International envoys have pledged approximately $5.4 billion in reconstruction aid for the Gaza Strip at a meeting in Egypt on Sunday, according to Norway’s foreign minister Boerge Brende.
The Cairo conference, co-hosted by Oslo.
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Brende said the donors “committed themselves to start disbursing their assistance as soon as possible.”
Brende said half of the pledged money will go for reconstruction and the rest will be coming in as unspecified aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Qatar pledged $1 billion, Kuwait and the UAE pledged $200 million each.
The Palestinians had asked for $4 billion.
Of course, there’s a wide gap between a pledge and cash. Also, the key issues of who gets the money and who spends it are yet to be resolved.
On Sunday, Yasir al-Wadiya, a PLO leader and participant in the Cairo conference on Gaza reconstruction, told the Ma’an news agency that no date has been set for the beginning of the reconstruction process in Gaza.
“What was presented today (in Cairo) were the premises for reconstruction during the coming periods, ” al-Wadiya said. “All estimates are positive, and we talked with all parties concerning the urgent steps that need to be taken before winter.”
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and his unity government of technocrats held their first ever meeting in Gaza on Thursday, ahead of the donor nations’ conference.
The Gaza war this summer has left the densely populated strip in ruins, displacing more than a quarter of Gaza’s population and leaving more than 100, 000 people homeless. One of the reasons cited for the Hamas decision to start this war had been its growing isolation and the loss of interest on the part of Arab public opinion on the plight of Gaza. Now, with close to 2, 000 dead and so many displaced, it can be said the Hamas has won its goal.
But, like we said, there’s always a gap between the pledges and when they become hard cash.