Rebuilding Gaza will take 20 years, group says

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Rebuilding Gaza will take 20 years, group says
A Palestinian boy holds an umbrella as he rests in front of the damaged Nada Towers residential neighborhood in the town of Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire halting the Gaza war held into Monday morning, allowing Palestinians to leave homes and shelters as negotiators agreed to resume talks in Cairo. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians inspect the rubble and salvage items from the Al-Zafer apartment tower following Israeli airstrikes Saturday that collapsed the 12-story building, in Gaza City, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. The army said the Gaza City apartment tower was targeted because a Hamas command center operated from there. The weekend strikes by Israel marked the first time large buildings were toppled signaling a new escalation in seven weeks of fighting with Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians walk near the damaged Italian Complex high-rise following several late night Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians inspect the damage of a Rafah commercial center after an Israeli strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. The Gaza police operation room reported three airstrikes on a Rafah commercial center, which consists of two floors and includes 100 shops. The building almost collapsed and a huge fire erupted in the shops. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)
Palestinians look at the rubble of the 15-story Basha Tower that was destroyed in early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. Both buildings were evacuated after receiving warnings of impending strikes. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A Palestinian family looks from a window to the rubble of the collapsed 15-story Basha Tower following early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A ball of fire rises from an explosion following an Israeli air strike on the house of Nafez Azzam, a leader for Islamic Jihad leader, one hour before the announcement of the cease-fire between Palestinians and Israelis, in Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
A ball of fire rises from an explosion following an Israeli air strike on the house of Nafez Azzam, a leader for Islamic Jihad leader, one hour before the announcement of the cease-fire between Palestinians and Israelis, in Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
Palestinians inspect the damage to the Italian Complex following several late night Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians have a coffee next to the rubble of the 15-story Basha Tower that collapsed from early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Tuesday's strikes leveled the Basha Tower with apartments and offices and severely damaged another high-rise, the Italian Complex, built in the 1990s by an Italian businessman, with dozens of shops and offices. Both buildings were evacuated after receiving warnings of impending strikes. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians rest amid the rubble of the 15-story Basha Tower that was leveled in early morning Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. Both buildings were evacuated after receiving warnings of impending strikes. The wall painting depicts the pilgrimage to Mecca or Haj. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian firefighters extinguish a fire in the rubble of the destroyed 15-story Basha Tower that was leveled in early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. Both buildings were evacuated after receiving warnings of impending strikes. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians salvage items from the rubble of the destroyed 15-story Basha Tower, following early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. Both buildings were evacuated after receiving warnings of impending strikes. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian doctor treats an injured child, following an Israeli airstrike on a building, at the treatment room of al Najar hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
Palestinians inspect the rubble of the destroyed 15-story Basha Tower following early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. Both buildings were evacuated after receiving warnings of impending strikes. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A Palestinian family watch from a window as people below inspect the rubble of the 15-story Basha Tower that collapsed following early morning Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Tuesday's strikes leveled the Basha Tower with apartments and offices and severely damaged another high-rise, the Italian Complex, built in the 1990s by an Italian businessman, with dozens of shops and offices. Both buildings were evacuated after receiving warnings of impending strikes. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Smoke rises from the rubble of the 15-story Basha Tower following early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian relatives cry after they saw the body of Ahmad Jarboua, 25, who was killed in an Israeli strike with other two people, at Najar hospital in Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Three men were killed and five were wounded in a strike on a group of men east of Rafah near the waste water treatment plant, according to Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)
A Palestinian boy sits next to the destroyed 15-story Basha Tower following early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians inspect the damage to the Italian Complex high-rise following several late night Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian relatives weep during the funeral of Ibrahim Hamad, an Islamic Jihad militant, at his family house during his funeral in Rafah refugee Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. Hamad was killed in an Israeli strike while riding a motorcycle Thursday night in Rafah, according to Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
Palestinian firefighters extinguish a fire in the rubble of the destroyed 15-story Basha Tower, following early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Tuesday's strikes leveled the 15-story Basha Tower with apartments and offices and severely damaged another high-rise, the Italian Complex, built in the 1990s by an Italian businessman, with dozens of shops and offices. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Mohamed al-Remawi (2R) is helped by his friend Mohamed Labbad (R) as they come off a pile of rubble after looking in vain for important documents from Remawi's family at a high rise apartment building in Gaza City on August 26, 2014 after is was targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight. The residents of the tower were warned to leave the building before the bombing took place. An Israeli air raid in Gaza killed two Palestinians as Israel pursued its campaign to stop rocket fire by Hamas militants from the enclave, medics said. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian men watch as the rubble left from a collapsed building, that was targeted by Israeli airstrikes overnight, is cleared off a street in Gaza City on August 26, 2014. Israeli air strikes on Gaza City killed two Palestinians early Tuesday, while scores more were wounded when warplanes bombed two high-rise residential blocks, medics and witnesses said. The raids came as Israel stepped up the pressure on Hamas on day 50 of a bloody confrontation which began on July 8 and has claimed the lives of more than 2,100 Palestinians and 68 on the Israeli side. