symmetry USPeace
Munich American Peace Committee (MAPC)

Visiting Gaza

Translation of an interview on the situation of the building sector in Gaza with
Prof. Shafik M. Jendia
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the Islamic University of Gaza

Here in Gaza we have lived for years under a siege. The area is totally closed off. And as far as building materials are concerned, nothing comes in.

Anyway, we have tried to partly utilize as recycling material whatever can still be used from the destroyed buildings. We get a lot of building material when we take apart the destroyed concrete and the like into small aggregates. And then we try to get cement now via Egypt, though only on a small scale, because it is expensive.

Therefore we try to mix in these aggregates and produce concrete etc.. Also the old iron. We try to straighten the old core iron and then we can possibly use it again. In reality this does not solve the problem. We hope that this siege will be lifted by all means and that everything can enter again, so that people can rebuild their houses that were destroyed by this war, this war of agression.
There is another use for these materials. They are used for the road works, i.e. as base layer under the asphalt. A number of roads in Gaza were paved that way.

Asphalt is not allowed in either?

Asphalt is not allowed in. Now we are using a paving technique.

That seems to work pretty well?

Yes, we have this paving method, and this pavement is again made from recycled material and we have tried it this way. Naturally the traffic problem is not solved, but partially we were able to fix some patches or some stretches of road. And therefore using the materials from these destroyed buildings, we can say, we have found a small solution. It is not a proper solution, it is not the final solution. And we expect that maybe – hopefully – the area will be opened again and the access to Gaza will improve. And hopefully there will be peace on this earth and we can also live well with all the other people on this earth.

Can you say something about glass? Glass is not allowed in either.

Glass also comes in via Egypt. But glass we have also tried as recycling material in the plate building technique, we have shredded it as an additive for the surface of the roads, we have used it that way. We have looked for ways to reuse this glass.

But you cannot produce window panes yourself?

No, principally not. All the industrial institutions were destroyed, however, even before the war we had no heavy industry. Glass was always imported. We may have cut it or something like that. In most cases that was the maximum. Now I see glass on the market. Apparently it now comes through Egypt.

I think Israel has let in small amounts now also.

That also in part, yes.

Well. That describes in a few words what the situation is like.

Yes. I hope that when you come back the next time you will possibly find a better Gaza.