World Bank Puts Price Tag on Gaza Reconstruction
Eleven days of nearly nonstop rocketry from the Gaza Strip into Israel and the Israeli response that leveled parts of the Hamas-controlled enclave will cost nearly half a billion dollars to rebuild, according to the World Bank. A report by the bank and the European Union issued on Tuesday placed the reconstruction effort within a two-year time frame. Due in large part to the placement of Hamas and Islamic Jihad missile launchers in civilian areas in order to impede the military response, the lion’s share of the reconstruction money will be earmarked for residential areas. Also receiving significant shares of the international funding are production facilities, agriculture, commerce and industrial installations. Coming off the top will be funding to provide food for about 45,000 Gazans, housing for the families of 4,000 homes either destroyed or damaged beyond habitability, and small businesses put out of action because of the fighting. Almost 5,000 rockets and missiles were fired from Gaza during the 11-day period, while some 260 died in retaliatory airstrikes by Israel. The dead in Israel included 12 civilians and a soldier. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the UN General Assembly passed the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy resolution condemning the use of civilians as human shields – a tactic associated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Two “firsts” were recorded at Turtle Bay: condemnation of anti-Semitic terrorism and recruiting terrorists via the internet.