GAZA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Whole streets lie in ruins, many thousands of Palestinians are homeless after weeks of Israeli bombing and foreign aid cash is piling up. As a builder in the Gaza Strip, this should be Anwar al-Sahabani's big moment.
Instead, though, he sits at home, angry and sad, not just at the wounds he suffered on the first day of bombardment, but with frustration at being denied the basic supplies he needs to start rebuilding. Israel will not let in cement, steel pipes and other materials it says its Hamas enemies might use to make war.
"The fighting stopped over a week ago but people are still sleeping in the open air," said Sahabani, whose firm employs up to 100 craftsmen and labourers when working at full capacity.
"We should have started reconstruction the day the war ended. But we have no supplies." His men, like him, sit idle, he said: "I am sad and angry and I feel a pain beyond words."
Along the 45 km (30-mile) strip of Mediterranean coastline, half-finished construction sites stand silent, and, amid the ruins left by this month's violence, families are building makeshift wood-and-plastic shelters to escape the cold.
"For two years now, we have not been able to build," Sahabani said of an Israeli embargo going back to 2007. "God knows what will happen now to the people who lost their homes."