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Palestinian official in charge of rebuilding Gaza resigns

PA spokesman says Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa stepping down for personal reasons

A Palestinian young man carries bricks amid the rubble of destroyed buildings in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, March 4 2015. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
A Palestinian young man carries bricks amid the rubble of destroyed buildings in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, March 4 2015. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

RAMALLAH, West Bank — A government spokesman said the top Palestinian official overseeing reconstruction of war-ravaged Gaza has submitted his resignation.

Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa was not available for comment Tuesday on why he stepped down. It was not clear if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would accept the resignation of Mustafa, an experienced economist.

Mustafa had been put in charge of Gaza reconstruction, following a 50-day war last summer between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group and a bitter rival of Abbas.

The fighting destroyed or damaged thousands of homes. Reconstruction has sputtered, in large part because of continued political wrangling between Abbas and Hamas over who controls Gaza.

Ehab Bseiso, a spokesman for Abbas’ West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, says Mustafa resigned for personal reasons.

The July-August war killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, most of them civilians according to Gaza officials, and 73 people on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers. Israel said half of the dead were Hamas and other combatants and blamed Hamas for all civilian casualties since it emplaced its war machine in residential areas.

Hamas, which along with other Gaza terror groups fired over 4,500 rockets at Israel during the war, is committed to the destruction of Israel. It seized power in Gaza in 2007, violently ousting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s forces.

The UN last month slammed the international community for failing to make good on its promises of aid, warning of another conflict unless Gaza was rehabilitated quickly.

Israel controls goods and people movement at two of Gaza’s three crossings, while Egypt controls the third.

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