Thursday, 9 April 2015

UNRWA unable to rebuild Gaza due to funding deficit

UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA has only received funding to reconstruct 200 of the 9,061 houses destroyed in Gaza, a report released Thursday said.

While some 60,000 Palestine refugee families have been able to complete the repair of their damaged homes with assistance provided through UNRWA, the majority of funding pledged by the international community for reconstruction following the most recent war in Gaza has not materialized, similar to promises made after previous wars.

UNWRA said that the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, a temporary agreement between the governments of Israel and Palestine concluded in September 2014, allows the entry of building materials for repair, but the process for rebuilding totally destroyed homes remains yet to be agreed upon.

While import of construction material is banned by Israel but possible for UN-led projects following a lengthy approval procedure since 2010, the UNRWA shelter self-help program is completely reliant on the GRM, limiting the range of reconstruction possible.

Limitation on shipments of building materials also continue, with Israeli authorities adding restrictions on wood shipments to the Gaza Strip earlier this week. more

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian fisherman off Gaza coast

Israeli forces on Wednesday shot and injured a Palestinian man with a rubber-coated steel bullet as he was fishing off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip.

Local sources said that fisherman Khalid Zayid was shot while he was at sea off the coast of the town of Beit Lahiya.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.

Israeli authorities maintained a limit of three miles on all activities of fishermen in the Gaza Strip until August, when Hamas negotiated a six-mile limit as part of the ceasefire that concluded Israel's two-month summer assault that left 2,200 dead.

But Israeli authorities have frequently shot at Palestinian fishermen inside the limit, and three have been killed since then.

Twenty-nine attacks by Israeli forces on Palestinian fisherman have have been reported since Sept. 1 by Gaza-based watchdog al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, however due to the normalcy of such incidents, attacks often go unreported.

The center also said that 42 fisherman had been detained and 12 fishing boats confiscated in the same period.

There are approximately 4,000 fishermen in Gaza. more