Hamas says it will rebuild the beleaguered Gaza Strip despite an almost two-year-long Israeli-imposed blockade on the coastal sliver.
Hamas Deputy Prime Minister Ziad al-Zaza said on Saturday that the movement would resort to mud bricks if it has to, but it will rebuild the massive number of houses destroyed during an all-out three-week-long Israeli onslaught on the enclave.
"In the next few days we will start using mud to rebuild the houses that the (Israeli) occupation destroyed in Gaza," Zaza was quoted by AFP as saying.
"This is a serious undertaking by the government to break the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip," he added.
Tel Aviv launched a massive military offensive against the Gaza Strip on December 27, 2008 and pounded the coastal sliver non-stop until January 18, 2009.
The Israeli strike took the lives of more than 1,300 Palestinians, and destroyed thousands of houses and other infrastructure including mosques, schools and government buildings.
The estimated cost of the reconstruction process stands at 2 billion USD. However, a crippling Israeli-imposed blockade prevents construction materials, among other things, from entering Gaza.
In order to provide shelter for the 1.5 million people living in the enclave, Gazans managed to import small quantities of concrete and steel through underground tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, which Israeli warplanes have repeatedly bombed both during and after the deadly war at the turn of the year.
The Hamas-run government would use blueprints approved by local municipalities and the union of Gaza engineers for three-storey buildings that ‘would last for decades’, Zaza said.
The program will begin with the building of a three-storey ‘model home’ on 250 square meters (around 2,700 square feet) of land, he added.
The costs of the project would be covered by the government and local Palestinian aid groups. The program is expected to create jobs and would see some factories resuming activity, Zaza said.