UN urges ‘political process’ amid Gaza reconstruction

A UN official in war-battered Gaza Sunday called for a “genuine political process” to avert further bloodshed, after the military conflict between Israel and Islamist group Hamas that ravaged the Palestinian enclave.

As thousands tried to put their lives together, top UN staff visited the territory after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire Friday halted 11 days of mutual bombardment, where they warned of the deep psychological trauma of violence.

On Sunday, in a badly damaged district of Gaza, volunteers swept up clouds of dust at the feet of collapsed buildings, while others shovelled debris onto the back of a donkey-drawn cart.

Israel air strikes on the Gaza Strip since May 10 have killed more than 200 Palestinians, rendered thousands homeless and laid waste to buildings and key infrastructure across the blockade territory.

It was the latest such bombardment to hit the crowded coastal strip of some two million people, after three previous wars with Israel since 2008.

Head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, said the construction needed to go hand in hand with efforts to create “a different political environment”.

“But this needs to be accompanied by a genuine political process”.

Speaking to media earlier, he said “The layers of hardship in Gaza keep getting thicker”, because of the root causes of the conflict have not been addressed.

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