An almost non-existent reconstruction

It has now been six months since the start of the devastating Israeli assault against Gaza

[1], which left the Gaza strip in ruins and saw 2,100 Palestinians killed, over 11,200 injured and half a million displaced. An estimated 1,000 of the 3,000 children injured have been left with a life-long disability.

Despite $5.4bn made in pledges at an international donor conference on 12th October 2014[2], the reconstruction of Gaza is moving extremely slowly. UN and other officials say barely 2% of the money has been transferred and only a tiny amount of the promised rebuilding materials has been delivered so far[3]. According to the latest Oxfam update[4], less material was entering the coastal strip in November than before the war. Gaza remains in ruins and at this rate, the reconstruction could take decades.

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Accusations of corruption have also been made, with most of the cement being sold on the black market. Economist Omar Shaaban even called the mechanism for reconstruction “a licence for corruption” [5]. Catherine Essoyan, Oxfam’s regional director, said: “It is deplorable that such little progress has been made given the enormous scale of needs and massive destruction. People in Gaza are becoming increasingly and understandably frustrated at the lack of progress.”

Despite the Israeli government promise to open all crossings to Gaza and allow the entry of materials needed for reconstruction, the blockade remains firmly in place. The international community has failed to successfully pressure Israel to lift the blockade and Israel has imposed even more severe conditions for allowing in the material for rebuilding.

Disastrous consequences

The slow reconstruction and the on-going blockade have dire consequences for Palestinians facing winter without food, water and adequate shelter, leading to an emergency situation in Gaza. Thousands of people have lost everything and are now living in tents and what’s left of their homes, desperately trying to patch up the damage caused by the attack and prevent the cold and rainwater from getting into their houses.

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Unemployment is rising towards 70%, food prices are rocketing and the majority of households suffer from a complete lack of electricity and/or running water. Hospitals are being shut down because of a shortage of medicine, fuel and other much needed supplies. This will continue as long as the blockade remains intact.

You can help by sending a letter to your MP and to the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, urging them to pressure the International Community and the Israeli authorities to respect their pledges.

As always, thank you for your support.


[1] The conflict began on 8th July 2014 and lasted until 26th August 2014.

[2]  Mostly by Qatar ($1 billion), Saudi Arabia ($500 million) and the United States and the European Union ($780 million).

[3] Only 1% of the 5 million tonnes needed has been delivered so far.

[5] The Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism was agreed by the UN, Israel and the Palestinian Authority mid-October 2014. See more here: http://www.unsco.org/Gaza%20Reconstruction%20Mechanism%20Fact%20Sheet%209%20October%202014.pdf