Gaza reconstruction 'too slow'

Gaza reconstruction 'too slow'
The IMF has called for more donor aid to support the recovery of the West Bank and Gaza Strip economy, citing an uncertain outlook for the Palestinian territories.
2 min read
Palestinian children stand amid the rubble of their partially rebuilt house destroyed last year [AFP]

The reconstruction of the Gaza Strip is going "far more slowly than expected" after a devastating 50-day Israeli onsluaght last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.

Of the $3.5 billion promised for the reconstruction of Gaza at the Cairo Conference in October, only about 27 percent had been disbursed by mid-April.

"While notable progress has been made recently with the provision of materials for the repair of individual homes, larger construction projects that are required for a job-creating economic recovery are still pending," the report said.

The Washington-based instituation, which provides technical assistance to the West Bank and Gaza, said the economic outlook for the Palestinian territories is "highly uncertain".

The economy fell into recession in 2014 for the first time since 2006.

READ ALSO: Gaza rebuild 'will take century unless siege is lifted'

A key uncertainty is the continuation of clearance revenues, revenues collected by Israel in the form of indirect taxes on imported goods and later transferred to the Palestinian Authority, which account for two-thirds of total revenues.

Israel froze the transfer of the revenues from December to March, wreaking havoc on the Palestinian authority's finances.

The IMF projected a mild economic recovery in the Israeli-occupied West Bank this year, with growth at 2.5 percent, in part based on the assumption of steady transfers for the rest of the year.

For Gaza, growth was expected to rebound to 7.0 percent from a weak 2014 base.

Whatever measures the Palestinian authorities take to repair finances, the IMF said, they "might not be sufficient to fully close the financing gap" and "additional donor aid would be needed."

More than 2,200 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed in the fighting, according to United Nations figures. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and six civilians were killed.

The war also destroyed 18,000 homes in Gaza and damaged thousands more, displacing an estimated 100,000 people, according to the UN.