Position Paper on the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip signed by more than one hundred and twenty Palestinian NGOs
The Gaza Strip has been suffering worsening economic and social crises for more than 15 years. These catastrophes have led to a severe deterioration in the living and humanitarian conditions due to the imposed siege, the impacts of the ongoing political division, and the repeated Israeli aggressions, the last of which was in May 2021.
Nearly two months have passed since the end of the latest Israeli attack that targeted the Strip in the midst of its many calamities. The military attacks against Gazans targeted civilians, civilian objects, and infrastructure, as 8,222 civilians continue to be displaced because of their destroyed houses.
Adding to that, nearly 250,000 citizens whose homes were partially damaged, are now suffering from their inability to repair their homes because of the continued ban on the entry of construction materials into the Strip.
The aggression also forced thousands of people to become unemployed after the Israeli bombings of their shops, factories, and other places of work including economic, industrial, agricultural, and civil facilities. Fears of renewing the attacks are looming on the horizon in light of the lack of prospects for a soon political solution.
The Israeli occupation authorities continue to tighten its siege to prevent and delay basic supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip. That includes the delay in the reconstruction of the destroyed parts in the recent attack, which is a flagrant disrespect to international agreements.
According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, international law prohibits collective punishment against civilians and considers it a war crime. Collective punishments are also considered crimes against humanity according to international conventions and international law.
Therefore, PNGO and the undersigned Palestinian NGOs affirm:
- The Israeli occupation state has caused the damage and losses incurred in the Gaza Strip and must bear full responsibility and be held accountable in international forums for humanitarian and economic crimes.
- The Palestinian citizens of the Strip must not be displaced anymore and urgently be provided the significant human and financial resources needed for the reconstruction process.
- The reconstruction needs to be neutralized from political differences, which entails working to support the victims, and enabling the affected people to return to their normal life as soon as possible.
- The Israeli-imposed blockade must be lifted immediately without putting any conditions or restrictions on the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, including the continuation of the GRM reconstruction mechanism.
Based on previous experiences in Gaza reconstruction programs and plans, PNGO and the civil society organizations believe that the reconstruction process must take place within a consensual national framework away from the political exploitation of the various parties.
It must adopt the form of social and national responsibility towards our Palestinian people to raise the voice of the victims and their just demands.
Also, the reconstruction process must take the form that defends the rights of the people based on achieving justice by rebuilding what was destroyed by Israel.
In the view the Palestinian NGOs, the following set of recommendations determine the context and extent of the reconstruction process:
First: Forming an unanimously agreed-upon national committee for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. The committee must include various parties of the Palestinian society - ministries, local councils, NGOs, private sector, affected population and women representatives.
The mission of such assembly is to plan for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip within a comprehensive vision. Their scope of work must include, planning, supervising, and controlling the reconstruction of the Strip in a framework of transparency in its Gaza headquarters. The committee must aim to avoid government bureaucracy acts, which may cause the affected people to wait longer to receive their deserved assistance.
Second: Carrying out the reconstruction process within a comprehensive and integrative vision to restore of all of what the Israeli occupation has destroyed over the previous years of attacks and crimes that had serious repercussions on the economic and social reality.
Third: Ensuring the participation of the people and facilities owners in all the reconstruction planning and control phases is a vital step. Also, it is important to adopt the building back better approach to reduce the risks of future disasters and shocks, and to freshen the local economy by relying on local resources from factories, companies, and personnel. Rehabilitating construction and contracting companies in the Gaza Strip, especially those that were destroyed as a result of the aggression, is considered equally important as well.
Fourth: Working towards providing quick solutions to all citizens who lost their homes by guaranteeing a decent shelter and meeting their needs until their homes are reconstructed.
Fifth: Striving to find international and Arab guarantees to protect Palestinians, facilities, and homes, and not to repeat the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, there must be assurances that allow reconstruction materials into Gaza and abolish previous international mechanisms for reconstruction, i.e., the GRM, and reject any conditions that restrict the reconstruction process.
Sixth: Refusing to reward the Israeli occupation and benefit it in any way from the reconstruction process by boycotting all Israeli products as well as companies that deal with the Israeli authorities. There must be an urge to support Arab building materials or materials from countries that support the rights of the Palestinians.
Seventh: Separating the funds allocated for reconstruction independently from the general budget. Also, a special fund must be allocated for these donations to monitor spending mechanisms. The existence of an independent fund enhances the process of social oversight and encourages donor countries to contribute to the reconstruction process strongly. This fund becomes the only channel for receiving donor funds, and the disbursement is made to institutions working in reconstruction by submitting program proposals for this fund.
Eighth: Considering the process of rebuilding the Gaza Strip as an opportunity to arrange the internal affairs, end the political division, restore the political system, enhance the state of solidarity and support, and bridge societal gaps.
