International community pledges $5.4bn to Gaza

International community pledges $5.4bn to Gaza
Donor nations make huge promise to help rebuild the coastal enclave following Israel's summer assault.
2 min read
13 October, 2014
2,200 Palestinians in Gaza died in Israel's assault (AFP/Getty)
Gaza is set to receive $5.4bn after donor countries, led by Gulf nations, the United States and the European Union, pledged to support the reconstruction of the coastal enclave at a conference in Cairo on Sunday.

The embattled Strip was left badly battered after a 50-day war between Hamas and Israel earlier this summer.

The latest conflict - the third in six years - killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, while attacks by Gaza-based militants killed 73 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

More than a quarter of Gaza's 1.7 million people were displaced during the fighting, and 100,000 people were made homeless.

International reaction

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Gaza was facing an "enormous" challenge.
A just peace is the
only real guarantee
for not destroying
what we are about
to rebuild.
- Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, Qatar

"The people of Gaza do need our help, desperately, not tomorrow, not next week - they need it now," Kerry told the gathering of some 30 global envoys.

Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, who pledged $1 billion from the gas-rich nation, denounced the "international silence" that surrounded Gaza's destruction.

"While the Palestinian people need financial support, they need more political support from the international community," he said. "A just peace is the only real guarantee for not destroying what we are about to rebuild and reconstruct."

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah noted the importance of actually receiving the funds promised. Following the intense conflict of 2009, only a few donors' promises were kept.
We must not lose sight
of the root causes: A
restrictive occupation...
the denial of Palestinian
rights and the lack of
progress in peace
- Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

"In 2009, most of the pledged money did not come," Hamdallah said at a meeting with visiting UN chief Ban Ki-moon. "We hope that this time is different."

Ban said that a significant level of responsibility for the recent violence must lie with the Israeli occupation.

"We must not lose sight of the root causes," said the UN secretary-general. "A restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations."

Israel, which was not invited to the conference, said that any reconstruction effort would need its approval.

"Gaza cannot be rebuilt without the cooperation and participation of Israel," Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman told news website Ynet. He added that Israel would be "receptive" to plans for "the reconstruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza".