Qatar pledges $500m for Gaza reconstruction

Qatar’s foreign minister says funds will go towards reconstruction following Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Qatar's foreign minister announced the pledge for reconstruction in a tweet [File: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

Qatar has pledged $500m to reconstruction in the besieged Gaza Strip, the Gulf state’s foreign minister announced, following a ceasefire that ended the worst fighting in years between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in the coastal territory.

“The state of Qatar announces $500 million in support for the reconstruction of Gaza,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in a tweet on Wednesday.

“We will continue to support our brothers in Palestine to reach a just and lasting solution by establishing their independent state.”

Qatar often serves as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group which has ruled Gaza since 2007. The Gulf state has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian and development aid to support previous ceasefires.

The funds aim to help Gaza Palestinians “face the life challenges posed by the recent Israeli attacks, and to contribute to the reconstruction of service facilities in Gaza … in addition to the homes that were destroyed”, the official QNA news agency reported.

The worst exchange of fire in years between Israel and armed Palestinian groups in the enclave started on May 10 after Israeli forces cracked down on protesters in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, which is also revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.

In 11 days of fighting, Israeli air attacks and artillery fire on Gaza killed 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, and wounded more than 1,900 people, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

At least 12 people, including two children, were killed in Israel as a result of rocket and other fire from armed groups in Gaza, according to medics. Some 357 people in Israel were wounded in the attacks.

Diplomatic efforts are under way to solidify a fragile Egypt-brokered truce that halted the fighting, with plans to rebuild the Gaza Strip where Israeli air attacks caused widespread destruction, damaging infrastructure and levelling buildings.

Last week Cairo also pledged $500m towards reconstruction in the Palestinian enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade for more than 13 years.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies