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February 17, 2015 5:14 pm

Israel to Spend $300 Million Rebuilding Rocket Ravaged Southern Communities

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avatar by David Daoud

Gaza rocket hits Ashdod kindergarten playground Photo: IDF

Gaza rocket hits an Ashdod kindergarten playground Photo: IDF.

Israel’s National Emergency Authority in the Defense Ministry has begun a comprehensive rehabilitation project in Southern Israel’s communities bordering Gaza, Israel’s¬†Channel 2 reported on Tuesday.

Government officials noted that the objective is to improve the infrastructure¬† damaged by Hamas’ rockets during the summer’s Operation Protective Edge. Israel will also provide further aid to rebuild Gaza.

The Deputy Director of the Defense Ministry, Betzalel Treiber, met Tuesday with mayors in the region and updated them on the progress of the program.

The program is slated to cost $300 million, strengthening the dozens of communities hit by Hamas’ rockets during the campaign. The National Emergency Authority of the Defense Ministry will be responsible for carrying out the project, which is being supported by most governmental offices.

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The plan has taken into account the lessons learned from last summer’s war, and envisions the strengthening of the electrical infrastructure and the purchase of dozens of generators for local communities.

Road access will also be upgraded for 23 communities, sidewalks will be renovated and street lights will be placed along certain roads in those communities. An additional process being implemented by Home Front Command will include the renovation and construction of tens of kilometers of warning fences around the communities, and purchasing equipment for security and emergency personnel.

Treiber commented that, “implementing the national program to strengthen the communities near Gaza, with its many partners in various governmental offices, is the best expression of the Defense Ministry’s commitment to the residents of those communities, their safety and their welfare.” He added that, “components of the program will upgrade the emergency preparedness of those communities, creating a foundation for renewing their growth and expansion.”

The Authority has already begun the process of rebuilding, and to date has already finished repaving almost 650 kilometers of agricultural roads, at a cost of approximately $60 million. Forty-five communities near the border with Gaza have also undergone rehabilitation and renovation of their infrastructure, for almost $170 million.

Additionally, Israel has also confirmed that it will be sending relief to the Gaza Strip. The Coordinator of Governmental Activities in the Territories, General Yoav Mordechai, has resolved to advance civilian measures to assist residents in Gaza and rebuild the Gaza Strip. Part of these measures will include providing 45 tractors for agricultural purposes, increasing entry permits for authorized merchants from Gaza into Israel and Judea-Samaria, and expanding the marketing of agricultural and industrial products.

These steps are additional to those already implemented last year, which included increasing the number of individuals allowed into Gaza. Additionally, passes were given to residents of Gaza to travel abroad, mainly for higher education, and for medical teams from Gaza to enter Judea-Samaria and east Jerusalem for continued training.

To date, as part of the rehabilitation process of the Strip, which took heavy damage during the course of the Operation, Israel has allowed more than 62 thousand tons of construction material to enter through the Kerem Shalom crossing. According to statistics published today, 43 thousand Gazans have already purchased construction material to repair their damaged homes.

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