Report: Israel to allow transfer to Gaza of construction materials for 10 UN projects

December 8, 2013. Palestinian sources have told Gisha that Israel would allow construction materials to enter the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing for 10 projects implemented by UNRWA. The construction materials are due to enter the Gaza Strip as of this Tuesday.

Israel has said that if the construction materials are supplied to UNRWA projects only and do not end up in the hands of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, it would allow construction materials to enter for other international organizations and for other UNRWA projects. This condition was stipulated despite the fact that international organizations have to follow a strict and arduous approval process in order to buy construction materials from Israel in the first place. The protocol includes a stipulation to document how the materials are guarded during the construction process.

On October 13, Israel prohibited the transfer of construction materials into the Gaza Strip, both for the private sector and for international organizations. As a result, many international projects were put on hold, including 20 UNRWA projects.

The construction sector has been the main driving force for economic growth in the Gaza Strip in 2013, generating 70,000 jobs. Many of those employed worked on internationally funded projects such as schools, community centers and classrooms. Gaza’s unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2013 was 32.5%.