Donors meet in Egypt to rebuild Gaza

International donors are meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh for a conference aimed at rebuilding the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are all in attendance at the summit, along with more than 40 foreign ministers.

The conference was to call on 80 donor nations and international organisations for at least $2.8 billion (£1.9bn) to reconstruct the devastated coastal strip.

The Israel assault on Hamas, intended to prevent rocket fire on Israeli citizens, left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead, at least 5,000 injured, and made around 100,000 people homeless.

The Palestinian Authority's recovery plan for Gaza targets social welfare, infrastructure, the economy and environmental institutions.

However, Hamas was not invited to the conference and the PA intends to bypass the Islamist group in the implementation of its plans, using United Nations agencies and private companies to carry out the reconstruction.

    Last updated: 5:49pm, March 5 2009