Eight months after a ruinous war with Israel, the reconstruction of Gaza has barely begun, and the Islamic militant group Hamas remains entrenched despite expectations that it cede some of its power to West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The logic was that the Western-backed Abbas would be a more effective and credible conduit for aid. In addition, with Abbas wielding some control in Gaza, including at border crossings, Israel and Egypt might have been more likely to ease their blockade of the territory, letting in more goods.
Instead, each side has protected its own turf — Hamas in Gaza and Abbas’ Fatah party in the West Bank — by clamping down on dissent.
Aid agencies and analysts say that prospects for recovery have been hampered by the political wrangling from Hamas and Fatah, the continued embargo and a slow response from donor countries.
Conditions in Gaza, meanwhile, are deteriorating. The Association of International Development Agencies said in a report issued Monday that partially damaged apartments are being repaired, but none of more than 12,000 destroyed homes has been rebuilt. About 100,000 displaced Gaza residents still live in classrooms, tents or rented apartments.
The situation has heightened tensions and dissatisfaction among the 1.8 million Gazans, who have endured both the blockade and three wars with Israel since Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007.
Politicians have delivered only slogans and not relief, said Sufian Wadiya, 36, who has been living with his wife and nine children in a U.N. school since his home was destroyed. “There are no signs of good solutions,” he said.