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Rebuilding Gaza is achievable

Feb 28,2015 - Last updated at Feb 28,2015

According to the international aid agency Oxfam, at the rate the process is going now, it would take a century to rebuild the houses, schools and hospitals destroyed in Gaza during last summer’s war Israel launched against the strip.

Oxfam estimates that Gaza needs no less than 800,000 truckloads of material to repair the infrastructures destroyed during the Israeli onslaught; of this, so far, less than a quarter of 1 per cent of the needed material has entered the Gaza Strip over the past three months, says the agency, a pace that makes rebuilding in Gaza ink on paper, a dream with almost non-existent chances of becoming reality.

The misery visited upon Gazans, which should never be ignored by the outside world, and the hardships, compounded by inclement weather conditions, are palpable.

Less obvious is the fact that this misery makes Gaza a breeding ground for desperation and radicalisation, which are a small step away from terrorism.

When people are denied basic means of livelihood, cannot send their children to schools and their sick to hospitals, when there is no one to turn to for solace and help, and when, deprived of the right to education, they remain ignorant, they often resort to violence.

Israel is, willingly or unwittingly — rather the former — pushing Gazans towards hostility.

Like a pressure cooker, Gaza cannot withhold the steam for too long and is likely to witness more explosive outbursts.

Israel will visit more killing and destruction upon Gazans, and the vicious circle will spin on and on.

Israel is certainly aware of the effect of its policy, but it obviously does not care for peace.

Therefore, it falls on the international community, including the various governments that took part in the international donor conference on Gaza after the war and made pledges to help repair the damages of last year’s war, to take action.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity is rapidly waning. With elections around the corner, the only refrain he knows, and uses ad nauseam in the hope of rebuilding some of the status he used to enjoy among his people, is that of war.

It does not matter whether the battered is Iran or Gaza, what matters for him are to beat the drums of war, hopefully to drown the sound of his failure.

Gazans should not be victims of this man’s callousness or of the world’s oblivion.

Gaza should not be allowed to be another place where criminals find recruits easily.

Rebuilding Gaza is not an intractable problem. It is a simple issue that can be easily fixed with enough will.

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