The reconstruction of housing in Palestine 1993-2000: A case study from the Gaza Strip

S Barakat, G Elkahlout, T Jacoby

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In the Palestinian Territories, housing is thought to be amongst the most difficult problems facing the National Authority (PNA) (Al-Agha, 1997, p. 3). Increased Israeli settlements, the large size of Palestinian families, the deteriorating economic situation, the lack of national banks operating in the field of housing, the presence of refugee settlements containing over 1.2 million people, the Israeli state's policy of residential demolition and land confiscation have all combined to present a severe obstacle to urban reconstruction in the region. In an attempt to address these issues and to make some progress towards realising the estimated 180 000 housing units required by the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Housing Council WHO was established in 1992 (Abd Alhadi, 1994; Ziara, 1997). Although it has had some success, the organisation has been plagued by reports of internal dissent and disputes with its beneficiaries. This paper seeks to cast some light on these controversies by focusing on the PHC's role in the Elkarama Housing Project in the Gaza Strip during the period 1993 to 2000.(1) It will first outline the broader context in which public institutions within the Gaza Strip operate before offering an account of the structure and background of the PHC. It will then consider Elkarama itself and will conclude by summing up the various factors that have determined the project's outcome. Finally, the paper will offer some tentative recommendations for improved housing provisions within the Gaza Strip in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-192
Number of pages18
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


  • housing reconstruction
  • Palestine
  • Palestinian housing council
  • Israeli occupation

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