Donor conference pledges $5.4 billion for Gaza
Qatar leads the drive with promise of $1 billion; Palestinians had requested $4 billion for post-war reconstruction
International envoys pledged about $5.4 billion in aid for the Gaza Strip at a meeting in Egypt on Sunday, Norway’s foreign minister said.
“The participants pledged approximately $5.4 billion (NIS 20 billion),” said Boerge Brende, reading out a closing statement at the Cairo conference, which Norway co-hosted.
Half of the pledges will go for reconstruction and the rest as unspecified aid to the Palestinians, he said.
The donors “committed themselves to start disbursing their assistance as soon as possible,” Brende said.
The conference aimed at financing the reconstruction of swaths of Gaza destroyed in a July-August war between Israel and Hamas.
Gas-rich Qatar led the way at the donors conference in Cairo with a promise of $1 billion in aid to the coastal enclave.
The Palestinians asked for up to $4 billion in international aid after Gaza suffered heavy damage in its 50-day summer war with Israel.
The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait also pledged $200 million each.
US Secretary of State John Kerry announced immediate US assistance of $212 million as the conference began.
British International Development Minister Desmond Swayne pledged $32.1 million in early recovery assistance for Gazans affected by the war. The money will cover disposal of un-exploded ordnance, rubble clearing and reconstructive surgery, according to a statement released by the British government.
The statement said that the UK is ready to provide longer term support, but only if the situation changes in Gaza, and the conditions do not invite another conflict.
“Simply relying on international donors to continue to pick up the pieces is not an option,” warned Swayne. “The cycle of conflict and emergency aid is unsustainable. The need for bold political steps from all parties has never been more apparent.
“It is critical that reconstruction efforts now form part of a process of meaningful political change. The UK will continue to stand alongside the people of Gaza in their hour of need, but this must be the last time that we see Gaza being rebuilt.”
AP contributed to this report.