in five years. Many homes destroyed in previous fighting still haven’t been rebuilt. Israel is to speed up procedures and allow the private sector to import construction materials, but has linked such steps to strict monitoring by the UN and pro-Abbas forces. This would include spot checks on construction sites, with contractors losing contracts if they can’t account for their material.

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}