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$2.7 billion in Gaza rebuilding aid pledged

International forum draws 50 nations

Palestinians walk amid the rubble of their destroyed building in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday. (Associated Press)
Palestinians walk amid the rubble of their destroyed building in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday. (Associated Press)
Hamza Hendawi Associated Press

CAIRO – Donors at an international conference Sunday promised $2.7 billion to rebuild the war-ravaged Gaza Strip, but all of the key participants said their efforts would be futile without a permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

U.S.-mediated talks broke down this summer before the 50-day war between Hamas and Israel began – the third since 2008 – and it remains unclear how peace can come about.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, who co-chaired the one-day meeting with Egypt, said pledges of $5.4 billion have been made, but that only half of that money would be “dedicated” to the reconstruction of the coastal strip.

Brende did not say what the other half of the funds would be spent on. Other delegates have spoken of budgetary support, boosting economic activity, emergency relief and other projects.

“The message was clear to the international community that the Palestinian brothers are not alone,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri told a news conference after the meeting.

Qatar offered the biggest donation of $1 billion – once again using its vast wealth to reinforce its role as a regional player. The United Arab Emirates – a Gulf Arab rival of Qatar – promised $200 million.

The pledges followed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement of immediate American assistance of $212 million. The European Union pledged 450 million euros ($568 million), while Turkey, which has been playing a growing regional role, said it was donating $200 million.

Delegates representing about 50 nations and 20 regional and international organizations applauded the pledge by Qatar. The Emirates and Saudi Arabia, however, allege that Qatar is using its wealth to undermine regional stability, primarily through meddling in other nations’ affairs and aiding militant Islamic groups.

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