Fact Check: World Bodies Contradict Israeli Claims Over Gaza’s Infrastructure Damage

Fri Jul 05 2024
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GAZA: The Israeli occupation army claimed in a statement to the Yediot Ahronot newspaper that the Infrastructure destruction rate in Gaza was only 16% from the start of the war in October 2023 until the end of May 2024. They added that 36% of temporary and non-permanent constructions, such as sheds, apartments, camps, and agricultural sites in the Gaza Strip, were destroyed during the same period.

According to Israeli data, 35,952 permanent buildings were destroyed, while 84,276 temporary constructions were damaged. The Israeli army stated that these statistics were compiled using aerial maps drawn by the 9900 Air Force Brigade. They also mentioned that prior to the war, Gaza had 453,188 buildings, including 235,427 temporary constructions, with the remainder being permanent structures.

The occupation forces suggested that there may not be a significant change in the number of destroyed buildings in the future, anticipating a cessation of activities that would lead to further destruction.

They admitted that thousands of destroyed buildings were not necessarily associated with resistance factions or used by resistance fighters. Instead, they were demolished because of their proximity to the Israeli borders, aiming to establish a 1-kilometer-wide buffer zone between Israeli settlements and the Gaza Strip.

WE News analyzed the data presented by the occupation army regarding the destruction rate in Gaza and found discrepancies compared to other reports on the devastation in the area.

Below, WE News presents several reports detailing the destruction rate in Gaza since the beginning of the Israeli aggression.

United Nations: More Than Half of the Buildings in Gaza Were Damaged

The United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT) reported that over half of the buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged due to Israeli aggression since October 2023. According to UNOSAT, a total of 137,297 buildings in the Strip were affected, accounting for 55% of the total. Satellite image analysis revealed that 36,591 buildings were destroyed, 16,513 were severely damaged, 47,368 were moderately damaged, and 36,825 faced potential damage.

UNOSAT based its analysis on satellite images taken on May 3, 2023, comparing them with images of the Gaza Strip from May 2024. The analysis indicated that the governorates of Deir al-Balah and Gaza suffered the worst damage between April 1 and May 3.

UNRWA Reports: 62% of Gaza’s Buildings Destroyed

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) reported that the war in the Gaza Strip has damaged or destroyed approximately 62% of all houses. Additionally, 84% of health facilities have been affected.

UNRWA also noted that 625,000 children in Gaza are out of school due to the collapse of the education system. The agency emphasized the unprecedented destruction and its severe impact on the social and psychological well-being of women, youth, and vulnerable populations.

Government Media Office Reports 430,000 Housing Units Damaged

Contrary to the occupation’s claims, the government media office provided an update on the main statistics of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, dated June 27, marking the 265th day of the conflict. According to the report, the occupation completely destroyed 150,000 housing units, while 80,000 became uninhabitable due to damage. An additional 200,000 housing units were partially destroyed.


Josep Borrell: Over 60% of Gaza’s Infrastructure Damaged

European Union foreign policy official Josep Borrell, speaking before the European Parliament, compared the destruction in Gaza to that of German cities during World War II. Over 60% of Gaza’s physical infrastructure was damaged, with 35% completely destroyed, more than experienced by German cities during World War II, international media including Turkiye’s state-run news agency, Anadolu Agency quoted Josep Borrell as saying.

Borrell underscored the impact of Israeli aggression on Gaza and emphasized the necessity for Israel to adhere to international law. He called for the implementation of provisional measures mandated by the International Court of Justice to ensure the protection of all civilians.

Gaza’s Infrastructure 97% Damaged, $18.5B Recovery Cost:

The World Bank and United Nations joint Assessment Report on Gaza’s infrastructure, released on April 2, 2024, estimated the cost of damages at $18.5 billion, equivalent to 97% of the combined GDP of the West Bank and Gaza in 2022. The ongoing conflict has devastated approximately 62% of all homes in Gaza, totaling 290,820 housing units destroyed or damaged, leaving over a million people homeless and displacing 75% of the population.

Housing alone accounts for 72% of the total damage costs, valued at an estimated $13.3 billion. Public service infrastructure, including water, health, and education, represents 19% of the damage, while commercial and industrial buildings account for 9%. Damage rates in several sectors are stabilizing, as few assets remain untouched. The aftermath has left an estimated 26 million tons of debris and rubble, a monumental task requiring years to clear.

With 84% of health facilities damaged or destroyed and remaining facilities struggling due to power and water shortages, access to healthcare, medicine, and life-saving treatments is severely limited. The water and sanitation system is near collapse, delivering less than 5% of its previous capacity, forcing people to rely on scarce water rations. The education system has completely collapsed, with all children out of school. Additionally, 92% of primary roads and much of the communications infrastructure are in ruins, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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