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One year after Israeli war, Gaza conditions still bad

A Palestinian worker clears the rubble of a destroyed building on the first anniversary of the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza City on May 10, 2022 [Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]
A Palestinian worker clears the rubble of a destroyed building on the first anniversary of the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza City on May 10, 2022 [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]

A year ago, Israel launched a deadly 11-day military offensive on the Gaza Strip that left a mass trail of destruction across the Palestinian territory.

One year after the assault, Palestinians are yet to recover from the repercussions of the war that worsened the already bad economic conditions for the territory's two million people.

Around 250 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured in hundreds of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza during the war. Thirteen Israelis were also killed in Palestinian rocket fire from the Strip during the course of the conflict.

According to local authorities in Gaza, the Israeli offensive has caused material losses of around $479 million.

The conflict erupted against the backdrop of tension in occupied East Jerusalem over an Israeli court ruling to evict a number of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in favour of Jewish settlers.

During the Israeli war, Palestinians have reported at least 19 Israeli massacres, in which 91 Palestinian civilians were killed, including 41 children and 25 women.

The violence, the worst in years, came to halt on 21 May 2021 under an Egyptian-brokered truce.

Catastrophic conditions

The Palestinian Information Office estimates that more than 120,000 people were displaced from their homes as a result of the Israeli assault.

At least 300 residential buildings were also destroyed in Israeli attacks, in addition to 2,075 housing units that were entirely damaged and 15,000 others partially damaged.

Around 24 health centres, 46 schools, 490 agricultural facilities and 300 economic facilities were also damaged in the onslaught, according to the same source.

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A total of 42 media buildings were further destroyed, most notably the offices of the Qatari Al Jazeera news channel and the American news agency Associated Press.

Mustafa Ibrahim, a Palestinian political analyst, said Gaza's residents still live in very difficult economic conditions, one year after the Israeli war.

"The impact of the Israeli aggression is still evident amid a slow reconstruction process in Gaza," he told Anadolu Agency.

The analyst blamed the slow pace of reconstruction for the "failure of donor countries to fulfil their pledges."

"The role of the Arab countries in the Gaza reconstruction process has also dwindled," he noted.

Collective punishment

The political analyst said the years' long Israeli siege on Gaza and restrictions imposed by Tel Aviv were to blame for the slow reconstruction process in Gaza.

Gaza has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007 when the Palestinian group, Hamas, seized control of the seaside territory from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

"The ongoing inter-Palestinian division is also negatively impacting conditions in the Palestinian territories, particularly Gaza," Ibrahim said.

"Any delay in the reconstruction process is considered a collective punishment of Gaza's civilians," he warned.

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Ibrahim noted that the global price hikes of food and basic commodities due to the Ukraine war are adding more pressure on poor Palestinians in Gaza.

"This crisis has affected all countries, including rich nations," he added, going on to warn of "catastrophic" conditions in Gaza if the current humanitarian crisis continues.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Gaza's unemployment rate reached 47 per cent.

"The continuation of the humanitarian crisis, in addition to poverty and unemployment, could push the situation in Gaza to an explosion," Ibrahim cautioned.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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