Rebuilding before Government: Gazans

By Ola Attallah – Gaza City

Nada, 8, looks around at thousands of  white tents sprouting in neat rows amid a sea of gray rubble across the Gaza City.

"Mom, would we be staying here for long" she asks, without getting any answer.

"When will our home be rebuilt and this debris removed?"

With silence being the only answer she is getting from her mom, Nada starts drawing a house on the ground outside the tent that is for now their home.

"Our house was like that."

Nada’s family is among 35,000 households living in tented camps in Gaza City after three-weeks of Israeli attacks flatted thousands of homes and killed more than 1,400 people.

Three weeks after the end of the Israeli onslaught, the rebuilding has not started yet.

Donors insist that the Palestinians must first reconcile and form a unity government before money could be committed to the reconstruction of the bombed-out Gaza Strip, home to some 1.6 million.

Rival Hamas and Fatah, which separately control the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively, are still unable to bridge their differences.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority of President Hamoud Abbas, the Fatah leader, says it must oversee the Gaza reconstruction, a condition Hamas refuses.

"It seems that we will live in these tents for long," fumes Nael Abd-Rabou, sitting on the rubble of his home.

"The Arabs want a unity government that would recognize Israel in order to please the donors but Hamas will not accept this."

Egypt will host an international donors conference next month for rebuilding the bombed-out Gaza.

"We’re Bleeding"

The web of political battles and Israeli restrictions leaves thousands of innocent Gaza families in never-end suffering.

"Why they are wrangling about the conditions of a unity government," asks Samir Abd-Rabou.

"We are bleeding and they are bargaining. They must first move to build our houses and then talk about the government."

Abu-Ahed Al-Nagar says the reconstruction efforts can be supervised by international organizations.

"We can’t live in the open air until they agree a unity government," he told IOL.

"We want homes to shield us just like other humans."

Abu Essam is pessimistic about any solution.

"The scenes of debris will remain for long. Arabs will not make good on their promises."

Saudi Arabia and Qatar pledged 1.25 billion dollar for the rebuilding of Gaza after the end of the war, but nothing has happened since.

"I’m afraid these scenes will remain for years as Arabs link efforts to our political wounds."

Even the 5000-dollar compensation paid by the Hamas-led government to people who lost their homes is not helping.

"What use is the cash But when there is no reconstruction material to buy," lamented Abd-Rabou.

A daunting challenge for the construction of the sealed-off Gaza Strip is the lack of badly needed construction supplies.

Israel has been banning raw materials, including cement and steel, from entering Gaza, on the pretext they could be used to build bunkers or manufacture rockets.

"We don’t want money, we only want homes to live in."

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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1 Comment

  1. Three years, and one bombardment later. Your interviewee may only want homes to live in, but the government preferred more rockets.

    Did the dosh ever arrive from Saudi or Qatar? What happened to it?

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