Israel bans lumber shipments to the Gaza Strip 

A Palestinian policeman stands guard as trucks transporting construction materials enter Gaza Strip

April 6, Gaza, Israeli authorities has ban lumber shipments to the Gaza Strip, Palestinian importers said on Monday, adding to restrictions that could hamper housing reconstruction after last summer’s war.

Among the banned goods are pinewood, steel pipes and welding rods, Palestinian border official Mounir al-Ghalban told the Anadolu Agency? Israeli authorities also slapped a ban on the entry of goods imported by Ten Palestinian Companies, he added.

During Israel‘s 51-day offensive last year, 15,671 housing units across the Gaza Strip were damaged, including 2,276 that were completely destroyed, according to official Palestinian figures. More than 2,160 Gazans, mostly civilians, were killed – and another 11,000 injured – during seven weeks of unrelenting Israeli bombardments last July and August.

The offensive finally ended on August 26 with the announcement of an indefinite cease-fire with Palestinian resistance factions, following the cease-fire, Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, unveiled plans to impose strict oversight on the use of construction materials to rebuild Gaza.

Last October in Cairo, 50 countries pledged a total of $5.4 billion to the Palestinian government, half of which was earmarked for reconstruction of the devastated Gaza Strip.

Israel frequently voices fears that building supplies, especially cement, will be used by Palestinian factions in Gaza to build tunnels and military fortifications.                                   The Oslo Times


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