4.5 years on from Israel assault, 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza still homeless

Semahir, member of the Palestinian Sahin family feeds her 8 months baby Selma as they break their fast, during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan in eastern part of wrecked Abasan Al-Kabira town of Khan Younis, in Gaza City, Gaza on May 28, 2017. Ali [Jadallah - Anadolu Agency ]

Semahir, member of the Palestinian Sahin family feeds her 8 months baby Selma as they break their fast, during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan in eastern part of wrecked Abasan Al-Kabira town of Khan Younis, in Gaza City, Gaza on May 28, 2017.

Some 13,000 Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip remain homeless, four-and-a-half years on from Israel’s destructive assault on the blockaded enclave.

During the 50 days of “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014, Israeli attacks caused significant damage to civilian infrastructure, with around 18,000 residential units either completely destroyed or heavily damaged. More than 100,000 Palestinians were left homeless – or 17,000 families.

According to an update from human rights NGO B’Tselem, about 20 per cent of the homes are still unusable today, and some 2,300 families – about 13,000 people – remain homeless.

READ: Palestinians have won a moral victory, but what will happen next? 

Around 1,600 of these families had been receiving rent subsidies from UNRWA, but following US funding cuts last year, UNRWA was forced to halt financial assistance.

“The destruction was caused by Israel’s unlawful open-fire policy, which included bombardment of civilians and civilian structures from the air, land and sea,” stated B’Tselem. According to the military’s own figures, “the scale of shelling during the operation was unprecedented: 35,000 artillery shells of different types and 14,500 tank shells, not including air raids.”

B’Tselem added that “Israel has abdicated any responsibility for the outcomes of its military actions during ‘Operation Protective Edge’ and has avoided paying any sort of price for them.”

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