News / Middle East

    $5.4B Pledged Toward Gaza

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo, Egypt, Oct. 12, 2014.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo, Egypt, Oct. 12, 2014.
    VOA News

    International donors have pledged $5.4 billion in aid for the Palestinians, with half the money earmarked for rebuilding the war-torn Gaza Strip.

    Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende announced the total Sunday at the close of a 30-nation conference in Cairo.

    Palestinian leaders say they need $4 billion to restore large portions of the territory that were destroyed during the 50-day war between Hamas and Israel that ended in August. 

    Ahead of the conference, officials expressed concerns about giving money without a lasting cease-fire agreement in place.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday the world has "clearly recognized the massive needs" in Gaza, but that the "cycle of building and destroying must end."

    Among the biggest donors was Qatar, the Persian Gulf state with natural gas riches, which pledged $1 billion. 

    A Palestinian woman walks with her daughter as the remains of a house that witnesses said was destroyed during the 50-day war between the Hamas militant movement and Israel, in the east of Gaza City, Oct. 12, 2014.A Palestinian woman walks with her daughter as the remains of a house that witnesses said was destroyed during the 50-day war between the Hamas militant movement and Israel, in the east of Gaza City, Oct. 12, 2014.
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    A Palestinian woman walks with her daughter as the remains of a house that witnesses said was destroyed during the 50-day war between the Hamas militant movement and Israel, in the east of Gaza City, Oct. 12, 2014.
    A Palestinian woman walks with her daughter as the remains of a house that witnesses said was destroyed during the 50-day war between the Hamas militant movement and Israel, in the east of Gaza City, Oct. 12, 2014.

    Exceeding request

    The figure easily exceeds the $4 billion Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said would be necessary to restore large portions of the territory that were destroyed during the 50-day war between Hamas militants and Israel in July and August.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced an immediate American donation of $212 million, which is in addition to $202 million in humanitarian aid the U.S. had already committed.

    The 28-nation European Union pledged $568 million, while the United Arab Emirates and Turkey both said they would donate $200 million.

    Prospects for peace
     
    Without an agreement on a lasting cease-fire or a political framework for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Foreign Minister Brende said there are many legitimate questions about “why donor countries should once again pick up the bill for rebuilding what warring parties have torn down.”
     
    “We have not forgotten the issue of a two-state solution. It is back on the international agenda. And there is now a political momentum built up to pressure the parties to get back to the negotiating table,” said Brende.
     
    Secretary Kerry led nine months of talks on a two-state solution that failed in April. He says the Obama administration remains ready to re-engage in that process, along with allies in Egypt and Jordan.
     
    “We have deep hopes that we can see the leaders of both the Palestinian Authority and of Israel make the decision that there are reasons they can see in the current construct of events in the region, the current leadership of the region, [Egyptian] President [Abdel Fatah] Sissi, King Abdullah of Jordan, others, all of whom want to move in this direction and are ready to contribute to it. And hopefully those leaders will see that this is a moment to take advantage of not to run away from,” said Kerry
     
    Renewed call for two-state solution

    Palestinian President Abbas called for an immediate start to talks on a “fair and comprehensive” two-state solution that respects the sovereignty, independence and dignity of the Palestinian people. But he also repeated calls for an investigation into Israeli military action against civilians during the latest fighting.

    “The Israeli offensive and the consequential destruction of Gaza cannot be tolerated and it cannot go away without any accountability,” said Abbas, speaking through an interpreter.
     
    Israeli officials were not present for these talks. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly last month that the fact that its Human Rights Council is investigating Israel rather than Hamas “has betrayed its noble mission to protect the innocent.”
     
    Secretary Kerry says breaking this cycle of recrimination and violence “means addressing both the immediate concerns on the ground as well as the underlying causes of the discontent and anger, frustration that has fueled this conflict in the first place.”
     
    Egyptian authorities say they will reconvene indirect talks between the Israelis and Palestinians later this month.

    The seven weeks of Israeli bombardment, Palestinian rocket attacks, and ground fighting from early July to late August left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians.

    Scott Stearns contributed to this report from Cairo.

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    Comments page of 5
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    by: Golden Calf from: Sinai
    October 14, 2014 11:55 AM
    lol, the same Israel that blocks humanitarian aid to civilians during siege? Thank god, Egypt allowed some aid through. Then let's ignore the comment about Israel politicians about endorsing genocide. Ironic coming from people who claimed to victims of the holocaust, lol.

    by: Phil from: Indi
    October 14, 2014 10:05 AM
    BG, anecdotal and arbitrary reasoning have no legal grounds. Aside from straw man fallacies and subjective reasoning you don't really clear argument. The second point is the international outrage has valid argument drawing on Israel immoral conduct and disregard for civilians. Having an opinion try not to make factual especially when you assert no facts or counter points to allegations. Israel is at fault not hamas, that was clear from alternative medias not western media which were biased to Israel.

