Two years after the Israeli offensive, Gaza continues with its wounds open

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Two years after the last Israeli military offensive in Gaza, its inhabitants denounce that the strip hasn’t been rebuilt, Israel hasn’t halted the blockade and its situation keeps worsening.

Two years after the Israeli offensive, Gaza continues with its wounds open

A Palestinian woman gestures as she stands amidst destruction following an Israeli military strike in Gaza City on July 08, 2014 . AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS

Published in, translated by Lisbeth Mechter exclusively for SouthFront

“I hate to remember the 50 days and nights of the offensive.  I’m still sad. Our house hasn’t been rebuilt after two years. The blockade continues, poverty and unemployment are still too high”, Suha Al Masri, a 42-yearold Gaza woman complained.

Her family lost her house after the impact of three projectiles that also killed her nephew and other three relatives.

Many in the Strip feel that their situation has slightly improved in this period, despite international promises and reconstruction plans that are not concrete yet.

According to the Ministry of Health of Gaza, 2 200 Palestinians died in the offensive – 550 children and 300 women among them- , 11 000 others were injured, near 2 650 underage and 1 440 women.

Tanks, artillery and bombings left a huge destruction in the infrastructure, housing, industry and agriculture in the territory governed by the Islamist movement Hamas that took the power in 2007.

According to different NGOs, in those “endless” fifty days the bombings lasted, 31 974 were totally or partially destroyed.

UN estimates on 60 612 the number of citizens of Gaza that at the end of the conflict (August 26th, 2014) had fled from their houses to find shelter in schools, hospitals, mosques and churches.

After two years, many live in rented places or with relatives, as their houses are still in ruins.

They blame the blockade for obstructing the free entrance of building material after Israel considers it of “double use” and it’s afraid that material is used to dig tunnels that penetrate their territory to then perpetrate attacks.

The cease-fire achieved with Egyptian mediation between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the OLP (Organization for the Liberation of Palestine) is still running with certain violations from both sides.

The agreement compelled Israel to halt the blockade to permit the reconstruction plan to be carried out, besides the construction of an airport and a port; but none of the cited has been carried out, the inhabitants of the Strip denounce.

Maher Tabaa, director of the Commerce Chamber of Gaza, assures that the losses provoked by the conflict ascend to 3 600 million dollars.

Two years after the Israeli offensive, Gaza continues with its wounds open

Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza Strip, gather around the remains of a house that police said was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike. Israel said it shot down a drone from Gaza July 14, the first reported deployment of an unmanned aircraft by Palestinian militants whose rocket attacks have been regularly intercepted. (CNS photo/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa) (July 14, 2014) See GAZA-TARAZI July 14, 2014.

“The harsh life conditions remain and poverty has increased to over 55%”, Tabaa claims adding that Israel destroyed “9 water treatment stations, 18 electric facilities, 19 headquarters of financial institutions, 372 commercial and industrial sites and 55 fishing ships”, besides thousands of houses.

Two and a half months after the conflict an international donators conference was held in Cairo, where different countries promised to donate 5 400 million dollars for the reconstruction that has barely started.

AIDA (Association of International Development Agencies) urged Israel to lift the blockade and put an end to the restrictions that impede the reconstruction. Also, they published a petition to international leaders like Barack Obama in the US, François Hollande in France and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to accelerate the process.

In the petition they ask the international leaders “to compel Israel to take wood, iron, cement and other essential materials for the construction away from the list of products with restricted entrance to the Strip”.

According to AIDA, only 10% of the 11 000 totally destroyed housing infrastructure has been rebuilt.

Besides that, there’s fear of a new offensive in the Strip, especially after the declarations of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, who claimed that Israel will attack if the Palestinian militants continue to dig tunnels and throw rockets.

“We are very concerned after sooner or later there could be a new Israeli offensive, especially due to the threats from Israel and the fact that Palestinian armed groups have claimed they are ready to fight”, Mohamed Abu Daqqa, 26-yearold teacher sadly affirms.

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