UN says Palestinians, Israelis reach deal on Gaza reconstruction
Palestinian students are seen through a damaged wall standing in a classroom at a government school in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City on September 14, 2014 on the first day of the new school year. [AFP]
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The United Nations (UN) has reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel to rehabilitate the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip destructed in the recent Israeli onslaught on the besieged area.
“UNSCO (Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process) has brokered a trilateral agreement between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the UN to enable work at the scale required in the Strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a lead role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry made the announcement on Tuesday.
He described the destruction wreaked on the besieged area as “shocking,” saying the move for renovating the blockaded territory is an “important step” to give hope to the people there.
The reconstruction mechanism “in my view, is an important step, which I hope will give hope to the people in Gaza, and an important step, we hope, towards full lifting of remaining closures in Gaza,” he said.
Shelter Cluster, an international organization engaged in the assessment of post-war reconstruction, released a report on August 29, putting the number of housing units destroyed or severely damaged by Israel in its recent war on Gaza at 17,000.
The recent Israeli war ended on August 26 with an Egyptian-brokered truce, which took effect after negotiations in Cairo. The deal stipulates the ease of Israel’s blockade as well as the provision of a guarantee that Palestinian demands will be met.
Israel started pounding the blockaded enclave in early July, inflicting heavy losses on the Palestinian land.
Almost 2,140 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women, children and elderly people, were killed in the 50 days of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. Around 11,000 others were injured.