Legal, economic experts analyze reconstruction efforts in Gaza in Institute of Law symposium

Legal and economic experts discussed the economic situation and reconstruction efforts in Gaza in a symposium organized by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, in Gaza City.

The symposium, chaired by Ghassan Abuhatab, project coordinator at the Center for Development Studies, featured Maher Tabba’, director of public relations and media at the Gaza Chamber of Trade and Commerce, and Baker Turkmani, an attorney who works with the Independent Commission for Human Rights. 

In his opening speech, Tabba’ outlined the economic situation in Gaza after the 2014 Israeli assault, noting that “Recurring intrusions and military operations, coupled with the blockade that has entered its thirteenth year, exacerbate the already poor economic conditions in Gaza.” 

Tabba pointed out that reconstruction efforts place insufficient focus on the development of financial, banking, and business institutions, adding that post the 2014 war, the cost to Gaza’s economic infrastructure is estimated at more than $152 million, according to the National Team for Gaza Reconstruction, whereas funds dedicated to economic reconstruction are estimated to amount to  little more than $18 million.

In the subsequent presentation, Turkmani initially focused on the overall concept guiding reconstruction work, stressing that this concept must be clearly defined, as it will help rebuild the institutions and organizations that were destroyed in the Israeli wars on Gaza and influences the political relationship between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. 

Turkmani then emphasized the rising unemployment levels in Gaza, caused by the Israeli destruction of businesses that employed thousands of families, and noted that currently set up employment projects lack clear operating mechanisms and must show more transparency when choosing beneficiaries.  

Finally, Turkmani stressed the urgent need for a national reconstruction committee that has the sole authority to address and decide on reconstruction operations. Such a national reconstruction committee, he asserted, will help increase transparency and accountability.