As many as 121 new projects to build infrastructure and improve the quality of life in the Gaza Strip were recently approved by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). The projects will be funded by international organizations working closely with the District Coordination and Liaison office (DCL), responsible for communication between the IDF and the Palestinian populations. The main organizations involved are UNRWA, UNDP and the Red Cross.
The projects will cost a total of approximately $100,000,000. Prior to the Israeli government’s new policy toward the Palestinian population in Gaza launched in July 2010, there were just tens of projects taken on. Today, in addition to the 121 being carried out, COGAT is considering an 19 additional projects.
Widespread construction has already begun and building materials transferred to their allotted locations in the Gaza Strip. These projects include the building of 800 new homes in Rafah, Khan Yunis and Gaza city, and 33 educational projects under which 20 new schools will be built and funded by UNRWA. A total of 1,000 farms will start growing food to alleviate daily needs and improve their financial situation, for which advanced farming equipment has been donated.
In addition, 14 projects will improve medical infrastructures and four new medical centers will be built. Existing wards will also be upgraded. Sanitation levels will improve as well, with five sewage treatment centers. Twenty-eight projects dealing with water and water sanitation and two comprehensive electricity projects will also be undertaken.
In order to fund these projects, the Gaza Strip’s economy will be bolstered. Some projects will take a number of years to be completed and many tons of construction material are scheduled to enter the Gaza Strip. TheDCL and international organizations will keep track of their movement to ensure that terrorist organizations do not use them to build bunkers for their operatives, for example.
Many buildings damaged by IDF activities have been rebuilt lately. The flour mill Sa Al-Bader, for example, damaged by tank fire during Operation Cast Lead (IDF soldiers were fired at intensively by Hamas operatives stationed in the flour mill’s vicinity, and shot toward it in response), was rebuilt a few months ago.