Denying assertions that Hamas had already agreed to a United Nations role in the reconstruction of Gaza, the terrorist group says that only Palestinians should be in charge of it, The Times of Israel reported on Tuesday.
Deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk claimed that Hamas was never shown the “Serry plan,” named for United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry, insisting the massive reconstruction project be the exclusive domain of the Palestinian unity government. Donor states have pledged $5.4 billion for reconstruction of Gaza.
“A number of officials have claimed that Abu Marzouk agreed to the plan, which is a bald-faced lie, so I say the following: During the indirect negotiations in Cairo we rejected the U.N. as a recognized party to construction,” Abu Marzouk said in a statement, referring to the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas in August.
“The international envoy’s plan was never presented to us,” he added.
According to Serry’s office, the Palestinian government is responsible for the repair of damaged homes as well as large-scale private and public sector projects. The U.N. will continue building schools, clinics and “supporting the provision of basic utilities” as it did prior to Operation Protective Edge.
Meanwhile, Palestinian officials say that the U.N. has nearly completed its oversight mechanism for materials entering the Gaza Strip. The operation will employ hundreds of local and foreign workers, and will allow the U.N. to hire overseas companies to help in the supervision.
Serry’s office was not available for comment.