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Abbas: Gaza aid must be matched by peace moves

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Abbas: Gaza aid must be matched by peace moves

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World leaders meeting in Egypt are putting together an aid package for the reconstruction of Gaza, which, it is hoped will ultimately advance peace in the region.

The donors conference in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh was called in the aftermath of Israel’s military offensive to counter Hamas rocket attacks. It is estimated up to 2 billion euros will be needed to rebuild the Palestinian territory. But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said money alone would not solve the problem. He said there would have to be progress in the peace process with Israel Some of the funding will be used to shore up the Palestinian Authority’s finances while the rest goes to reconstruction in Gaza. That is a concern for Hamas, the dominant force in Gaza and rival to Abbas’s Fatah group. It says the aid should get directly to the ordinary Palestinians who need it. The US is pledging the equivalent of more than 700 million euros. The EU, as a bloc, is offering over 430 million euros. Humanitarian organisations say the pledges will mean little if Israel does not ease its blockade of Gaza.