25,000 Gazans to get access to construction materials to rebuild homes

UN and PA say coastal enclave to receive second round of building supplies along lines of trilateral mechanism also agreed upon with Israel.

Kerem Shalom Crossing (photo credit: REUTERS)
Kerem Shalom Crossing
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Some 25,000 homeowners in Gaza this week will begin to get access to building materials to reconstruct their homes under terms of a trilateral agreement reached by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the UN.
UN special envoy Robert Serry on Friday issued a statement saying that in the coming weeks all those in Gaza in need of building materials will be able to “access the mechanism” that will allow them to get the material.
As part of the understanding, Serry said, “material procured under the mechanism may only be used for their intended purpose and that the United Nations will undertake spot checks to monitor compliance.”
Under an arrangement reached last month to ensure that building materials needed to rebuild the thousands of homes destroyed in the seven-week Operation Protective Edge are not diverted to build terror tunnels or manufacture rockets, the UN is to present Israeli engineers with construction plans, and the engineers will determine how much cement is needed.
That cement then will be allowed into Gaza in stages, to enable inspection to ensure that it is being used for the designated purpose. If it is determined that the cement is being stolen and used for other purposes, the supply will stop.
A recent assessment conducted by the UN found that more than 100,000 homes in Gaza remained damaged or destroyed.
The first batch of construction materials since the Gaza military operation in the summer entered the Strip from Israel in September.
Despite Israeli restrictions, Palestinians have, over the years, used the smuggling tunnels along the border with Egypt to bring in construction materials, but the recent Egyptian security clampdown on the passages created a severe shortage.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.