Four years after the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and wide-scale destruction of civilian property, hundreds of Palestinian families suffer due to the stalled reconstruction process of their destroyed homes. Those families live in unbearable conditions without adequate shelter for the fourth consecutive year, as they are unable to pay rent for their temporary housing units due to the overall deterioration of living conditions, especially economic, in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, hundreds of affected families suffer from their inability to cope in the temporary housing units that do not fit their needs and hinders their access to health and education services.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) launched a new report titled “Four Years without Adequate Shelter”, that addresses the humanitarian tragedy of these families, and discusses the slow progress in reconstructing destroyed houses. Reconstruction has not been initiated in thousands of housing units, while thousands of others are still under reconstruction despite more than 4 years passing since the Israeli offensive ended.
This report discusses the challenges facing the reconstruction process, identifying three main obstacles: a. the failure of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) to address the needs of reconstructing houses; b. the Israeli restrictions on the entry of construction materials to the Gaza Strip; and c. donors’ delay in delivering their pledged contributions towards GRM.
This report also addresses the sufferings of the families who are still living in temporary housing units, lack adequate housing, and living under harsh living conditions. This situation was exacerbated by the financial crisis of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which restricted funds aiding these families in paying rent since July 2018.
The continued denial of displaced families’ right to adequate housing is a flagrant violation of their human rights; and the Israeli attacks against civilian property constitute a violation of international humanitarian law, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the destruction of property in an occupied territory by the occupying power.