Israel-Palestinian conflict: Qatar pledges $1 billion to reconstruct Gaza

The Qatari foreign minister announced his country is to donate $1 billion of aid to help rebuild Gaza

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The Independent Online

Qatar has pledged $1 billion to help rebuild the Gaza Strip, following this summer's war between Israel and Hamas, asserting its financial dominance in the region.

The pledge was made in Cairo, where representatives from more than 50 states and regional and international organisations met to discuss the reconstruction project.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is seeking $4 billion to repair the territory, which has seen some of the fiercest fighting in the past year.

As a result of the recent hostilities more than 2,000 Palestinians died, another 11,000 were wounded and 100,000 people are still without homes.

Alongside the Qatari pledge, the United Arab Emirates, a regional rival, has promised $200 million.

 

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, also announced immediate funding of $212 million from America.

Kerry said Gazans "need our help desperately — not tomorrow, not next week, but they need it now." He said the new money, which nearly doubles American aid to the Palestinians this year, would go to security, economic development, food and medicine, shelter and water and sanitation projects.

The size of the Qatari donation is likely to fuel rumours that the country is trying to buy influence, at the expense of its larger and more politically-established neighbours.

But Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, Qatar's foreign minister, who was in Cairo for the conference, denounced the "international silence" on Gaza's destruction and said:

"While the Palestinian people need financial support, they need more political support from the international community.

"A just peace is the only real guarantee for not destroying what we are about to rebuild and reconstruct."

The EU's representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, who was also at the conference, stressed the need for a solution that did not solely come from inside Gaza. "There cannot be a return to the status quo which has proved unsustainable," she said.

Additional Reporting by Associated Press

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