Monday, 22 December 2014

Analysts: Gaza reconstruction delays could lead to escalation

Barely four months after a bloody Israeli military offensive battered Gaza, experts warn that a new war could be in the offing if reconstruction is not accelerated and political divisions remain.

Since the end of the deadly 50-day war between Israel and Hamas, which killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and 73 in Israel, little has changed on the ground in Gaza.

Swathes of the territory lie in ruins and tens of thousands of people remain homeless.

With reconstruction still conspicuous by its absence and talks to bolster the August truce repeatedly postponed, frustration is growing in Gaza -- and with it the danger of a new outbreak of violence.

This weekend, for the first time since the war ended on August 26, Israeli warplanes struck southern Gaza after militants fired a rocket over the border, the third time this has happened in four months.

Although nobody was hurt on either side, the exchange of fire raised concerns that the fragile truce could deteriorate rapidly.

Last week, as Hamas militants marched through Gaza with rocket launchers and missiles in a show of force to mark the 27th anniversary of the group's founding, they were quick to warn that the situation was unsustainable.

"If there is no reconstruction of what Israel destroyed, we warn you that there will be an explosion," warned the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing.

"If our demands are ignored, there will be consequences for the enemy, its people and its leaders." more


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