Gaza rebuild: UN agencies have not calculated a price for reconstruction

Turkey and Qatar have been the largest regional contributors to Gaza’s reconstruction efforts in the past

While Israel, the West and the Arabs debate what sort of administration will take over in Gaza once Israel’s war with Hamas is over, the West seems to assume that oil-rich Gulf rulers will assume some of the cost of rebuilding Gaza. This could mean reconstruction of half of Gaza’s homes, 45 per cent of schools, two dozen hospitals, 50 public buildings, the sole power plant, three water and six sewage pumping stations and six water desalination plants.

While UN agencies have not calculated a price for reconstruction, the Britain-based New Arab website has reported this could amount to $50 billion (€46 billion), considering the massive scale of devastation.

On Sunday, Israeli warplanes bombed the Qatar-funded $400 million Hamad City complex in Khan Younis. Inaugurated in 2016, the complex consisted of 54 residential buildings, a mosque, two schools, shops and a garden. More than 1,000 flats were given to Palestinians whose homes had been destroyed during Israel’s 2014 bombing campaign. The Hamad City Israeli strikes followed Friday’s collapse of temporary ceasefire talks mediated by Qatar, which Israel accused of bias toward Hamas.

Hospitals provided by Indonesia, Turkey and the Anglican Church have also been seriously damaged by Israeli bombs and are not functioning, angering donors and making them hesitate over financing repairs and reconstruction despite the desperate shortage of health care facilities.


During the recent pause in fighting, patients were evacuated to the Khan Younis European hospital, which is run by Unrwa, the United Nations agency aiding Palestinian refugees, who comprise 70 per cent of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants.

Following Israel’s 2008-2009, 2012, 2014, and 2021 wars on Gaza, a combined total of $9.7 billion-$11.7 billion was pledged for reconstruction but funds were not fully paid and rebuilding has been incomplete.

While regional donors, including oil-rich Gulf states, have delivered urgently needed food, medicine, field hospitals and other humanitarian aid, they are unlikely to meet Western expectations by investing tens of billions in reconstruction unless there are there are guarantees that Gaza will not face a similar Israeli military campaign. They may also insist that Israel must not be allowed to maintain its blockade of Gaza and restrict the entry of construction materials and equipment. Previous post-war rebuilding has been hindered, slowed and made more expensive by Israeli interference.

During last month’s Arab and Islamic summit in Riyadh, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to rebuild hospitals, schools and destroyed infrastructure but insisted that Israel pay reparations, although Israel has never paid compensation to any Palestinians for losses in any war.

Turkey and Qatar have been the largest regional contributors to Gaza’s reconstruction efforts in the past.

Michael Jansen

Michael Jansen

Michael Jansen contributes news from and analysis of the Middle East to The Irish Times