Gaza residents await reconstruction in wake of Israeli war crimes
US Pledges $212 million during conference this week in Cairo
By Mohammed Asad with Ray Hanania
Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip await word from the reconstruction conference being held in Cairo, Egypt of Arab World leaders on when they might see the rebuilding of their homes, which were destroyed during Israel’s 51-day War Crimes assaults in July and August 2014.
The Israeli military launched a massive military assault against the Gaza Strip in a political move claiming, falsely, that Hamas had been responsible for the murder of three Israeli teenagers after they were kidnapped on June 12, 2014 from near an illegal Jewish-only West Bank settlement. Although Israeli claimed to be conducting a hunt to save the teenagers, Israel knew from the desperate last minute telephone call from one of the victims, that they had been killed.
In anger and rage, and to satisfy the bloodlust of Israel’s increasing radicalized society, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military to kill as many Palestinians as possible during the 51 day revenge attacks. About 2,200 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers, more than 85 percent were civilians. Among the murdered by Israel were more than 500 babies, children, infants and teenagers. International human rights organizations have denounced the Israeli brutality as war crimes that rival massacres that took place during World War II against the Jewish people.
Three Israeli civilians and only 64 Israelis soldiers were killed in the Israeli war crimes assault that began on July 7, 2014.
In addition to murdering the Palestinian civilians, the Israelis sought to destroy and raze whole neighborhoods of Palestinian civilians. Shujaiyya in Gaza was one of a dozen civilian towns destroyed by Israel as a form of collective punishment employed by Israel’s war criminal government. After destroying the homes and murdering civilians Israel’s war machine issued press releases to cover up their crimes, claiming that Shujaiyya was a “Hamas fortress for weapons storage.”
But Israeli forces found very few weapons reminding the world of the lies of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (WMDs) used to invade and massacre civilians in Iraq by the U.S. Military in 2003.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the devastation caused by Israel in its revenge binge in the Gaza Strip could top $4 billion in order to rebuild thousands of homes, schools, government buildings and hospitals that were destroyed by Israeli soldiers. In many instances, Israel destroyed schools while children were huddled in the building causing the death toll of children to rise dramatically.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged only $212 million in reconstruction aid while Israel refused to pledge any funds as their forces continue to sporadically fire missiles and mortars at Palestinian targets. The Obama Administration has committed and donated a total of $400 million including $118 million already given to the rebuilding o Gaza and $84 million given to UNRWA, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency which was created to assist Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel since 1948.
Official Palestinian and human rights organizations estimate that in addition to the murdered civilians, more than 10,000 homes were completely destroyed and thousands more were severely damaged. He said more than 100,000 civilians have been made homeless by Israeli brutality and war crimes.
The heavy civilian casualties and mass murders by Israel did not dissuade growing calls for the removal of Hamas from the Gaza Strip and the restoration of the Palestinian National Authority government in the Gaza Strip. Many donors, such as Norway, said their assistance will be hinged on conditions that the money be managed by the Abbas government, and not Hamas.
Here is a photo array from war corresponder and photographer Mohammed Asad, whose own home was destroyed intentionally by Israeli soldiers during the war crimes assault, showing Palestinian survivors of the Gaza holocaust and devastation.
(Mohammed Asad is a war correspondent and a photographer based in the Gaza Strip. His home in Shujaiyya was destroyed during the Israeli war crimes assault. Mohammed can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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