The fragile truce in the Gaza Strip continues to endure. The Israeli invasion force has left… the bodies have largely been recovered from the rubble that used to be the cities and refugee camps of Gaza. This is the time when a war torn nation would begin its reconstruction efforts. Yet the Israeli government’s continued blockade seems an insurmountable obstacle.
The international community has pledged an enormous amount of cash to the effort, but Israel’s defense ministry maintains that “we are not interested in rebuilding Hamas at any stage,” and has kept its pre-war blockade to prevent steel, cement and glass from entering the strip, effectively preventing the reconstruction of homes and buildings at all.
If there is, as some have suggested, a race between the West and the Iranian government to win the good will of Gaza’s populace through reconstruction, it’s taking place at a snail’s pace. Iran has vowed to rebuild the destroyed schools and homes, as well as the parliament building, but they would seem no more able to import the needed goods than the Saudis or any of the other groups that have promised to rebuild Gaza. At the end of the day, Gaza cannot be rebuilt without the permission of either Israel or Egypt, and neither seems in a tremendous hurry to allow it.
According to Israel’s Minister of Welfare “Israel helps fully on the humanitarian issue. Thereafter it’s a red line.” Indeed, the Israeli government has allowed relatively minor amounts of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. But if there’s a red line after that, how long will the residents of Gaza be expected to live in the ruins of their former cities?