EU sources have revealed that Israel is profiting from reconstruction efforts in the Gaza strip by effectively blocking all non-Israeli material into the enclave. It is claimed that Israel's economy benefits from this "deliberate" tactic in the region of millions of dollars.
Whilst no formal Israeli ban prevents the importing of reconstruction materials made outside Israel, EU sources speaking on condition of anonymity say that in practice, Israeli security demands mean that a de facto ban is in place.
“If you want aid materials to be permitted to enter, they will almost inevitably come from Israeli sources,” an EU official said. “I don’t think you’ll find it written down anywhere in official policy, but when you get to negotiate with the Israelis, this is what happens. It increases construction and transaction costs, and is a political problem that has to be dealt with.”
Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime ministers’ office, denied claims that Israel’s entry policy to Gaza prevented non-Israeli-made reconstruction materials from entering the Strip.
“It is outrageous that a country which has just demolished 25,000 houses is demanding that their construction industry benefit from rebuilding them at the expense of the international community,” one Western diplomat told EurActiv.