Israel-Hamas War: U.S. Strikes Houthis Again as Tensions in Region Rise

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A picture taken from southern Israel shows destroyed buildings in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.Credit…Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The chairman of the Palestinian Investment Fund estimated on Wednesday that it would cost at least $15 billion to rebuild destroyed housing units in the Gaza Strip.

Mohammad Mustafa, chairman of the fund — a state-owned corporation overseen by the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank — said during a talk at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that it would cost about $100,000 to rebuild a single housing unit, and at least 350,000 housing units have been damaged or destroyed. Rebuilding even half of them would cost $15 billion, he said.

Mr. Mustafa did not say how he arrived at his estimates, though he said the number of destroyed units was based on “international reports.”

Mr. Mustafa declined to offer a figure for the total price tag for restoring Gaza when asked, saying it was too early to give an estimate. He also said that reconstructing Gaza would require rebuilding damaged or destroyed hospitals and other infrastructure, not just housing units.

Like other Palestinian officials, Mr. Mustafa also said that reconstruction could begin only after the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza abates and Israel ends its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

“The financial needs are huge, but again, as we said earlier, that money will not solve Gaza’s problems,” he said, speaking to a room of about 60 people. “It’s going to take more than that. It’s going to take political solutions and it will take also logistical revolution.”

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza has left many towns in the enclave in ruins and has killed more than 24,000 Palestinians, according to Gazan health officials.

Since the war began on Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked Israeli towns and killed 1,200 people, Israeli airstrikes have leveled many neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip, particularly in the north.

Israeli tanks have bulldozed farming communities, and houses have been torn down by Israeli soldiers, according to video and satellite imagery verified by The New York Times. The United Nations estimated in mid-December that, based on satellite imagery, about 60 percent of homes in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed.

It remains unclear who will govern Gaza after the war, much less who would oversee and pay for reconstruction. The United States has proposed letting the Palestinian Authority administer the enclave, as it does in parts of the West Bank, but the Israeli government has not agreed, insisting Israel must maintain control of security there.

Last week, Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said after a round of shuttle diplomacy that Arab countries have not agreed to pay for rebuilding Gaza, though they might consider doing so if Israel agrees to a pathway toward a Palestinian state. Qatar has previously been a key financier in Gaza’s past rebuilding efforts.

Both Palestinian and Israeli officials have said it will take an international effort to rebuild Gaza.

Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, recently called for a “multinational task force” to oversee Gaza’s reconstruction and economic development after the war, if Israel were to defeat Hamas. On Tuesday, a Palestinian diplomat accused Israel of trying to make the Gaza Strip uninhabitable and said that reconstruction would require a “massive international humanitarian effort.”

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Israel-Hamas War: U.S. Strikes Houthis Again as Tensions in Region Rise

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