Two years after 2014 war, Gaza still in ruins
Gaza City after an Israeli air strike. (Photo: AFP)
Friday is the two-year anniversary of the 2014 war in Gaza between Hamas and Israel.
Since that time, much of the coastal enclave remains ruined. Less than 10% of the 11,000 homes that were destroyed in the seven-week war have been rebuilt, according to a report released today by the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), an umbrella group of non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The war, known in Israel as “Operation Protective Edge,” claimed the lives of 2,200 Palestinians. Most of them were killed by Israeli air strikes, tank-fired shells, or close-proximity combat with Israeli soldiers, who launched a ground invastion of the Strip, which is one of the most densely-populated places on Earth.
About 65 Israeli soldiers perished during the conflict, as did another seven Israeli civilians who were hit by Hamas-fired rockets over the wall into Israeli towns.
Israel has blockaded the Gaza Strip since Hamas came to power in 2007. The blockade was tightened after the 2014 war, a move Israel claims is necessary to prevent Hamas from building up more weaponry with which it could start a new battle.
But the blockade has also had a disastrous humanitarian impact, as crucial building materials like cement are prevented from entering Gaza.
More than 75,000 Gaza residents are homeless because of the 2014 war and the Israeli blockade, the AIDA report said. Unemployment hovers around 40%, and youth unemployment in Gaza is among the highest in the world.
The report placed the blame for the lack of reconstruction in Gaza on Israel, saying that the “heavy restrictions on the entry of materials critical to the recovery process” were the reason that Palestinians in Gaza cannot rebuild their homes.
The United Nations said in September 2015 that Gaza will become “uninhabitable” as soon as 2020 if the current conditions aren’t alleviated soon.
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