Hamas to rebuild Gaza homes with mud bricks
The Hamas-run government in the fenced-off Gaza Strip said on Saturday that it will use mud bricks to rebuild houses destroyed during a massive Israeli offensive at the turn of the year.world Updated: May 09, 2009 19:56 IST
The Hamas-run government in the fenced-off Gaza Strip said on Saturday that it will use mud bricks to rebuild houses destroyed during a massive Israeli offensive at the turn of the year.
"In the next few days we will start using mud to rebuild the houses that the (Israeli) occupation destroyed in Gaza," Hamas deputy prime minister Ziad al-Zaza told AFP.
"This will be done as an option for those owners of destroyed houses who want it," he added. "This is a serious operation by the government to break the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip."
Israeli forces destroyed thousands of homes during a massive three-week offensive launched in late December aimed at halting rocket attacks from the territory, which has been ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement since June 2007.
Since Hamas took power Israel has sealed off the narrow coastal strip and its 1.4 million Palestinian residents from all but basic humanitarian aid and has allowed in virtually no construction materials, saying they might be used for making explosives and weapons.
Small quantities of concrete and steel have nevertheless been brought in through a network of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, which Israeli warplanes repeatedly bombed both during and after the deadly war.
Zaza said the government would use blueprints approved by local municipalities and the union of Gaza engineers for three-storey houses that it said would last for decades.
Zaza, who also serves as the minister of national economy in the Hamas-run government, said the cost of rebuilding would be borne by the government and by "Arab and local aid groups".
The project is expected to provide much-needed employment, he said.
The programme will begin with the building of a three-storey "model home" on 250 square metres (around 2,700 square feet) of land, he added.
In recent days Gaza residents have started building mud brick houses on their own in some of the hardest-hit areas of the territory in Gaza City and the southern towns of Khan Yunis and Rafah.
According to official Palestinian statistics around 4,100 dwelling places were destroyed during the offensive as well as 48 government offices and buildings, 31 police stations and 20 mosques.
International donors pledged 4.5 billion dollars in aid at a reconstruction conference in Egypt in March but little has made its way to Gaza amid the continuing blockade and bitter Palestinian political divisions.
More than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died died in the Gaza offensive.