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No proof that construction material used for 'military purposes' in Gaza, insists UN

The head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stressed on Sunday that there is no proof that the construction material entering Gaza through his organisation was used for "military purposes", Safa news agency has reported.

Robert Piper's comment was made in a film broadcast by Sky News about the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. The UN official's statement refutes Israel's claims that it has blocked cement going into Gaza because it has information that the material is used for such purposes.

In the film, Piper said that the UN had brought about 1.2m tons of construction materials to Gaza. He noted that the reconstruction of the devastated territory is going in the right direction.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) official who is responsible for the reconstruction file, Mohamed Ishtea, has said that some donors have not paid their pledges made in the Cairo Conference, which amounted to $5.4 billion. Part of this was intended for the PA treasury, with $2.7 billion for reconstruction. Ishtea noted that Hamas and all Palestinian factions have accepted the Israel-UN reconstruction plan in order to start the reconstruction, but the US plan is still an obstacle.

The head of PalThink in Gaza, Omar Sha'ban, said that the PA uses the reconstruction conferences to get money to cover its budget deficit. "Whenever the PA proposes development plans, it mixes between the reconstruction of Gaza and its own financial needs in order to get billions for its treasury," he claimed. The think-tank chief also accused the UN of replacing the Israeli siege with another one by placing very strict rules on the import of cement.

Photos: On International Workers' Day, Gaza's workers live in 'disastrous' conditions

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