According to the UN, at least 3,695 homes have been completely destroyed while another 4,235 are damaged, but not beyond repair. Bombs have pounded 133 schools and 22 health centres, stadiums, playgrounds, mosques, roads, power and water supplies, sewage treatment plans, phone towers, communications centres, police stations and government buildings.

The Palestinian Housing Ministry estimates the costs of repairing homes far surpasses € 600 million. The total costs of reconstruction could be in the region of € 4 billion so far.

In the short term, the urgent humanitarian relief effort will entail many hundreds of million dollars of emergency aid.  Treating the tens of thousands of wounded and traumatized, the homeless and penniless, the unemployed and already desperately poor will itself be a tremendous task. The destruction of essential public utilities, power plant, water provision, and sewage treatment, will further burden an already badly deteriorated infrastructure, with the full cost probably running into the billions.  

The actual reconstruction of the Gaza Strip is less certain a matter, and will be highly dependent on ceasefire arrangements for border crossings, the speed with which donors are mobilized and the PA’s own capacities to design and manage an effective reconstruction program of such a scale. Once the war is over, the PA plans to call on all the countries of the world to assist in the rebuilding of Gaza. But where will the money come from? Shouldn't Israel be compelled to pay the lion’s share of the reconstruction costs? 

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