UN says Israeli blockade of Gaza blocks reconstruction efforts
A top official in the United Nations has called on the Israeli regime to end its “inexcusable” siege on the Gaza Strip as the blockade has hampered reconstruction in the coastal enclave just one year after Israeli raids on the area devastated hundreds of homes.
“The blockade remains in place and its crippling effect on Gaza is undeniable, inexcusable,” Robert Turner, operations director in Gaza for the UN relief agency UNRWA, told reporters Wednesday.
More than 2,500 were killed in Israel’s summer 2014 war on Gaza with more than 500 of them being children. Tens of thousands were also displaced in the wake of the conflict, which also brought about huge devastation across Gaza.
The UN official called for a full lifting of the blockade as he said the partial reopening of the borders would not alleviate the suffering of the Gazans.
One year after the war, homes and installations in Gaza remain flattened with twisted steel rods and concrete blocks still littering the ground in every neighborhood.
Observers says Israel’s continued siege is the main reason behind the delayed reconstruction process in Gaza, with many warning that could sow the seeds of a future conflict in the area. About 18,000 homes have reportedly been destroyed or severely damaged during the war.
Palestinian women in the village of Khuzaa, east of Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, hold placards amid the rubble of houses destroyed during the summer 2014 Israeli war on Gaza, July 7, 2015. (AFP)
A UN report last month decried as “unprecedented” the devastation and human suffering left behind by the Israeli war. It also denounced the “huge firepower” used in Gaza, saying Israel launched more than 6,000 airstrikes and fired 50,000 artillery shells on the besieged enclave.
Reports said the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, has planned celebrations to be held on Wednesday. Many Palestinians view Israel’s acceptance of a ceasefire in July 2014 as a major defeat despite the huge sufferings inflicted by the Tel Aviv regime on the enclave, which is home to 1.8 million people.