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian men watch as the rubble left from a collapsed building that was targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight is cleared off a street in Gaza City on August 26, 2014. Israeli air raids on Gaza City killed two Palestinians early in the morning while scores more were wounded when warplanes bombed two high-rise residential blocks, medics and witnesses said. The raids came as Israel stepped up the pressure on Hamas on day 50 of a bloody confrontation which began on July 8 and has claimed the lives of more than 2,100 Palestinians and 68 on the Israeli side. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian man walks past the toppled remains of a government school that was targeted by overnight Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on August 26, 2014. Israeli air raids on Gaza City killed two Palestinians while scores more were wounded when warplanes bombed two high-rise residential blocks, medics and witnesses said. The raids came as Israel stepped up the pressure on Hamas on day 50 of a bloody confrontation which began on July 8 and has claimed the lives of more than 2,100 Palestinians and 68 on the Israeli side. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian children sit on a sidewalk as they wait for their parents to retrieve some of their family's belongings from a partially destroyed house across the street from a high rise apartment building in Gaza City (R) that was targeted by Israeli airstrikes overnight on August 26, 2014. The UN estimates that about a quarter of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza have been displaced by fighting between Hamas militants and Israel since fighting started on July 8. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian man walks on the rubble of a high rise apartment building in Gaza City that was targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight on August 26, 2014. The UN estimates that about a quarter of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza have been displaced by fighting between Hamas militants and Israel since fighting started on July 8. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents of a partially destroyed house across the street from a high rise apartment building in Gaza City that was targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight on August 26, 2014 collect some of their possesions as they move elsewhere to take refuge. The UN estimates that about a quarter of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza have been displaced by fighting between Hamas militants and Israel since fighting started on July 8. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
A resident of a partially destroyed house across the street from a high rise apartment building in Gaza City that was targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight on August 26, 2014 carries a bag and a pair of shoes. The UN estimates that about a quarter of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza have been displaced by fighting between Hamas militants and Israel since fighting started on July 8. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian woman takes some of their belongings from her partially destroyed home across the street from where a high rise apartment building in Gaza City was targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight on August 26, 2014. The residents of the tower were warned to leave the building before the bombing took place. The UN estimates that about a quarter of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza have been displaced by fighting between Hamas militants and Israel. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian woman gestures as she walks away from her partially destroyed home (not shown) carrying some of her belongings across the street where a high rise apartment building in Gaza City was targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight on August 26, 2014. The residents of the tower were warned to leave the building before the bombing took place. The UN estimates that about a quarter of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza have been displaced by fighting between Hamas militants and Israel. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians take some of their belongings from their partially destroyed home across from the street where a high rise apartment building in Gaza City was targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight on August 26, 2014. The residents of the tower were warned to leave the building before the bombing took place. The UN estimates that about a quarter of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza have been displaced by fighting between Hamas militants and Israel. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian woman gets help from a boy as she takes some of her belongings from her partially destroyed home across the street from where a high rise apartment building in Gaza City was targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight on August 26, 2014. The residents of the tower were warned to leave the building before the bombing took place. The UN estimates that about a quarter of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza have been displaced by fighting between Hamas militants and Israel. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian man looks from the door of his partially destroyed home at a high rise apartment building in Gaza City that was targeted by Israeli air strike overnight on August 26, 2014. The residents of the tower and the neighbourhood were warned to leave the area before the bombing took place. The UN estimates that about a quarter of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza have been displaced by fighting between Hamas militants and Israel since fighting started on July 8. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians walk at the base of what used to be a high rise apartment building in Gaza City that was targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight on August 26, 2014. The residents of the tower were warned to leave the building before the bombing took place. An Israeli air raid in Gaza killed two Palestinians, as Israel pursued its campaign to stop rocket fire by Hamas militants from the enclave, medics said. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians search through rubble of a destroyed house in Rafah's district of Shawkah in the southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. The attack at the Shawkah district east of the Gaza town of Rafah drew what was by far the heaviest shelling by the Israeli military in the Gaza war, killing nearly 100 people that day alone and instantly unraveling a three-day ceasefire shortly after it came into force. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A Palestinian woman gets emotional as she stands on the rubble of a house belong to al Akhras family after it was hit by an Israeli strike in Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, early Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Two people were wounded in the airstrke on a house at the Rafah refugee camp, according Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)
Palestinians walk amid the rubble of a house belonging to the al-Dakhani family after it was hit by Israeli strike in Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Two people were wounded in the airstrike on the house according Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)
A Palestinian man stands on the balcony of his destroyed house as he waits for the visit of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to Gaza's neighborhood of Shijaeyih, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Members of the new Palestinian unity government assembled in Gaza on Thursday for their first Cabinet session in the war-battered territory - a largely symbolic meeting meant to mark the end of absolute Hamas control of the coastal strip. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A members of the Palestinian security walks on the rubble before Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah tours the destroyed houses in an area east of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Members of the new Palestinian unity government assembled in Gaza on Thursday for their first Cabinet session in the war-battered territory - a largely symbolic meeting meant to mark the end of absolute Hamas control of the coastal strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
A Palestinian walks on the rubble of Omar Ibn Abed Al-Aziz mosque, which was hit by an Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The third Gaza War in six years appears to have ended in another sort of tie, with both Israel and Hamas claiming the upper hand. Their questionable achievements have come at a big price, especially to long-suffering Palestinians in Gaza. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
A Palestinian boy looks through the damage of Omar Ibn Abed Al-Aziz mosque, which was hit by an Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The third Gaza War in six years appears to have ended in another sort of tie, with both Israel and Hamas claiming the upper hand. Their questionable achievements have come at a big price, especially to long-suffering Palestinians in Gaza. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians attend a victory rally organized by masked militant of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, military wing of Hamas, at the debris of destroyed houses in Shijaiyah, neighborhood of Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. An open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip was holding Wednesday. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Smoke, dust and debris rise from an explosion following an Israeli air strike on the house of Nafez Azzam, a leader for Islamic Jihad leader, one hour before the announcement of the cease-fire between Palestinians and Israelis, in Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
Palestinian firefighters extinguish a fire at the rubble of a five-storey building of the Sheikh Zaid housing project following an Israeli strike, thirteen minutes before the announcment of the cease-fire between Palestinians and Israelis, in Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians inspect the rubble of the destroyed 15-story Basha Tower following early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Israel bombed two Gaza City high-rises with dozens of homes and shops Tuesday, collapsing the 15-story Basha Tower and severely damaging the Italian Complex in a further escalation in seven weeks of cross-border fighting with Hamas. Both buildings were evacuated after receiving warnings of impending strikes. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian firefighters inspect the rubble of a five-storey building of the Sheikh Zaid housing project following an Israeli strike, thirteen minutes before the announcement of the cease-fire between Palestinians and Israelis, in Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
A Palestinian, who is a neighbor of a house belonging to the Abu Hamada family, inspects the damage to his house, after an Israeli strike in Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. Several people were wounded in an airstrike on houses in Jebaliya refugee camp, according toGaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians inspect the damage of a Rafah commercial center after an Israeli strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. The Gaza police operation room reported three airstrikes on a Rafah commercial center, which consists of two floors and includes 100 shops. The building almost collapsed and a huge fire erupted in the shops. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)
Palestinians run to take cover after an Israeli strike hit a three-story building belonging to the Abdul Hadi family in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians inspect the rubble and salvage items from the Al-Zafer apartment tower following Israeli airstrikes Saturday that collapsed the 12-story building, in Gaza City, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. The Gaza City apartment tower was targeted because a Hamas command center operated from there, the army said. The weekend strikes by Israel marked the first time large buildings were toppled signaling a new escalation in seven weeks of fighting with Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians inspect the rubble and salvage items from the Al-Zafer apartment tower following Israeli airstrikes Saturday that collapsed the 12-story building, in Gaza City, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. The army said the Gaza City apartment tower was targeted because a Hamas command center operated from there. The weekend strikes by Israel marked the first time large buildings were toppled signaling a new escalation in seven weeks of fighting with Hamas. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra))
A Palestinian protester runs away from Israeli soldiers during clashes, following a protest against the Israeli military action in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
A Palestinian inspects the damage of a building after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza in the northern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
In this Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 photo, a Palestinian boy stands in front of the Hamza Ibn Abdul-Mutaleb Mosque that was destroyed by Israeli strikes in Gaza City. Israel has hit and destroyed 63 mosques in Gaza in its month-old war with Hamas, Palestinian officials say. The reason, Israel says, is that Hamas is using mosques to stockpile weapons and rocket launchers and hide tunnels. Gaza’s Hamas rulers deny the accusations. But in its determination to go after what it says are militant arsenals, Israel is throwing aside any reluctance it had in the past to hit religious sites for fear of a diplomatic backlash. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian Ziad Rizk, 38, sits with others in a shelter made of a blanket stretched over four boles next to one of the destroyed Nada Towers, where he lost his apartment and clothes shop, in the town of Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian Ziad Rizk, 38, sits with others in a shelter made of a blanket stretched over four boles next to one of the destroyed Nada Towers, where he lost his apartment and clothes shop, in the town of Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
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By PETER ENAV

