Gaza, Palestinian Territory (TFC) – Oxfam, the United Nations aid organization has predicted that it will take a full century to rebuild Gaza because the Israelis are not allowing construction materials into the war torn area.
According to Oxfam, less than 1% of the needed building materials have been allowed into the country since the end of last summer’s bombing campaign. The Israelis have maintained the blockade for a about a decade now, and after each attack the situation in Gaza has grown more dire.
“Gaza needs more than 800,000 truckloads of construction materials to build homes, schools, health facilities and other infrastructure required after repeated conflicts and years of blockade, according to aid agencies on the ground. Yet, in January only 579 such trucks entered Gaza. This is even less than the 795 trucks that entered the previous month. Around 100,000 people – more than half of them children – are still living in shelters, temporary accommodation or with extended family after their homes were destroyed. Tens of thousands more families are living in badly damaged homes.”
The blockade works both ways and Palestinian exports have also been crippled.
“Under the blockade, exports of agricultural produce from Gaza have fallen in the last year to just 2.7 percent of the level before the blockade was imposed. Fishermen are still restricted to an enforced fishing limit of six nautical miles – far short of where most fish are – and farmers are restricted from accessing much of the most fertile farmland. Gaza continues to be separated from the West Bank, and most people are still prevented from leaving. The border with Egypt has also been shut for most of the past two months, preventing thousands of people from travelling.”
The Israelis are also withholding the tax revenue collected from the area which cripples the local government’s ability to provide services.