RAMALLAH, Jan. 17 (KATAKAMI.COM / Xinhua) — Hamas will rebuild all houses that were destroyed or damaged during Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip two years ago, its leader in Gaza announced Sunday.
“We have got the money to complete the first phase of the project and we will lay the cornerstone within 48 hours,” said Ismail Haneya, the deposed premier of Hamas’ government.
Haneya made his announcement during a conference in Gaza City. He did not reveal where his government got the money from.
In March 2009, international donors, meeting in the Red Sea Egyptian resort of Sharm Al-Sheikh, pledged more than 4 billion U. S. dollars to rebuild houses and infrastructure that was destroyed in Israel’s three-week offensive in the winter of 2008-09.
However, the international projects could not begin because the international community doesn’t deal with Hamas.
Pledging that the project will include “every destroyed house,” Haneya added that the reconstruction “is a clear message to everybody who bet on the fall” of the Islamic movement which seized Gaza by force in 2007.
The Israeli assault, codenamed Operation Cast Lead, left some 1, 400 Palestinians dead and destroyed thousands of structures, most of them houses.
Hamas, which won parliamentary elections in 2006, tightened its grip on Gaza after it routed security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and ousted his Fatah party, leaving the Palestinian National Authority confined to the West Bank. (*)