Rebuilding Gaza after the latest devastating war between Israel and the territory’s militant Hamas rulers will cost up to USD 485 million, the World Bank said. The report says it will take up to $380 million to repair the physical damage alone, with more required for other recovery needs. Israel carried out waves of airstrikes during the 11-day conflict in May and Palestinian militants fired thousands of rockets, most of which were intercepted. More than 260 people were killed, the vast majority of them Palestinians.
Gaza has been under a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinians forces in 2007 and is still scarred from three previous wars between Israel and the Islamic militant group. The World Bank said the war caused up to $190 million in economic losses, in a territory where unemployment already hovered around 50%. It says over 4,000 homes were demolished or partially damaged.
This is yet another unfortunate episode in which the Palestinian people in Gaza saw themselves in the midst of conflict and destruction,” said Kanthan Shankar, the World Bank director for the West Bank and Gaza. The report, carried out with the United Nations and the European Union, was released Tuesday.
At least 254 people were killed in Gaza during this latest war, including 67 children and 39 women, according to the Gaza health ministry. Hamas has acknowledged the deaths of 80 militants. Twelve civilians, including two children, were killed in Israel, along with one soldier. Israel blamed the civilian losses on Hamas, which placed rocket launchers and other military infrastructure in residential neighborhoods. The military said it made every effort to spare civilians.
Gaza’s more than 2 million Palestinian residents have borne the brunt of recurrent conflicts and hostilities during the past three decades. Movement in and out of the territory is heavily restricted, power outages are frequent, and Gaza is also coping with a coronavirus outbreak.