Sunday, August 23, 2015

Where’s the Gaza housing boom? | Gisha

About half of the materials went towards Qatar-funded projects, many of which began before the war. Photo: Eman Mohammed
Where's the Gaza housing boom? | Gisha  report on the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism
Gisha is an Israeli not-for-profit organization, founded in 2005, whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents. Gisha promotes rights guaranteed by international and Israeli law.

On June 24, 2015, Palestinian Housing Minster, Mufid Al-Husayneh, announced the beginning of a new phase in Gaza’s reconstruction – the rebuilding of homes destroyed during Operation Protective Edge. Ten months after the fighting ended, despite massive destruction and international mobilization, Gaza took its first step toward rebuilding the first out of thousands of homes that were completely destroyed. What took so long?
The Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism

Prior to Operation Protective Edge, Israel imposed severe restrictions on the sale of construction materials to Gaza, arguing that these were “dual use” materials, meaning that they could be used for both civilian and military purposes (see box on chronology of restrictions). The main argument was that Hamas might use construction materials purchased in Israel to build bunkers and since late 2013, that materials could be used to build tunnels for the purpose of launching attacks on Israeli territory.

Gisha has and continues to object to the definition of a basic civilian commodity such as construction materials as “dual use”, thus paving the way for blanket bans, especially when considering the fact that the ban has not proven effective in preventing tunnel building. The restrictions, coupled with the closure of most smuggling tunnels out of Egypt, did play a role in the unemployment rate in Gaza’s spiking from 27.9% in the second quarter of 2013 to 40.8% in the first quarter of 2014. The construction sector, which contributed 17% of Gaza’s GDP in the second half of 2013, before the closure of the Gaza-Egypt tunnels, and provided jobs to more than 24,000 individuals in mid-2013, has since collapsed almost completely. True to the second quarter of 2015, only 4.2% of employed workers in Gaza, or about 11,000 people, are employed in the construction sector. The unemployment rate currently stands at 41.5%.

No comments:

Post a Comment