The United Kingdom on Sunday promised an additional £20m [$32.1m] for Gaza reconstruction efforts as world leaders gathered in Cairo to raise money for infrastructure and building development in the war-ravaged territory.
“The international community cannot continue to pick up the pieces in Gaza indefinitely,” said International Development Minister Desmond Swayne during the one-day conference.
“The UK stands ready to provide longer term support, but Mr Swayne made clear that this depended on progress on key political points. He called for bold steps from all parties to stop the cycle of violence in Gaza and prevent simply returning to the pre-conflict status quo,” read a statement by the Department of International Development, adding that the UK was “one of the biggest donors to Gaza during the fighting this summer”.
The money will go towards rebuilding infrastructure as well as providing Gazans with access to water and electricity.
“It is critical that reconstruction efforts now form part of a process of meaningful political change. The UK will continue to stand alongside the people of Gaza in their hour of need, but this must be the last time that we see Gaza being rebuilt,” Swayne said.
The £20m package includes provision for clearance of unexploded ordnance across Gaza, shelter and basic services for people forced from their homes because of fighting, support for the private sector, and funding for the United Nation’s new monitoring and verification mechanism to facilitate importing construction materials.
The 50-day war, which resulted in the deaths of over 2,100 Palestinians and 69 Israelis, also left 108,000 people homeless, completely destroyed 26 schools and 4 primary health centres, and destroyed or damaged 350 businesses and 17,000 hectares of agricultural land in Gaza.