Two months after ceasefire, Gaza remains in ruins
By Saud Abu Ramadan
Gaza, July 21 (Efe).- The Gaza Strip remains in ruins two months after a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants ended eleven days of violence that claimed the lives of 255 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, the worst conflict since the 2014 war.
Alaa Shamali, a 45-year-old resident of the Shuja’iyya neighborhood in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, saw his house reduced to rubble last May for the second time in his life, after suffering the same fate seven years earlier.
“After the destruction of my house, I looked for a house to rent, a new shelter, for food and new clothes for the children and my family,” Shamali told Efe.
“Things are not easy in the difficult economic conditions we are going through, it has already been two months and the wheel of reconstruction has completely stopped, and this increases the burden on us,” he added.
On May 21, the warring parties agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations, but negotiations to shore up the truce and address the reconstruction of the enclave have stalled over political issues.
The UN warns that immediate financial aid is needed to assist 45,000 people with food and basic products and to fund the reconstruction of 4,000 damaged houses. An estimated 7,000 Palestinian children in Gaza are living in accommodation damaged by the conflict.
But leaders of Hamas, the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip since 2007, and other militant factions have complained to mediators that Israel is preventing the entry of raw materials for reconstruction.
They claim Israel is saying they will not send material until Palestinian militias return four captives, two kidnapped civilians and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed in the 2014 war.
Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Abdulatif al Qanou, told Efe he would refuse such terms.