Online campaign against Israel's Gaza blockade gains momentum

Not a single home has been fully rebuilt after the war tore apart the strip last year, say aid organisations.
Online campaign against Israel's Gaza blockade gains momentum
Online campaign against Israel's Gaza blockade gains momentum
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Over a year after the seven-week long war in the Gaza Strip ended, not much seems to have been done to rebuild the strip with thousands still sleeping in the rubble of their homes, according to online activist group Avaaz.

A petition, which has been launched by Avaaz along with a group of 35 aid agencies, seeks that Israel's blockage of the Gaza Strip be lifted and restrictions on basic building materials needed to reconstruct the coastal strip be removed.

"Last year’s conflict saw over 19,000 homes destroyed, and left 100,000 people homeless. Donor governments have pledged $3.5 billion to rebuild Gaza, but a year on, Israeli restrictions on building materials continue to cause delays. Reconstruction has started on just over 2,000 of the 19,000 homes destroyed last year, and not a single home has been fully rebuilt," a statement by the group reads.

The Shamala family visit their destroyed home in Shajaeya neighbourhood. A lot of the people who lost their homes and live in schools or on the streets visit their bombed out homes almost everyday; Ezz Zanoun / Avaaz

“Only 5% of the urgently needed 6.7 million tons of reconstruction materials needed to repair what was destroyed last summer in Gaza have been allowed in one year since the ceasefire. At this rate, reconstruction could take 17 years,” it further states quoting a report by a joint international NGO.

Apart from residential buildings, educational institutes and hospitals too have been affected adversely. 

"120,000 people still do not have access to the water and sewage network, with slow repairs to the 35,000 meters of pipelines damaged or destroyed. The sewage situation in parts of Gaza is appalling, with overflowing lagoons and untreated waste running through the streets."


A boy collecting the rubble as he attempts to rebuild a room after his home in Shaja’eya  was bombed during the war; Ezz Zanoun / Avaaz 

The petition has garnered over 549,000 signatures at the time of filing this report. 

According to an Al Jazeera report from August 2014, "A total of 2,142 people, most of them civilians including more than 490 children, have been killed in Gaza since war broke out on July 8. A total of 69 people have been killed on the Israeli side, nearly all of them soldiers."

Hasaneen Cement Factory was destroyed during the war on Gaza last year, and it has not been rebuilt. Cement is one of the main materials needed for reconstruction that is on the Israeli list of products that are not allowed into Gaza; Ezz Zanoun / Avaaz

Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip was imposed in 2006 after Hamas, a Palestinian organisation, captured an Israeli soldier and when Hamas consolidated its rule a year later, Israel only tightened its blockade, states an AFP report. 

Israel strictly controls the waters around Gaza with residents not allowed to travel more than six nautical miles from the coast. It also keeps a check on land crossings, adds the report.

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