World leaders meeting in Egypt have promised billions of euros in aid to war torn Gaza.
At the conference in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh international donors agreed to give the Palestinians more than 3.5 billion euros in financial support. With significant pledges coming from the US, Gulf Arab states and the EU the money is aimed at rebuilding Gaza following Israel’s 3 week military offensive launched to counter Hamas rocket fire. While it is hoped the aid will also ultimately advance peace negotiations in the region, at the conference the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said money alone would not solve the problem, and that there would have to be progress in the peace process with Israel as well. Despite the huge sums involved, Hamas, which had not been invited to attend the conference, accused donors of politicising the aid. ‘‘We call upon all the countries participating in the Sharm el-Sheik conference to search for speedy and effective mechanisms to transfer funds to the Palestinian people directly, without getting caught up in the internal Palestinian political differences, which are strictly an internal matter,’‘ said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. UN aid agencies say rebuilding the coastal enclave remains a daunting task while Gaza border crossings remain closed.