Palestinians in Gaza criticise 'slow' reconstruction process

Palestinians in Gaza criticise 'slow' reconstruction process
3 min read
12 September, 2022
Locals of the Gaza Strip complained that the reconstruction process is going slowly in Gaza amid donors' absence, expressing their fear of being displaced for many years. 
Palestinians in Gaza complain that the reconstruction process is going slowly. [Getty]

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have criticised reconstruction process for going slowly amid an absence of donors, with many fearing they will be homeless for many years. 

In separate remarks to The New Arab, several residents in the besieged enclave said there were dozens of families who lost their houses in previous Israeli wars but are still homeless. 

On 5 August, Israel launched a military assault on Islamic Jihad (PIJ), assassinating its commander, Tayseer al-Jaabari, and three of his assistants.

The targeted assassination came just days after detaining a PIJ leader in the occupied West Bank, which unilaterally escalated tensions.

The Israeli army then carried out dozens of airstrikes against residential buildings, military sites, and civilian properties under the pretext that they belonged to Islamic Jihad, the second most powerful armed Palestinian organisation in Gaza. 

Qusai Shamalakh, a Gaza-based young man, lost his house for the second time during that attack. The first time was during the 11-day Israeli offensive on Gaza in 2021. 

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The 23-year-old university student told The New Arab that his nine-member family do know their fate amid the current hard living conditions. 

"In 2021, when the Israeli army attacked our house, we did not wait the donors to rebuild our house and we rebuilt it by our own money (...) Now, we do not have enough money to do so," Shamalakh said. 

So far, he notes, they have not received any funds for the construction. "Qatar is the only country, which promised to fund the reconstruction process (...) I think it will cost alot and need more time as there are a lot of people who are awaiting their turn to rebuild their destroyed houses in previous Israeli wars," he added.

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Khalil Kanon another Gaza-based resident ,lost his apartment located in Palestine tower that was attacked by Israeli warplanes on 5 August. 

Later, the Israeli army announced that he succeeded in assassinating the commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement Tayseer al-Jaabari. 

"The real fact is that the Israeli attacks displaced at least 36 families from their apartments as their residential tower became uninhabitable," the 36-year-old father of four told The New Arab

"We are very apprehensive, especially since the situation in the Gaza Strip is very difficult, especially since there are many facilities that were destroyed in previous wars that have not been reconstructed so far," he said.

Both Shamalakh and Kanon condemned the international community for "adopting double standards" with the Gaza crisis, despite the fact that it has been besieged and has been suffering from war for decades without any genuine effort to end the issues.

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"The cost of rebuilding the total damage during the previous Israeli wars on the Gaza Strip at US$1 billion, including US$230 million for the housing sector and US$800 million to compensate those affected in the economic, industrial, and agricultural sectors," Naji Sarhan, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza, told The New Arab

He said that the most prominent feature of the reconstruction process currently is the absence of donors when compared to the reconstruction process that took place in 2014. 

Up to now, he adds, there are no pledges to build the towers destroyed in the war in 2021 or that remained from 2012 and 2014, noting that only 40 per cent of destroyed houses had been rebuilt.