In light of NTodd's upcoming trip, it's a good time to highlight some not-so-bad news from Gaza for a change.
With Israel maintaining its longstanding ban on allowing construction materials into the Hamas-controlled Mediterranean strip, everyone from the UN and Red Cross to the Hamas-led government and frustrated families are taking matters into their own hands.
Faced with an unending river of raw sewage flowing into the Mediterranean and the Israeli cement restrictions, the Red Cross decided to scavenge the 25-foot-tall cement slabs from the Gaza-Egypt border fence that had been toppled by Hamas militants in January, 2008.
The Red Cross engineers worked with officials in Rafah to scavenge 2,800 of the concrete slabs to build two new football field-sized sewage treatment pools near the Gaza-Egypt border.
That has created a surreal scene as sewage flows into the new ponds whose borders are made of the concrete walls that once separated Egypt and Gaza.
"We are pioneers," said Marek Komarzynski, a Red Cross engineer who worked on the project.
There's more in the article about how Gazans are also building mudbrick homes, to circumvent the concrete shortage.