Palestinians to build high-rises in vacated settlements

The Palestinians estimate that 250,000 housing units are needed in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) plans to exploit the disengagement plan for extensive infrastructure and rehabilitation projects. The Gaza Strip, already one of the most densely populations areas in the world, suffers from a chronic housing shortage, exacerbated by damage to homes from IDF anti-terrorism operations during the intifada. The first stage of these projects will be financed by donor nations, and built in areas vacated by Israel, which constitute 18% of the area of the Gaza Strip.

This is why the Palestinian leadership, well of aware of the burning need for housing in the Gaza Strip, is insisting on demolishing settlers houses, and will build high-rises on the sites. The PA plans to declare the land in Gush Katif as state-owned land, on which housing projects will be built. A special court will hear claims by the lands’ pre-1967 owners.

The Palestinians estimate that 250,000 housing units are needed in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and that 7,900 homes were demolished in these areas during the intifada.

The United Arab Emirates is the largest donor for housing projects. It financed the recently completed Sheikh Ziad 616-unit project, together with infrastructures and public buildings, is building a second 638-unit project, and last month announced that it would finance a third, 3,000-unit $100 million project in Gaza. Saudi Arabia also finances housing projects.

European countries and the US prefer investing in infrastructure development projects, such as a deep-water port in Gaza, expected to begin soon at a cost of $88 million, and rebuilding the Dehaniya airport, at a cost of $20 million. The US is also expected to fund a desalination facility in Gaza.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on August 14, 2005

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