Headline News


Gaza reconstruction challenged


Source: | 01-22-2009 14:36

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

The Palestinians and the international community now face the massive task of rebuilding Gaza following three weeks of devastating Israeli airstrikes.

In an indication of the destruction, Gazan officials say a first count showed some 20-thousand residential and government buildings were severely damaged and another 4-thousand destroyed.

Israel and the EU on Wednesday debated the way forward after the Gaza war, with the Europeans pushing for a lasting cease-fire and smooth access for humanitarian aid and Israel asking for European help to stop arms-smuggling into the devastated area. At left is European Union foreign affairs and security chief policy Javier Solana.(AP Photo/Thierry Charlier.)
At left is European Union foreign affairs and security 
chief policy Javier Solana.(AP Photo/Thierry Charlier.)

Mohammed Ishtayah, director, Palestinian development and construction council, said, "The magnitude of destruction is 1.9 billion dollars, and this destruction includes the different ministries, as well as religious buildings, mosques, people's homes and houses, infrastructure, whether it is water networks, sewage networks, electricity, telecommunications."

But Israel has expressed concern over Hamas potentially seeking to extend its influence and gain some measure of legitimacy by leading the reconstruction process.

On Tuesday morning, a statement released by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said Hamas must NOT be allowed to lead the reconstruction process in Gaza.

The statement said the UN, as well as international organizations must lead the reconstruction efforts, in conjunction with the Palestinian Authority and Egypt in their roles as mediators between Israel and Hamas.

Speaking in Brussels, EU Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana said he hoped some kind of "inter-Palestinian situation" could help with the reconstruction process. But he didn't refer directly to a potential role by Hamas in this.


Editor:Zhang Yun