A senior UN official says the Gaza Strip has suffered an “unprecedented amount of destruction” as a result of Israel’s offensive against the coastal enclave, calling for an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza.
UN Mideast envoy, Robert Serry, told the UN Security Council on Monday that the reconstruction of Gaza remains the main priority once a durable truce is agreed between the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, and Israel.
“Construction material must be allowed into Gaza to this effect -- aggregate, bar and cement. And their access to Gaza must be facilitated…,” Serry emphasized.
Some 16,800 housing units have been demolished or severely damaged in the Israeli attacks, which started on July 8, Serry noted, adding that the devastation is three times worse than the damage caused during the previous Israeli war against Gaza in 2008-2009.
He further said the rebuilding of Gaza, at the magnitude that is now needed, can only be addressed with the involvement of Palestinians.
Talks over the reconstruction of Gaza are expected to face resistance from the Israeli regime, which has in the past severely limited the flow of supplies as part of its siege of the Palestinian sliver.
At least 2,016 Palestinians, including a large number of women and children, have lost their lives in the Israeli war so far and as many as 10,196 others have suffered injuries.
The UN official denounced the death toll as “appalling.”
The Palestinians and Israelis have been holding indirect talks in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, over a lasting truce for the past several days.
Hamas and Israel agreed on the extension of an earlier 72-hour truce for five more days late on August 13. They said on Monday that the truce was re-extended for one more day.
Hamas wants the seven-year siege of Gaza to be removed, but Tel Aviv claims it will only take the measure if Hamas is disarmed.
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