November 4, 2010

UN: Gaza construction materials delayed


Ma'an - GAZA CITY – Less than 200 truckloads of food and commercial goods were slated to enter the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, Palestinian liaison officials said.

The goods, crossings official Raed Fattouh said, would be transported via the southernmost crossing Kerem Shalom, and would be transferred into Gaza along with limited amounts of industrial diesel and cooking fuel.

According to reports by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, current import levels - controlled by new terms of siege established by Israel following a global outcry in June - remain less than 40 percent of pre-siege levels.

The latest report on the crossing from the UN body said the import of construction materials, which remain strictly controlled by Israeli officials, and banned, except for projects under international supervision - remains limited.

Projects spearheaded by the UN Relief and Works Agency, the main body charged with the care of Palestinian refugees in the Near East, have been delayed by Israeli border officials, the report said.

Of the 1.7 percent of building projects approved for Gaza, OCHA said, Israeli officials have only allowed a small fraction of the supplies necessary for reconstruction into the coastal enclave.

Citing capacity constraints of the conveyor belt at the northern bulk goods crossing, Karni, the report said only 39 of 226 truckloads of materials requested by UNRWA for the projects, mainly clinics and schools, have entered Gaza.

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