World Bank: Gaza still waiting for promised aid money

World Bank: Gaza still waiting for promised aid money
The World Bank claims that less than half of the $3.5 billion in aid pledged to Gaza by the international community has been paid, two years after the donors' conference.
2 min read
15 September, 2016
Unemployment in Gaza stands at around 42 percent [AFP]
Gaza has received less than half of $3.5 billion in aid promised by the international community following the 2014 war with Israel, the World Bank claimed on Thursday.

Gaza's infrastructure was left devastated following extensive bombing by Israel, and the desperately needed money pledged by international donors to help rebuild the besieged strip has still not been paid.

This shortfall, according to the World Bank, is a principal reason why the Palestinian economy is stagnating with unemployment running as high as 42 percent in Gaza.

In the West Bank, nearly 18 percent of Palestinians are out of work.

The US had sent all of its pledged $277 million, while Europe had committed close to three-quarters of the $348 million it promised in aid.

The World Bank recommended Israel ease its blockade of Gaza to help boost economic activity and bring in urgently needed goods.

Israel's siege on the landstrip has blocked urgently needed building materials from entering Gaza, adding further woes for the thousands made homeless in the war and waiting to construct new homes.

The bank further urged the Palestinian Authority to reduce spending, and particularly the amount allocated to pension payments.

Shortly after the devastating 2014 war on Gaza, a donors' conference was held in Cairo. The international community pledged approximately $3.5 billion in aid over three years to Gaza.

In March, the World Bank revealed that only $1.41 billion had been delivered.

Arab states in particular had fallen short of meeting their pledges, the bank said.

Qatar offered aid totalling $1 billion in 2014 but had contributed only $152 million so far.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE also fell far short of their respective targets of $500 million and $200 million respectively.

A report on the Gaza aid deficit is set to be delivered to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, a forum of donors to the Palestinian Authority, in New York next week.

Agencies contributed to this article.