Joel Magid

Prefabricated housing for rebuilding Gaza

The best way to expedite the rebuilding of housing in Gaza while meeting Israel’s security need of making sure that building materials are truly being used for civilian purposes, would be to use prefabricated housing. The prefabricated housing could be imported through Israel (manufactured in Israel or elsewhere) or through the Egyptian border with Gaza, imported through a port built specially in the northern Sinai and manufactured by factories set up for that purpose in the same region of Sinai (at least 10 miles south of the border with Gaza).

A UN-sponsored challenge could be issued to architects and contractors to design and improve prefabricated housing. Several such factories could be set up in Sinai, providing jobs for Egyptians as well as for Gazans. The factories would compete to produce inexpensive, easy-to-assemble housing units, subsidized or paid for by a UN fund set up and administered for this specific goal. Hopefully, the UN supervision of the fund will minimize corruption or diversion of funds or materials for other uses.

The UN would also set up a development corporation, whose job would be to clear areas for building while rehabilitating the sewage, water and power infrastructure in Gaza (a separate blog will deal with desalination and solar farms in Sinai to provide some of these needs). The massive amounts of concrete from destroyed buildings would be used to create landfills in several areas of Gaza that would then be able to accommodate new housing developments, effectively increasing somewhat the size of Gaza in order to meet the needs for housing.

About the Author
Yoel Magid holds a doctorate in English literature from Columbia, volunteered in Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War on Kibbutz Be’eri, where he became General Secretary of the Kibbutz and organized a school in foreign languages for the study of kibbutz. Returned to the US in 1999, becoming Executive Director of Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY; frequent lecturer on literature and politics.