World offers Gaza billions in aid cash


The international community pledged nearly £5.4bn worth of economic assistance to Gaza at a donor conference in Cairo on Sunday.

According to the Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, a co-chair of the conference, half the cash will go towards rebuilding thousands of buildings destroyed during this summer's conflict.

Doubts remain, however, over the means by which aid will be funnelled into Gaza and the political conditions that some donors may insist upon.

The biggest pledges came from the Gulf nations, with Qatar promising to provide $1bn, Saudi Arabia $500m and the United Arab Emirates $200m. It is unclear, however, who will be the direct beneficiaries of these funds. Qatar has been directly supporting Hamas in Gaza while the Saudis and the UAE, like Egypt, are hostile to Hamas and are trying to boost the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority.

The US pledged $212m while Britain promised $32m. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who participated in the conference, called upon Israel and the Palestinians to renew the peace talks.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi reminded the delegates that fulfilling the conference's aims relied on achieving "permanent calm" between Hamas and Israel.

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