By Michelle Nichols
NEWYORK – The United Nations appealed on Thursday for $95 million to help Palestinians over the next three months in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, after 11 days of the worst fighting between Palestinian militants and Israel in years.
Lynn Hastings, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories, said the United Nations was currently looking at immediate aid needs and would then assess the longer term damage and how much might be needed for reconstruction.
She said the appeal launched on Thursday was to address “very immediate needs,” such as food, health, medicine, medical supplies, quick repairs to infrastructure and cash assistance. On top of the appeal, the United Nations has also already released $22.5 million from other funds to help meet needs.
Separately, Qatar has said it will provide $500 million to help rebuild Gaza, while the United States pledged an additional $75 million in development and economic aid to the Palestinians in 2021, $5.5 million in immediate disaster relief for Gaza and $32 million to the U.N. Palestinian aid agency based there.
Palestinian officials put reconstruction costs at tens of millions of dollars in Gaza, where medical officials said 248 people were killed during the 11 days of fighting. Medics said rocket fire and a guided missile attack killed 13 people in Israel during the hostilities.
A truce began on Friday. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas rules Gaza and is listed by Washington as a terrorist organisation. Israel has blockaded Gaza since 2007, saying this prevents Hamas bringing in arms.
“Maintaining predictable access for goods and staff to enter and exit Gaza is going to be critical to ensure a way forward in Gaza,” Hastings told reporters on Thursday.