Arab States Fail to Make Good on Gaza Aid Pledges
Back in October, an international conference in Cairo on the reconstruction of Gaza following the war over the summer between Hamas and Israel announced with great fanfare that $5.4 billion had been raised from donors. Two months later, however, the Arab states who pledged the lion’s share of the money at the conference, convened by Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Norway, have yet to make good on their promises.
“The Arab countries haven’t paid anything until now,” Mufeed al-Hasayna, the Palestinian housing minister, complained in an interview with Reuters earlier this month. “The Europeans just a few millions, maybe something from the Swedes.”
Qatar promised $1bn, Saudi Arabia $500m, and the United States and the European Union a combined $780m in various forms of assistance.
Half was expected to go to rebuilding houses and infrastructure in the Palestinian enclave , and the rest to support the Palestinian budget.
But of the total, only $100m or so has been received, according to UN and other officials. While the EU and the US have accelerated some funding that was already in the pipeline, very few new pledges have come to fruition.
“We have received funding and pledges of approximately $100 million for shelter and repair,” said Robert Turner, director of operations for UNRWA, the UN agency devoted solely to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, in Gaza.
“That money will be largely finished in January 2015. We have a shortfall [for shelter and homes] of $620 million and we are going to run out right in the hardest part of winter.”
Operation Protective Edge was launched by Israel on July 8 this year in response to thousands of rocket attacks on Israeli population centers by Hamas and other terrorist groups. The terrorist infrastructure in Gaza was badly damaged during the conflict, which targeted in particular the “terror tunnels” used by Palestinian terrorists to infiltrate Israel.