World Bulletin/News Desk
Israel will allow the entry of another batch of construction supplies and heavy building equipment into the Gaza Strip next week, a Palestinian minister has said.
"Another shipment of building supplies will be allowed into the Gaza Strip next week via the Kerem Shalom crossing," Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh said in a statement on Saturday.
"Heavy machinery and equipment will also be allowed into Gaza for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip," he added.
Last month, Israel permitted the entry of a limited amount of building supplies into the Strip – after a blockade that lasted seven years – as per an agreement between Israel, the UN and the Palestinian Authority regarding the entry of building supplies for the reconstruction of the territory following a deadly Israeli offensive.
During Israel's recent 51-day onslaught, 15,671 housing units were damaged across the coastal enclave, including 2,276 that were totally destroyed, according to official Palestinian figures.
More than 2,160 Gazans, mostly civilians, were killed – and another 11,000 injured – during seven weeks of unrelenting Israeli attacks throughout July and August.
The Israeli offensive finally ended on August 26 with the announcement of an indefinite cease-fire with Palestinian resistance factions.
Following the cease-fire, Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, unveiled plans to impose strict oversight on the use of construction materials in Gaza.
At an October 12 donor conference in Cairo, 50 countries pledged a total of $5.4 billion to the Palestinian government, half of which was earmarked for reconstruction of the devastated Gaza Strip.
Israel frequently voices fears that building supplies will be used by Palestinian factions to build tunnels and military fortifications.
According to Israeli and western diplomatic sources, the UN plan also calls for the deployment of international observers to monitor the reconstruction process.
The recent cease-fire also calls for reopening the strip's border crossings with Israel – a term which, if implemented, would effectively end the self-proclaimed Jewish state's seven-year blockade of the coastal territory.
Last Mod: 22 Kasım 2014, 12:18