    by: Frank from: Honsdo
    October 14, 2014 8:05 AM
    BG, that's the dumbest excuse I heard to justify Israeli land stealing. All of your argument is biased and suggestive. It seem for a country that mostly follows the rule of war, it inherits some moral consequence. I don't agree with your disproportional approach to Israel, being relative at times and objective at some. You take no stance on Hamas, try not make any narrative to Palestine's concerns. It seems you're whole argument is based on Israel safety which would Hilton right but being collective to Palestine. Disgusting and morally dishonest. Speaks volume about the country your condoning. Don't worry if Israel goes, they'll use Samson option which is nuke its country and killing millions.

    by: Steve from: Lincoln
    October 14, 2014 7:41 AM
    Bg, you don't make any sense. Like stated before you don't include any aspect of Palestine safety. If illegal settlements and systematic abuses from Israel threaten Palestinians, then what about their safety? Glad its your family we're only caring about? Quiet biased. UN schools that were used as shelter were bomb twice killing civilians which are safety demilitarize zone, you didn't include this. You lied about Israel taking care about civilians here. Regardless, what you think. That doesn't change illegal settlements are violation of international law, if the conduct of Israel is to play victim and both incite hostility and have no ethical or moral grounds to hide. It seems your Israel is a charlatan.

    by: Steve from: Lark
    October 14, 2014 7:21 AM
    lol, bg seems like you live in your head. Most of your argument is the usual western propaganda and some outright lies, making Israel look like saint. Israel living within normal war rules is funny, since there is ICC court case with Israel involved. It's seem you're ruthless and no moral consideration of others when it comes to your safety, so much for ethical integrity. Incidentally, you're justifying illegal settlement and claiming Hamas is dangerous? Sounds like clear grounds of provocation and hypocricy. How dishonest, worst dad of the day.

    by: bg from: bklyn
    October 13, 2014 9:56 PM
    Hilton- no israel is not perfect but when most of the international outrage is directed mostly at israel- when it was clearly Hamas who initiated the conflict and refused every humanitarian ceasefire that was graciously accepted by israel and then finally Hamas accepted the last one which was the same that Israel and Egypt had offered from the beginning (which was only after they ran out of rockets- could have saved hundreds of lives and buildings) one has to wonder how Hamas got away with it. War is horrible, people will die.There is a lot of documentation on how Israel took extreme measures to limit casualties. Yes mistakes happen, but they are looking into it closely. What kind of message are we trying to send? that its ok to rocket cities? Place rocket launchers in front of heavy populated areas? tell your women and children to stay in buildings that were warned by israel to leave? Not building shelters for your populations but using internatonial aid (your tax dollars)to build terror tunnels? Because this is well documented-no "investigations' by Hamas can ever say oh it was a mistake. Their entire military operation was a crime, while Israels response was predictable, (the way i would want my country to respond if some neighboring country would dare threaten my family) and mostly within normal war rules.
    Also while announcing settlements at this time might not be the best idea, its not something that ban ki moon should be directing his anger at. When israel gave up gaza the settlements in the west bank was given up too. oh and another thing. there were no settlements pre 1967. Its not the settlements that are the issue its the fact that nothing will ever be good enough for the arabs, they want all of israel-and they keep on initiating conflicts- and losing, so at this point it makes sense for israel to keep on building. Seeing that peace will never be achieved when one side has a genocidal agenda. Simple as that.

    by: Philip from: Branston
    October 13, 2014 1:36 PM
    Hilton, I agree. Most of the comments disregard any civilians concerns, most of the rebuilding is for civilians. It seems they have also trivialised any causalities and ignored any crimes committed by Israel. It's like Israel is exempt for any sense of accountability. Americans tend to have collective identity, its the main reason why they shoot their other or their own children and go berserk.

    by: Hilton from: Trashxas
    October 13, 2014 11:05 AM
    Some comments on here highlight the dishonest mindset of americans. Oh boy illegal settlements, human rights abuses, war crimes and lack of safety concern seems missing, if Palestine react with they're declared terrorist and violate Israel. Clear a good reason why america should meddle in anyone's affair. Can't wait till US becomes an obsolete superpower, like soviet union.

    by: M1917A1
    October 13, 2014 12:05 AM
    Oh Boy, New Tunnels to blow up! There is no problem so great that cannot be solved without the Judicious application of High Explosives, stand by Palestine, BOHICA!

    by: Chris from: TX
    October 12, 2014 11:55 PM
    Respect the neighbors goes both ways.

    Restoring complete freedom of movement to Palestinians while security guarantees extended toward Israel, will work.

    Israel needs to break out of its fear driven posture and should be forced to extend freedom to the neighbor to unshackle the perpetual flow of precious US tax-payer money at the rate of $3B/year.
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