$500m KSA aid to spur Gaza Strip’s rebuilding

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah.

Saudi Arabia has pledged $500 million to help rebuild Gaza, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah said on Thursday, with the full cost of post-war reconstruction expected to be around $4 billion over three years.

Saudi Arabia’s commitment comes ahead of a conference in Cairo on Oct. 12 when Palestinian leaders hope other donors, including Turkey, Qatar, the European Union and United States, will step forward with promises of support.

“Saudi Arabia has initiated donations by pledging $500 million,” Hamdallah told reporters in Gaza, speaking via video conference from the West Bank. He said he hoped further pledges would cover the full cost of reconstruction in time.

An estimated 18,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed during the seven-week aggression launched by Israeli occupation forces, while a further 40,000 were extensively damaged, Reuters reported.

Major infrastructure such as roads, bridges and water treatment plants were heavily damaged, while Gaza’s only power station will need almost entirely rebuilding. Dozens of factories on the outskirts of residential areas were extensively hit in Israeli bombardments.

The Zionist affront, which began on July 8, left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians. Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians were also killed.

Hamdallah’s estimate is the latest of several that have put the cost of rebuilding the blockaded territory, home to 1.8 million people, at between $3 billion and $7.8 billion.

With so many homes destroyed, including at least three 14-story tower blocks, economists in Gaza estimate that 10,000 tons of cement a day will be needed over the next six months. That compares with the just 30 tons a week entering the territory before the war.

“All donor countries have made a condition, they want to deal with the unity government,” said Hamdallah. “If the government is not enabled in the Gaza Strip, there will be problems over reconstruction,” he added.


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