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Gaza ripe for new explosion: Experts' warning
Tuesday December 23, 2014 10:33 PM, IINA

Barely four months after a bloody conflict battered Gaza, experts warn that a new war could be in the offing if reconstruction is not accelerated and Palestinian divisions remain, AFP reported.


Since the end of the deadly 50-day Israeli blitzkrieg, which killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, little has changed on the ground in Gaza. Swathes of the territory lie in ruins and tens of thousands of people remain homeless.

With reconstruction still conspicuous by its absence and talks to bolster the August truce repeatedly postponed, frustration is growing in Gaza — and with it the danger of a new outbreak of violence.

This weekend, for the first time since the war ended on Aug. 26, Israeli warplanes struck southern Gaza.

"If there is no reconstruction of what Israel destroyed, we warn you that there will be an explosion," warned the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing. "If our demands are ignored, there will be consequences for the enemy, its people and its leaders."

The glacial pace of reconstruction is the most immediate concern for Gaza, where UN figures show more than 96,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the war, leaving 100,000 people homeless.

Over the past eight years, Gaza has been subjected to an Israeli blockade which has effectively barred the entry of most construction materials on grounds that militants could use them for other purposes. After the Israeli blitzkrieg, the UN brokered a mechanism which would allow such goods in while ensuring they do not fall into the wrong hands.

Palestinian officials say Israel has effectively blocked reconstruction by limiting supplies entering Gaza, but diplomatic sources say the UN-brokered mechanism has taken longer than expected to get up and running.

"The circumstances are as they were before the war," Israeli commentator Avi Issacharoff said. "If the blockade continues, the borders remain closed and building is slow in the next six months, Hamas will move towards escalation, and depending on Israel's response, it could turn into a new war."

Gaza-based analyst Walid al-Mudallal agreed that Hamas was under increasing pressure.

"If it remains frozen in terms of reconstruction, war will be the only option. Hamas will have no choice," he said.

Figures cited by international aid charity Oxfam indicate 287 truckloads — each carrying around 40 tonnes of essential building materials — entered Gaza in November.

But officials say that if Gaza is to be rebuilt within three years, it would need to be receiving at least 7,000 tonnes — or 175 truckloads — every day.



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