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      Israel Okays Building Boom in Gaza

      Israel has given the go-ahead for a building project in Gaza. A massive amount of construction materials will be transferred.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 6/22/2011, 5:34 PM / Last Update: 6/22/2011, 7:55 PM

      United Nations Relief and Works Agency

      Israel has given its approval for a building project in Gaza that involves the construction of 1,200 new homes and 18 new schools, Israeli defense officials said Tuesday. 

      The project will be administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which sponsors some 200 schools across the Hamas terrorist-run region.

      Israel's approval is effective immediately, according to Defense Ministry spokesman Guy Inbar. Building materials will be brought into the region and signed over to UNRWA as soon as the agency is ready to start, he said.

      Jerusalem-based UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told reporters in response to the announcement, “We welcome this reported approval, which follows lengthy negotiations with the Israeli authorities. We hope this will help meet the needs of refugees, particularly those in the south of the Gaza Strip.”

      There have been similar, limited projects carried out in the past few months and even as far back as two years ago.

      Until recently, materials such as cement, gravel and metals were on the “no go” list for import into Gaza due to the potential use by Hamas and other terrorist groups in the manufacture of weapons and the construction of smuggler tunnels and military bunkers.

      At present, such materials are allowed to be brought into the region for specific projects by recognized, legitimate international organizations.