Turkey offers $200 million for Gaza rebuilding

Turkey offers $200 million for Gaza rebuilding

Turkey offers $200 million for Gaza rebuilding

Palestinians stand on what witnesses say was a house destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza, in this August 2, 2014 file photo. REUTERS Photo

Turkey will donate $200 million toward the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip by 2017 as part of international efforts to rebuild the embattled enclave devastated by a recent Israeli bombardment.

A donor conference in Cairo to raise money for Gaza after this year’s war between Hamas and Israel ended with pledges of $5.4 billion, half of which will be “dedicated” to the reconstruction of the coastal strip, Norway’s foreign minister said Oct. 12.

“I am pleased to announce that Turkey will contribute an additional $200 million for the period of 2014-2017 for the reconstruction efforts in Gaza,” Can Dizdar, the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s Director-General for the Middle East and North Africa, told the conference.

Dizdar highlighted Turkish contributions to help alleviate the impact of the recent Israeli war on Gaza.
“Thirty-two million dollars has been collected in a nationwide aid campaign,” he said. “This amount is being used for our humanitarian aid activities, including the provision of fuel, electricity generators and basic relief materials for the Palestinian people.”

He added that over additional $10 million had been spent from official resources for Gaza.
Turkey has also brought dozens of Palestinians wounded during the Israeli offensive to Turkey for treatment.

 “We are also working on new assistance projects such as supplying electricity to Gaza and building of prefabricated houses,” said Dizdar.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende announced the figure at the end of the one-day conference, far beyond the $4 billion initially sought by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

He did not say what the other half of the funds would be spent on, but other delegates have spoken of boosting economic activity, emergency relief and other projects needed in the war-ravaged territory.

The message was clear to the international community that the Palestinian brothers are not alone,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said.

Qatar pledged $1 billion toward the reconstruction, once again using its vast wealth to reinforce its role as a regional player as Gulf Arab rival the United Arab Emirates promised $200 million.

The pledges followed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier announcing immediate American assistance of $212 million. The European Union pledged 450 million euros ($568 million).

Delegates representing some 50 nations and 20 regional and international organizations applauded the pledge by Qatar, a tiny but energy-rich Gulf Arab nation at odds with its larger neighbors, like the Emirates.

The latest conflict in Gaza was the most ruinous of the three wars, killing more than 2,000 Palestinians – mostly civilians, the U.N. said. Another 11,000 were wounded, and some 100,000 people remain homeless.