Author Topic: Palestinians seek $2.8 billion for rebuilding Gaza  (Read 949 times)

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Offline Americanhero1

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Palestinians seek $2.8 billion for rebuilding Gaza
« on: February 25, 2009, 11:49:29 PM »
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – The rival Palestinian governments — U.S.-backed moderates in the West Bank and the Islamic militants of Hamas in Gaza — presented competing plans Wednesday for rebuilding war-ravaged Gaza, each seeking roughly $2.8 billion in foreign aid.

The moderates, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, believe they can raise the full amount at an international donors conference for Gaza next week in Egypt. The U.S. is expected to contribute about $900 million, and Saudi Arabia has promised $1 billion.

However, Gaza would need open borders and an internationally accepted government for reconstruction to move forward smoothly. At the moment, it has neither.

Hamas is widely shunned as a terrorist group, and Israel and Egypt have kept Gaza cut off from the world since the militants violently seized the territory in June 2007, leaving Abbas only in control of the West Bank.

In one scenario, Hamas and Abbas would reconcile, form a joint government and bring about an end to the Gaza blockade. Representatives of Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement set a new round of reconciliation talks this week, but chances are seen as slim because of deep distrust between them.

In the absence of a unity deal, the rival governments have moved ahead with separate plans for rebuilding Gaza after Israel's three-week military offensive, waged to halt Hamas rocket fire on Israeli border towns. The fighting killed some 1,300 Palestinians and damaged or destroyed thousands of homes.

In the West Bank, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Wednesday that he would ask donor countries for $2.8 billion for Gaza, citing detailed damage assessments. He said he will present a reconstruction plan to representatives of 80 donor countries Monday in Egypt.

"From positive talks with the donors, I expect the donations to exceed the required figures," he said, but declined to give details of specific items.

Even without the reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah, pledges could be made and put in escrow until the details of reconstruction are set. Fayyad also has proposed sending a lot of construction money directly to the bank accounts of owners of destroyed homes and other Gaza beneficiaries.

Among those planning to attend the donors conference are U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French President Nicholas Sarkozy and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Hamas is not invited, and the international community is unlikely to send it huge sums of money directly.

Still, the Gaza government completed its own reconstruction plan Wednesday, calling for $2.73 billion in foreign aid. Planning Minister Mohammed Awad of Hamas said the document would be sent to the Arab League and other potential donors, including international aid agencies.

Among other things, Hamas seeks to import 1,000 trailers as emergency housing, for a cost of $19.5 million. It requests $3.7 million for buying heavy machinery for removing 1.5 million tons of rubble.

The authors add the caveat that all timetables in the plan are "based on opening the borders."

More than five weeks since the end of the war, most Gazans left homeless are still scrambling for basic necessities.

Amid the rubble of homes demolished by Israeli army bulldozers in neighborhoods close to the border, people line up every day for handouts of blankets, tea kettles, toothbrushes and other necessities. Most have rented temporary apartments with money from the Hamas government or U.N. agencies, while others have squeezed into relatives' homes.

Prospects for getting sufficient supplies into Gaza appear dim. International donors have not come up with an agreed plan, and it's not clear who would lead the reconstruction effort.

Israel is not allowing cement, steel and pipes into Gaza, for fear Hamas militants will use them to build bunkers and rockets. Once reconstruction begins, Israel proposes working directly with international agencies on various projects to make sure each shipment is accounted for.

John Ging, the top U.N. aid official in Gaza, urged donor countries to push for open borders, saying anything less would only worsen Gaza's dire situation. Even before the war, the border closure wiped out private industry in Gaza, and some three-quarters of the 1.4 million Gazans depended on aid handouts.

"The humanitarian problem here is huge and day by day it's getting worse and worse, because there is no solution until the crossing points open," Ging said.

In other developments Wednesday, Gaza militants fired two rockets toward Israel, and Israeli aircraft struck seven smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.

In Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reinstated his top negotiator on a cease-fire with Hamas. Olmert had fired Amos Gilad last week after the negotiator publicly criticized the prime minister.

Offline SavetheWest

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Re: Palestinians seek $2.8 billion for rebuilding Gaza
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 11:58:13 PM »
And they will get that money.  Their best friend is in the White House. 

Offline GoIsraelGo!

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Re: Palestinians seek $2.8 billion for rebuilding Gaza
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2009, 12:11:26 AM »
And they will get that money.  Their best friend is in the White House. 

You mean their best Fiend ?

Offline Spiraling Leopard

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Re: Palestinians seek $2.8 billion for rebuilding Gaza
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2009, 04:45:51 AM »
Hamas got plenty money. In 2006 hamas president ismail halibaba was caught trying to smuggle 35 million dollars worth of cash into gaza and in januari another terrorist tried smuggling in 9 million dollars worth of cash.

They only buy rockets from the aidmoney they get.