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February 24, 2015

Months after war ended, Gaza rebuilds


Last summer, a seven-week war between Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian group that the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, left parts of the Gaza Strip destroyed.

Hamas and Israel reached an open-ended cease-fire in August, but the war killed thousands and left thousands of families homeless, living in makeshift shelters.

Foreign nations pledged to help rebuild Gaza at a conference in Cairo after the war ended, making donor pledges that amounted to $5.4 billion. But only $150-200 million has arrived in Gaza so far, with little funding for the reconstruction projects that would help, according to Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

Currently, the interim Palestinian government consists of Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the other Palestinian territory, the West Bank. Those governments lack the ability to bring about lasting change, Serry said.

“We’re going to fail as a government,” said Mofid Al-Hasayna, the Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing who does not belong to Hamas or the Palestinian Authority.

United Nations Relief spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said that if the reconstruction is too slow, Palestinians will become more and more frustrated. “We are afraid that the calmness will end and we are heading towards a new round of violence,” he said.

Warm up questions
  1. Where is Gaza?
  2. What do you know about the relationship between Palestinians and Israel?
Critical thinking questions
  1. What does it mean to have a closed border? How does this affect everyday life? What are the challenges of living in an area with a closed border?
  2. How can Gaza begin to recover? What kinds of supplies and support are needed to repair the region?
  3. Why might different countries have different perspectives on rebuilding Gaza? Consider the position of the following countries and explain the importance of Gaza to their foreign policy:
      The United States
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