Rebuilding Gaza to cost $7.7bn

 05 Sep 2014 - 2:15

Palestinians stand next to their destroyed homes as a bulldozer cleans up the rubble in the Shejaiya neighbourhood of Gaza City yesterday.

RAMALLAH: The reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, devastated during 50 days of war with Israel, will cost about $7.7bn (6bn euros), Palestinian experts said in a report yesterday.
The Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, a Palestinian Authority body that oversees implementation of donor-financed projects, said the process would take “five years if Israel removed its blockade over Gaza entirely.”
Since 2006, Gaza has been subject to the blockade that, among other things, prevents the entry of construction materials, which can be used by militants to build tunnels and fortifications. 
According to a ceasefire signed in Cairo, these restrictions should be eased, but no such materials have yet been let in through border crossings with Israel.
The coastal enclave, home to 1.8m people and bordered by Israel and Egypt, was ravaged between July 8 and August 26 in its third war in six years.
The conflict cost the lives of more than 2,140 Gazans, destroyed thousands of homes, damaged the sole power plant and burnt dozens of factories. But the 1.8m-2.2m tonnes of debris estimated to have resulted from the destruction of buildings could also be used to expand the territory into the sea, according to the report by 13 experts.
International donors will be meeting later this month in Egypt or Norway.