JERUSALEM (AP) - An international organization involved in assessing post-conflict reconstruction says it will take 20 years under current levels of restrictions to rebuild the Gaza Strip's battered and neglected housing stock following the war between Hamas and Israel.

Most of the new building would be to make up for the current housing deficit, rather than to address damage from fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.

Meanwhile, appearing in a round of post-war interviews on Israeli TV channels, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was not ready to return to the negotiating table with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas unless he distances himself from Hamas militants. Hamas and Abbas' Palestinian Authority have a unity government in Gaza.

Netanyahu has regularly condemned the formal Abbas-Hamas relationship.

The housing assessment by Shelter Cluster, chaired by the Norwegian Refugee Council with the participation of the U.N. refugee agency and the Red Cross, underscores the complexities involved in an overall reconstruction program for the Gaza Strip, which some Palestinian officials have estimated could cost in excess of $6 billion.

It is based on the current level of goods permitted to be moved from Israel to Gaza - a level that could easily be expanded, which would shorten the time needed to address the territory's housing needs.

Any effort to rebuild Gaza will be hindered by a blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in 2007. Israel has severely restricted the import of concrete and other building materials into Gaza, fearing that militants will use them to build rockets and reinforce cross-border attack tunnels.

Egypt and Norway have raised the possibility of convening a Gaza donors' conference at some point next month, but no firm arrangements have been made.

With a population of 1.8 million, Gaza is a densely populated coastal strip of urban warrens and agricultural land that still bears the scars of previous rounds of fighting.

In its report issued late Friday, Shelter Cluster said 17,000 Gaza housing units were destroyed or severely damaged during this summer's war and 5,000 units still need work after damage sustained in the previous military campaigns. In addition, it says, Gaza has a housing deficit of 75,000 units.

Shelter Cluster said its 20-year assessment is based on the capacity of the main Israel-Gaza cargo crossing to handle 100 trucks of construction materials daily.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli government agency responsible for operating the crossing on whether it had future plans to ease restrictions on goods going into Gaza.

Israel and Hamas agreed on Tuesday to an open-ended truce. The cease-fire brought an immediate end to the fighting but left key issues unresolved. Hamas immediately declared victory, even though it has very little to show for the war.

While Israel agreed to loosen its long-standing blockade to allow humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials into Gaza, many of the border restrictions will remain in place. Hamas, meanwhile, rejected Israel's demands that it disarm.

These deeper matters are only to be addressed in indirect talks in Egypt next month.

Mindful of Israel's concerns about Hamas, Britain, France and Germany have proposed the creation of an international mechanism to monitor goods going into Gaza. The goal of the mechanism would be insure that Hamas and other militant groups would not divert construction materials like iron and cement into weapons or weapons manufacturing facilities.

Netanyahu's comment on Abbas came amid continuing displeasure among leading Israeli Cabinet ministers on the conduct of the recently concluded war, with many saying he did not go far enough to neutralize Hamas's fighting ability.

Netanyahu rejected that criticism, but in an apparent nod to the pressure from his detractors said that Abbas will have to prove himself if he wants to be a partner in a diplomatic process.

"He has to choose," Netanyahu told Channel Two. "It's either yes to Hamas or no to Hamas."

The latest war began after three Israeli teens were killed in the West Bank by Hamas operatives in June, prompting Israel to arrest hundreds of Hamas members there. Rocket fire from Gaza on Israeli cities then escalated, and Israel launched a massive air and later ground campaign. The fighting lasted almost two months.

Egyptian mediators tried early on to get the sides to agree to a cease-fire. Several temporary truces were broken by Gaza militants.

Over 2,100 Palestinians, most civilians, died in the war. Israel lost 71 people, all but six of them soldiers.

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