Ninth: The international community must pressure to lift the unjust siege on the Gaza Strip, open the crossings completely, and ensure the freedom of movement of people and goods on an ongoing basis.
Tenth: Rehabilitating the agricultural sector must be a part of the reconstruction process. That includes the fishing sector, preserving the environment and green areas in the Gaza Strip, and finding the best ways to get rid of rubble.
Eleventh: Focusing on the water sector and establishing water projects that take into account the right to access Palestinian water sources, as well as fixing the electricity and power plant crisis.
Twelve: Reconstructing the headquarters of NGOs, universities, and public facilities that were destroyed and damaged as a result of the latest Israeli aggression.
Thirteen: Ensuring the continuity of the Gaza Strip with the West Bank as a single geographical and political unit for individuals and goods in both directions.
Fourteen: Rehabilitation and establishment of industrial zones to ensure the employment of workers and the development of the economic sector in the Strip.
Palestinian Farmers Union - Union of Health Care Committees - Union of Agricultural Work Committees -Union of Health Work Committees - Union of Palestinian Women Committees - General Union of Cultural Centers - Eastern Association for Agriculture and Development - Palestinian Relief and Development Association - Local Community Services Association - National Society for Rehabilitation - National Association for Democracy and Law - Global Movement for the Defense of Children - Arab Center for Agricultural Development / ACAD - Palestinian Center for Human Rights - Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development - Social Development Forum - Palestinian Medical Forum - International Commission for the Support of the Rights of the Palestinian People (HASHD) - Pal Think for Strategic Studies - Gaza Community Mental Health Program - Palestinian Medical Relief Society - Human Development Society - El Amal Rehabilitation Society/Rafah - Women's Programs Association _ Khanyounis /Nusirat - Rehabilitation and Social Training Association - Al-Taghreed Society for Culture and Art - Palestinian Agricultural Development Association (PARC) - The Culture and Free Thought Association - Public Aid Society - The Society of Women Graduates in Gaza Strip - Alrowwad cultural and arts society - Al-Rowwad Association for Palestinian Youth - Sahel Association for Development and Development - Al Sattar Garbee Association for Developing Countryside and Farmer -YWCA Palestine - Al-Atta Charitable Society - Women's Action Association for The Rehabilitation of Women and Children - ALFoukhary Association for Development and Culture - AL-Karmel Cultural and Social Development Association - Palestinian Working Women's Society for Development - Palestinian Center of Organic Agriculture - Al-Mustaqbal Charitable Society - Al-Manal Society for Developing the Rural Women - Youth Cultural Forum Association - Al-Mawasi Agricultural Cooperative Association – Rafah - Al Najda Social Association - Palestinian Red Crescent Society of the Gaza Strip - ElWedad Society for Community Rehabilitation - El Wafaa Charitable Society - Alwaleed charity - Ajyal Association for Creativity and Development - Palestinian Ard El Insan Palestinian Association - Friends of the Child Association - Afaq Jadeeda Association - Central Blood Bank Association - Bait Al-Mustaqbal Association - Baitona For Community Development - Besan Charitable Society - Palestinian Women Development Association - Youth Development Foundation - Rural Women’s Development Society - Jabalia Rehabilitation Society - Hanan for Culture and Social Development Association - Vision Society for Capacity Development - Zakher Association for Capacity Development of Palestinian Women - Aisha Association for Woman & Child Protection - Ghassan Kanafani Development Association - Palestine Association for Education and Environment Protection - Palestine Amputee Football Association - Palestine Association for Visually Impaired Persons - Society of Remedial Educational Center - El- Maghazi Cultural Center - Labor Resources Center - Khuza'a Permaculture Center Association - Sirb Center for Culture and Community Arts Association - Beit Lahia Youth Center - Hadaf Center for Human Rights - Virgin Mary Charity Society - Green House Farmers Association - Media Rights Advocacy Society - Al-Tawasol Forum Society - Watan Society for Heritage and Family Development - Wefaq for Women and Child - Basma Association for Culture and Arts - Disability Representative Body Network - The Palestinian Hydrology Group/Gaza - Gaza Culture & Development Group - Community Media Center - Center for Women Legal Research and Consultation - Palestinian Developmental Women Studies Association - Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights "Hurriyat" -Democracy and Workers' Rights Center in Palestine - Science & Culture Center - Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) - Teacher Creativity Center - Human Rights and Democracy Media Centers SHAMS - House of Law Youth Center - Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi Culture and Development Center - Women's Affairs Center - Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) - Gaza Urban Agriculture Platform - Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights - Tamer Institute for community Education - Al Salam Sports Club for People with Disabilities - Palestinian Physiotherapy Association - Palestine Doctors Syndicate - Southern Governorates - Youth House for Culture and Development Commission
Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO)