• June 19, 2024, 12:51 am
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UN says Israel-Hamas war leaves Gaza ‘uninhabitable’

News Desk
News Desk
Update: Sunday, February 4, 2024


GENEVA, Jan 31, 2024 (BSS/AFP) – Israel’s war against Hamas has damaged
around half of all buildings in Gaza and rendered the Palestinian territory
uninhabitable, with tens of billions of dollars needed to rebuild it, the UN
said Wednesday.

Since the war erupted in the Gaza Strip following Hamas’s deadly October 7
attacks inside Israel, the United Nations said the decline in living conditions
had been “precipitous”.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimated that by late
November, 37,379 buildings — the equivalent of 18 percent of the Gaza Strip’s
total structures — had been damaged or destroyed in Israel’s military

And since then, satellite data indicates swelling destruction, according to
Rami Alazzeh, an UNCTAD economist focused on assistance to the Palestinian
people, who co-authored the report.

“The new data says that 50 percent of the structures in Gaza are (damaged
or) destroyed,” he told AFP, warning that “the longer these (military)
operations in Gaza go on… the more severe the impact will be”.
“Gaza currently is uninhabitable.”

– GDP contracted by a quarter –

The war was triggered by Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted
in the deaths of around 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP
tally based on official figures.

Militants also seized about 250 hostages. Israel says 132 of them remain in
Gaza including at least 29 people believed to have been killed.

Following the deadliest attack in Israel’s history, its military launched a
withering air, land and sea offensive that has killed at least 26,900 people in
Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the territory’s Hamas-run
health ministry.

UNCTAD recalled that Gaza was in a dire state before the war erupted, with
a 17-year blockade and repeated military operations leaving around 80 percent
of the population dependent on international aid.

Using satellite imagery and official data, the UN agency estimated that the
Gaza’s economy had already contracted by 4.5 percent in the first three
quarters of 2023.

“The military operation has greatly accelerated the decline and
precipitated a 24-percent GDP contraction and a 26.1-percent drop in GDP per
capita for the entire year,” UNCTAD said in a statement.

Alazzeh pointed out that the decline in GDP per capita seen last year was
equivalent to that suffered during the entire blockade period and through six
prior military operations.

And while 45 percent of Gaza’s workforce were unemployed before October 7,
the jobless rate had surged to nearly 80 percent by December.

“All of the economic sector in Gaza has ground to a halt,” Alazzeh said,
adding that virtually the only people working are those involved in
humanitarian operations.

– Tens of billions –

UNCTAD estimated that even if reconstruction started immediately and Gaza
returned to the average growth rate seen in the past 15 years of 0.4 percent,
it would take seven decades for the territory to return to just its 2022 GDP

Massive international aid would be needed, it said, especially if the goal
is to push Gazan development to a more livable level.

“There is no doubt that it will amount to several tens of billions of
dollars by any conservative estimation,” the report said.

The agency stressed that any resolution of the crisis would require an end
to the military operation and lifting of the blockade and movement towards a
two-state solution.

The goal, it said, cannot be to simply “return to the pre-October 2023
status quo”.

“The vicious circle of destruction and partial reconstruction needs to be


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