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Senior OQR officials visit Gaza to discuss recovery efforts
Friday, Sep 12, 2014 in Office of the Quartet Representative
Acting Head of Mission of the Office of the Quartet Representative, Dr. Tim Williams, visited Gaza this week as part of OQR’s efforts to aid in the recovery efforts for Gaza, in coordination with the international community.
Dr. Williams and associated staff spent two days in Gaza discussing a range of issues, including electricity supply to Gaza, the water infrastructure, and movement and access. To this end, they visited the Gaza Power Plant, damaged water infrastructure at several sites, as well as border crossings. In the village of Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis, they witnessed some of the most intense damage to housing. They also met with private sector business people to hear about the difficulties they face in restoring their businesses, as well as the prospects for encouraging economic activity in the coming weeks and months. In meetings with Minister of Labour, Mr Mamoun AbuShahla, and Minister of Public Works and Housing, Mr Mofeed Al-Hasayneh, the OQR delegation discussed the upcoming AHLC meeting in New York, as well as the Cairo Conference, and the international community’s role in assisting in the recovery efforts for Gaza.
Dr. Williams told interlocutors that Quartet Representative Tony Blair and the Office’s strategy is, firstly, to complement the emergency response and immediate re-building efforts led by the UN and other agencies with a framework for eventual economic recovery; and secondly to strengthen the Palestinian government’s ability to effectively govern the whole of the Palestinian Territories, including Gaza. He added that only through provision of reliable, sustainable livelihoods and effective governance by the Palestinian Authority will future stability and security be assured.
This was the first delegation of senior OQR staff to gain access to Gaza following the summer conflict (an advisor who is based in Gaza was on the ground throughout), and additional staff will be visiting in the coming period.
Dr. Williams commented after the visit: “It was startling to see the level of destruction, and the immense impact on the daily lives of ordinary Gazans: the damage to roads, homes, schools, clinics and basic infrastructure including water, electricity and sewage. Residents are extremely concerned that materials for reconstruction are not coming in fast enough. The key now is to ensure that the recovery efforts start immediately and that this is part of a long-term, durable approach to Gaza that ultimately sees it reopened, and reunited with the West Bank.”
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