The London-based newspaper Al Hayat has reported that the Qatari government has reached an agreement with Egypt for building materials to enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing.
Journalist Fathy Sabah said that the head of the Qatari National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, Mohammed Al-Emadi, announced the deal for reconstruction projects worth $254 million. Al-Emadi said that the ban on the import of construction materials and equipment for building projects in Gaza has been completely lifted by Egypt. “That’s what we were informed by the Egyptian president.”
According to a report in Jordan’s Al Ghad newspaper, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will take all necessary measures to facilitate the entry of the materials. The news was relayed to the Palestinians during a telephone call between Morsi and the elected Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh. This will be the first time that building material will enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, which is normally used for human traffic only.
According to Ambassador Al-Emadi, Morsi also agreed to supply Gaza with the rest of the fuel allocated for Gaza’s power plant paid for by Qatar. He noted that only around one-third of the Qatari fuel has been sent to Gaza to-date. The Qatari ambassador said that he met with the head of Egyptian intelligence, Raafat Shehata, and informed him of Gaza’s needs, including the building materials and the fuel. After the ground-breaking meeting, Al-Emadi praised Egypt’s understanding.
Building materials have been banned from being imported into Gaza as part of the Israeli-led blockade of the Palestinian territory, despite the massive destruction caused by Israel during its assault and invasion of Gaza in 2008-9. It is believed to be the only example in modern history where the victims of such destruction have been prevented from rebuilding their homes and infrastructure.