World Bulletin/News Desk
A proposed UN monitoring system to regulate the entry of construction materials into the war-battered Gaza Strip will only serve to prolong the reconstruction process, the Gaza Strip's chamber of commerce said Wednesday.
"If the UN's monitoring plan is implemented, it would take 20 years for the Gaza Strip to be rebuilt," Maher al-Tabba', a spokesman for the commercial chamber, said in a statement.
"In order to rebuild the Gaza Strip within three to five years, over 400 construction trucks should be allowed into the strip daily without any restraints," al-Tabba' asserted.
He added that the amount of construction supplies currently being allowed into the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing with Israel represented only 18 percent of the amount needed to repair the massive property damage caused by Israel's recent 51-day military onslaught on the coastal enclave.
Robert Turner, director of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), said earlier this week that the UN's reconstruction plan could take "up to three years" to finish.
The Palestinian government recently began distributing limited quantities of building supplies in the Gaza Strip in line with a UN-brokered deal between Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.
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.
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, meanwhile, 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.
Israel frequently voices fears that building supplies will be used by Palestinian resistance 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 called 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: 05 Kasım 2014, 15:23